Apocalypse gone wrong.
15 Volumes – On Going
In the near future, humanity is at its last breath. A horrible disease has leveled the majority of the human population, turning skin, bones, and organs into hardened crystal. There is no escape from the epidemic, and those resistant are left with the fate of the human race on their hands. Elijah Ballard, his father now an infamous and powerful drug lord, is on a quest to save what’s left of his family. In this barren and cruel world, his future seems bleak…
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this manga.
In fact, I’ve always had mixed feelings towards Hiroki Endo’s works in general. He is able to compound a lot of philosophy into each and every motion of his manga, though he often chooses to make stories completely devoid of anything of the sort. That, in a way, is the way Eden progresses. The first volume is astounding – full of philosophy and excessive character depth, which couldn’t interest me more. Content of this quality of course filled my head with dreams of how fantastic the other 14 volumes must be. Endo’s work, as always, touched on an innumerable number of concepts. Heaven and hell, God’s plan for humanity, and human nature name a few. The characters are well defined, with each having their own side in the constant philosophical discussions. The plot begins to allude to a backstory, and the current reality begins to materialize. The disease that sets the plot in motion comes into full focus, and as such, so comes the concept of the entire series. At this point, Eden seemed as a gem to me. It was everything I look for in Hiroki Endo’s work. And he does it so well…
Though everything seemed to change with the second volume. There was a certain style the manga began to take on… Right with the beginning, there was some philosophical commentary and character outlining, as they were bringing in Elijah, but then it began to die out. In comes a team of mercenaries [or whatever], and go figure, mass action ensues. The manga becomes some sort of international gang war, with our male lead in dead center. The disease becomes a sub-plot at this point – a concept with so much promise swept aside for mere violence. And then comes the sex. I don’t mind sexuality and nudity when used tastefully [take Ai-Ren for example], but that which was included in Eden was ridiculous. There was one chapter that even the scanlators chose to warn the readers about, as it was nothing but pointless sex. And I mean pointless. Random sexual content doesn’t carry any endearing qualities to this manga, and is one of the reasons I despise it so.
Eden turned out to be a massive disappointment to me. It chose excessive action, violence, and sexuality over any kind of thought provoking content, which puts in nowhere near my favorites. I stopped reading around volume 11, and I’m not looking back. No amount of plot recovery can undo what Endo did with this series. It would have been hard to take it in a more trivial direction, in my opinion. Eden started out perfectly, but is ongoing as what I would call a horrible series. It’s a plot based on action and sexuality, with rarely defined characters, and little depth to speak of. More powerful themes will always be present amongst the plot, but as long as Eden relies on conflict to keep moving, there isn’t much to be accomplished aside from a dragged out story.
[Reviewer: Simon A. Blake]