Blame! 1 – the debut of a modern manga master


Tsutomu Nihei is considered one of the masters of modern sci-fi manga with his series Biomega and Knights of Sidonia being considered among some of the best entries in the sci-fi horror and space opera genres respectively. His highly detailed and epic art is equally at home portraying dystopian futures and dramatic space battles. His work has been sought out by some of the biggest companies in the US, which has seen him work on high profile properties such as Wolverine for Marvel and Halo for Microsoft. And most recently, his hit series Knights of Sidonia was made into an anime series airing on Netflix. 2017 will mark the release of the film adaptation of his very first work Blame! which will also be premiering on Netflix. In preparation for this, Vertical will be printing the series in all-new oversized editions, which are more than worthy presentations of Nihei’s out of this world art.

In a future version of Earth, there is a city grown so chaotically massive that its inhabitants no longer recall what “land” is. Within this megastructure the silent, stoic Kyrii is on a mission to find the Net Terminal Gene – a genetic mutation that once allowed humans to access the cybernetic NetSphere. Armed with a powerful Graviton Beam Emitter, Kyrii fends off waves of attacks from fellow humans, cyborgs and silicon-based lifeforms. Along the way, he encounters a highly-skilled scientist whose body has deteriorated from a lengthy imprisonment who promises to help Kyrii find the Net Terminal Gene, once she settles a score for herself…

Being that this is Nihei’s first series, it is easy to see why he became such a huge star in the manga field. The bleak and vast blocks of machinery that make up the world of Blame give the series an eerie and claustrophobic feel from the art alone, and are enhanced further by the protagonist’s silent nature. Everything from Nihei’s usage of shadows and shading to the almost biological quality The City takes on with its complicated circulatory system and various cyborgs that act as the viruses and germs. The larger format of this master’s edition is a definite plus and is a great enhancement to Nihei’s already jaw-dropping pages. Then there’s the action. A lot of this volume is made up of Kyrii battling these various types of cyborgs and Nihei is very much in his element when it comes to these scenes. Whether it be the great pacing and layouts to the frenetic action that occupies the panels in these scenes, every one of them always packs a punch. These are all emphasised by some great designs across the board. A man of few words, Kyrii is deliberately understated in his all-black get up which not only suits his character – which only truly seems to emote when he’s in battle –  but is a great clash to the more terrifying cybernetic Silicon Creatures that he must battle. Whilst there are plenty of characters who make up for Kyrii’s lack of contribution in the dialogue department, his eventual companion Cibo who seeks to further her scientific knowledge makes a great counter to this mostly stoic action.

At this time, Tsutomu Nihei’s back catalogue is everywhere you look, and now his introductory work is once again available to all. Anyone who loved Knights of Sidonia or Biomega will of course love this and it is also a great opportunity to rediscover the debut of a modern manga master.

Blame! 1 is published 15 September by Vertical

9781942993773  p/b  £22.99

Post by Leo

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