Blame! vol. 9 (Tokyopop English edition) – Tsutomu Nihei

3 out of 5

Taken as a whole, it’s easier to see – or apply – the potential commentary of Tsutomu Nihei’s entire Blame! saga: the mix and match of organic and techno-organic cultures with mirous goals involving control and / or destruction, while mindless automatons continue to pulse the gigantic, pointless constructions of the world out further and further…  Killy seeks a communication solution to the squabbles, but his pursuit is aimless, encouraging him slowly upward and outward, but continually knocked down and pointed in slightly different directions…

…This is life, as refigured as a ‘cyber-punk maze.’  And when you’re down in that maze, reading the thing from volume to volume without a clear understanding of the structure or endgame, you experience life’s highs and lows, and Blame!’s massively momentum killing restarts.

Volume 8 restarted us once more, which a gigantic, apocalyptic explosion that leaves Killy as a skeleton in the molten remains.  …Fear not, though: this skeleton can regrow, and can even track down his Gravity gun from afar, and shoot off his own arm (and reattach it, of course) while calibrating it.  Nihei goes very silent for the first 2/3rds or so of volume 9, as Killy – and us – just sort of bumbles around, trying to understand where the story goes next.  We see slow changes to the environment, as the structures become more “human” like, until Killy emerges onto what might actually be the surface (or near the surface) of the Megastructure.  And once there, we can breathe a little bit: he spots a Silicon creature, does his usual Killy killing, and feels like he has a path – a distant tower – once more.  When Nihei gives us this direction, Blame! once again proves itself to be a notable work; slightly before this, Tsutomu also allows us to catch up with Cibo and Sanakan, which is another mini-cycle of falling down and getting up again, and also similarly feels wearing at first before shifting into another interesting and compelling addition to our story…

We’re approaching the end of the maze.