Monday, January 20, 2014

Graphic Novel Review: From the New World vol 1

Saki and her schoolmates enjoy what they consider normal lives in a peaceful provincial setting. Only their village cannot be of this era. Its customs differ from those of any known in modern day Japan. The landscape while familiar is also much more constrained than what modern day maps may exhibit.

So when 6 friends embark on a journey of mental and physical training, this fateful journey will lead them to a series of mind-shattering truths-for these characters and for us as readers.

Let's get one thing out of the way quickly--anyone coming from the anime to this will probably be shocked by how much more explicit the love scenes are between Maria and Saki. And possibly how disturbing the "morph rats" (or "monster rats" in the localized subbed anime) violence is.

Worth noting is also several differences--Reiko's practice sessions in the manga, the romantic moment between Shun and Saki during the camping trip, how they meet Squealer (Squera in the localized subbed anime). Also I found older Saki's narration to be more effective here as well as the disappearing kids angle.

Toru Oikawa's illustrations are wonderfully drawn, with an attention to detail that is surprising for a rookie (as the back cover claims). The level of female nudity is rather high all things considered however. The morph rats are downright disgusting looking.

Saki is a much more confident and outgoing girl here. Maria often leans on her when she is scared or upset. Shun is more outspoken and demonstrative of his feelings for Saki. Satoru seems more on the ball intelligence wise and less obnoxious towards Saki. Mamoru comes off as a stronger character, though still rather timid socially.  The GN takes the time to show as the group works together to find a solution to their friend's problem and what happens to her is less murky.  Its shown, quite clearly, what happened.

The scenes of intimacy between the characters--primarily Saki and Maria--occur seemingly for no reason at all.  If you've seen the anime you'll know why the kids seem to be so touchy-feely, but if you're reading this new to the series it can be a moment of 'wtf? SERIOUS THINGS'.  While the boys are off discussing what they need to do, the girls are off getting all lovey.  Its definitely a big mind-boggling.

I'll be continuing this series, mostly because I'm intrigued by the differences already apparent between the two mediums.  As a warning this isn't meant for anyone under 16.  Even putting aside the ahem relations, the outfits the characters wear are just this side of inappropriate (even for the males) and the deaths are very violent.