Blame! vol. 6 (TokyoPop edition) – Tsutomu Nihei

3 out of 5

Volume 6 of Blame! took me the longest to procure for a reasonable price (the entire series being out of print), and just to underline that such things aren’t a statement of quality, it’s probably my least favorite volume so far.  However, that it’s very possibly a course-corrective step – literally exploding a lot of the storylines that Nihei’s wandering narrative structure kept layering up and clumping together – is promising.

For as much big guns a’firing, big cityscapes a’crumblin’ that have been featured thus far, the ante is upped here: Volume 6 is almost all fights featuring those elements.  “Cool,” you might think, admiring Nihei’s large scale visuals, except Blame! era stuff is really sketchy, making details and action very hard to discern at times, and though he got better at layouts as things went along, whether irs just the printing or Tsutomo was trying something new here, volume 6’s artwork is sludgy as Hell.  Thankfully I get the cadence now, to understand when I’m looking at a character shot or establishing scenery, but so much of this is buried in explosions and rubble that there’s no grounding for the eye in some panels.

Anyhow.  Cibo and Sana-Kan fight; Killy and Maeve – in a frightening mutated form – fight; Seu and Ivy fight; Mensab tries to convince the central Toha AI to not been an idiot.  All of these things go boom, setting Killy and Cibo back on the hunt for net terminal genes.

As usual, Nihei’s imagination carries us theough, and despite my knocking the art, there is a rather thrilling sensation of climax held for the entire volume.  It’s a page turner despite itself.  And most excitingly, Nihei has (seemingly) shed some of the increasingly convoluted plot aspects, such as the generally unkillable (and thus cool looking but not exciting) Maeve and Ivy, and the whole Toha sidestep.  Looking forward to what seems like a fresh foot forward for volume 7.

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