Thursday, October 6, 2011

Manga Review: 7 Billion Needles (volumes 1-2)

This is a title I've wanted to read for a while and I was tempted to get it when I saw it in my school's bookstore but my school's bookstore doesn't take coupons and for me $11 is a months worth of laundry and a trip to the movies with my friends, you can see why I don't want to spend that on a book I'll read in 20 minutes and don't know if I'll even like it. So that's why I like libraries, it's like making everyone (including people who absolutely hate the idea) buy me books to read that everyone else gets to read as well. In case anyone is wondering why I'm only reviewing the first two volumes the local library only has the first two volumes here and I'm really hoping I can find the other two to read soon, if the library had had them I would've read them all.

7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano
Summary: Hikaru is a completely unsociable girl and prefers to go through life listening to the music from her headphones instead of the people around her. But after being accidentally killed by the alien being Maelstrom, and then resurrected by another being called Horizon, she is forced to try and reach out to people to stop Maelstrom's path of destruction.

The Good: The apathetic hero is a tired trope by now but Hikaru feels like a rounded character, she actually seems more shy than apathetic and opens up as the series goes on. The side characters also get some character development as well, especially Saya, and, since I'm a little less than impressed at the plot for this series so far, I'm really happy that the characters are interesting and likable, I would be pretty sad if any of them got killed off in the regular bloodbaths this series has.

The Bad: Even after reading two volumes, half of the series, I'm still not sure I want to commit to buying the whole thing. Volume one feels almost like a one shot and the second feels like the one shot was popular enough to become a full series and the manga-ka is trying to expand the plot-line while stalling for time to figure out what should happen next. In short, I thought the back-story about Horizon and Maelstrom was silly and this makes me worried that the manga-ka might not know how to write a more complex plot so I really want to check out the last couple of volumes instead of going ahead and buying them.

The Art: The cover artwork was changed for the US releases and, as cool as it looks (and I do prefer it) I wonder why Vertical went to the effort of changing it. Again, I looked up the original covers and I prefer these new ones, but I still wonder if this cover change really made that big an impact in their sales numbers. That aside, I also liked the art in the book itself, there's nothing really special about the art style but it's nicely detailed and the characters are easy enough to tell apart. 

So it's interesting yet I'm hesitant to say it's actually good, not a great sign when I'm already at the half way point of the story. Like I said earlier, I want to read the rest to see where it goes and if I like that then I'll get the series for myself someday, just hopefully at a lower MSRP than $11 a volume.  

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