Reviewed by: Joe
Released by: Denpa
Publishing Country: USA
Author: Masakazu Ishiguro
Page Count: 208
Within the safety of the walls, youths are raised in a nursery-style setting by robots. While life there may appear stale on the surface, the children are full of potential and curiosity. In many ways it is like a slice of heaven. The outside world is a hell-scape. It is almost entirely void of anything mechanical and is now inhabited by bizarre, yet powerful super-natural beings.
Maru, with the aid of Kiruko, is out there crisscrossing what was once Tokyo for heaven. But after searching for so long, maybe heaven is more of an untenable dream than a potential reality.
Heavenly Delusion is the latest manga offering from Masakazu Ishiguro who is best known for And Yet the Town Moves.
This sci-fi story is set sometime in the post apocalyptic future of Japan, when the event is still in recent memory. The story starts in an idealised world full of children in pristine uniforms who are taught by robots, with adults making only occasional appearances. They're walled off in some sort of compound from the outside world and don't really know what's out there.
In contrast the outside world is consists of run down derelict buildings and decaying infrastructure. Society has crumbled and only pockets of humanity remains. There are people scavenging for food and resources and the story hints at clusters of civilisation too.
The story switches between the idealised world of school children, and the outside one, which is told through the eyes of Maru and his bodyguard Kiruko. Outside human-killing, mutant animals roam around and not all humans are trustworthy or friendly. Danger is everywhere.
Maru and Kiruko make an interesting pair. Maru is searching for Heaven and trying to solve the mystery of another boy who has the same face as him. Kiruko has a mysterious past and we are not sure whether even Kiruko knows the details. At the same time they have slice of life moments too, enjoying the everyday things, in their post-apocalyptic home
The art is drawn with fine clean lines with plenty of detail. A lot of the backgrounds contain extra details to make the future setting feel realistic. Screen tone is used very subtly and so is hatching. The art helps make the story really grab you.
The story is well paced as we're introduced to this world. There are fun bits of action with build up and tension, you know the characters are in danger and feels like they might not get out alive!
There's a tiny bit of fan service, which while it doesn't add much, it does confirm something some readers may be wondering about. Perhaps if it doesn't keep happening every volume, then it might be actually in place.
In this volume there are a lot of intriguing foundations laid for the continuing story of this world. Who are the two people Kiruko is looking for? Where is Heaven? What purpose does it serve? What has happened to the world? Why do Maru and Tokio share the same face? How did Kiruko become the way they are?
Heavenly Delusion gets off to a good start. It is well drawn and well paced, with a great selection of interesting characters. I really can't wait for Denpa to release the next volume.