Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: Titan Publishing
Publishing Country: UK
Author: Hiroki Endo
Age Rating: Mature
Page Count: 216
The world as we know it has ended. A disease that literally petrifies it’s victims has spread across the globe. Taking advantage of the situation the Propater forces seek to control the world. Struggling to survive in this chaos is Elijah, his only friend a strange combat robot.
A large chunk of this first volume follows survivors Enoah and Hannah two teenagers who have miraculously survived and are watched over by the mysterious Layne. This start is almost dreamlike as Enoah and Hannah debate philosophy and religion, with a maturity far beyond their years acting as a mouthpiece for the author to discuss to ethical dilemmas they face. This then morphs into a flashback as their carer Layne remembers the events that led up to their current situation, revealing much more about the world that the story is set in.
The second half of the volume follows a boy named Elijah, who is surviving with only a strange combat android for company. Unlike Enoah and Hannah who lived isolated on an island, Elijah is surviving in the ruins of a city. Much like the initial chapters the mood is sombre but relaxed until Elijah encounters other people, which cranks up the tension.
The plot of Eden is distinctly adult and extremely harsh as it explores the worst side of humanity, both in the events leading up to the collapse of the world and after. Layne muses on the mistreatment he suffered due to his homosexuality, and seems in every aspect a strong career for Enoah and Hannah until his part in the world's downfall is revealed. Several of the characters also barter away their humanity by transferring into cybernetic bodies so that they can escape the disease.
The artwork is extremely detailed and gritty, strongly conveying the desolate tone of the story. Tones are used moderately throughout, conveying light and texture in conjunction with the strong pen work. The character designs are again in a moderately realistic style, though in a few places characters look a little similar.
Eden is a richly detailed and extremely philosophical work, portraying humanity in a deeply decayed state. It's a genre that's been well explored before not only in graphic novel form, but in every other media. Eden in particular evokes western science fiction just as much as other manga.
It’s major problem is that characters either seem to be totally innocent or utterly corrupt individuals with very little in between, events seem to continuously get worse for the protagonist. These kind of stories work best with a redemptive element, such as David Brin’s The Postman which followed the attempts a character who at least tries to create the illusion of hope. Eden is well written and illustrated but it will take further volumes to see if the characters develop and expand beyond their role as a mouthpiece for the author.