12-23-09, 8:19 PM
Oh Endo, how I hate you now... (Eden: Endless World Rant)
...WHY DID HE DO IT!? I WANT MORE PENIS BLOWING. YOU BASTARD GUY, ENDO!!!!
Spoilers ahoy. Only read if you're up to chapter 64 of Eden, or don't give a toss... or have an awful memory.
Have you ever read eight volumes of a manga before, fell in love with the mangaka's work; feeling certain you'd found a new favourite manga... only for there to be a sucker punch waiting to be unleashed right around the corner? I have.
Eden, right from the start, has jumped around like a rabbit on crack. One minute it was a post apocalyptic drama, with bible references. Next it was an action thriller, involving a thrilling last stand and zombie soldiers. Next it was a gangster drama, involving prostitution, drugs and assassinations. Next it was an erotic comedy, involving a 15-year-old falling in love with an experienced 'lady' and getting called 'nine-second boy' by the other women around him (at a whorehouse); treated like a kid by all, despite being the son of a drug lord and being a killer himself.
Eden doesn't have a main story beyond its premise for the first eight volumes. Really, ignoring the set-up prologue, which explained what happened to the world, all that you'd NEED to take from the other volumes is character development and the links between each of the characters. It's almost as if the first half (at least!) of the manga is all set-up for a big finish; a set-up where the scope remains narrow.
Despite all of this, I became obsessed with Eden. Despite all of the different genres and story arcs, and the lack of flow, the content was at such a high level throughout that I couldn't help but tip my hat to Endo. And, in between all of the story occurrences, there were character development flashbacks thrown in, which made me care about the characters I was following whilst not seeing a main story thread.
...So, what went wrong? Endo did. He pushed his luck too far. Although it bothered me at the start when he jumped 20 years into the future, after only just having established interesting characters, I understood why he did it: he wanted to keep readers hooked from the start; giving them some mystery to add to the flavour. Or, at least that's what I thought was the case until it became apparent Endo never planned on explaining just how Enoah managed to become the biggest drug lord in South America (I was told, even at chapter 117, there's been no flashback arc). It's lazy at best and incompetent at worst to not at least try to cover the events that occurred during a 20 year time gap. Imagine if you'd read Berserk without the whole 'Band of the Hawk' saga getting time - it isn't that big of a difference.
But it wasn't THAT time-skip that got me. I'd accepted it, becoming too involved with the main characters in the present of the story to cry over the prologue characters not getting developed. No, what really, really, REALLY got under my skin was another time-skip; one that occurred at complete random at chapter 64. I know - Endo is a random guy who sees no problem with jumping around without spelling out the location or date - but just jumping ahead all of a sudden, skipping four years of development in the process, isn't good story-telling. Endo's solution to problems seems to be, if it's too much hassle to explain it, use a time-skip to avoid doing so.
Sadly, worse was yet to come when the details of this new, four years into the future setting became clear. The last time Helena was shown (volume eight) she'd taken Elijah's virginity and the two had fallen in love; her healing Elijah's wounds and his innocence giving her something her profession had taken away from her. They were shown to be happy. But, after the time-skip, she'd left Elijah for reasons unknown, run off with some random, never before seen (no joke) cop, and was killed off in a few panels.
WHO THE FUCK, IN THEIR RIGHT FUCKING MIND, WOULD KILL OFF THE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT/ROMANTIC INTEREST OF A LEAD RIGHT AFTER SPENDING TIME GETTING THEM TOGETHER? HELL, WHO THE FUCK WOULD TURN A LIKABLE CHARACTER INTO A CHEAT!?
Helena had became my favourite character because of her bravery, intelligence and sexiness, and she'd also became an important character... yet Endo just went, "Hey, let's throw in a time-skip needlessly, adding new characters, and remove the best character in horrible fashion! That'll please people after I just spent a fair few volumes making her - a character from near the start - into a somebody!!!"
I swear to God, I want to punch him. I really do. Never before has a fucking comic book made me angry. I rarely get any emotion about anything. But Endo has managed to fuck-up in such spectacular fashion that I can't help but visualize my fist connecting with the drawing of a face I was ready to worship some seven hours earlier.
Honestly, I don't think Endo knows how to execute a lengthy series. He can handle short stories superbly, and he can handle a series of short stories with some connections, but he fails when he tries to go beyond that. Even before volume ten - in volume nine - there were signs of Eden slipping when, as randomly as ever, Endo decided to chuck in a seemingly rather pointless China/Muslim terrorist arc - one which focused almost entirely on disposable characters. With the amount of variation in Eden, it should be titled 'Endo's Tanpenshu 2', if anything.
...*sigh* As you can probably tell, I'm feeling ever so slightly pissed off at the direction Eden has gone in. I still want to like it and, though it's tempting, I'm not going to low score it right now. But I can't keep reading it. Instead, I'm going to give myself a 'calming down period' and, sometime next year, buy books 7-12 before continuing. If I keep reading it at the minute, I'm just going to hate it more and more, I feel, and I don't want that. I'd need a dartboard with Endo's face on it first.
Posted by AironicallyHuman | 12-23-09, 8:19 PM | 3 comments
Sohei | 12-25-09, 5:24 PMAdmittingly it is quite the trainwreck, but I seem to have an eye for those (another favorite of mine, berserk, will probably finish sometime around my 500th birthday with a cast as moe as the setting was originally GAR, but I won't go into any further details there considering you're on chapter 14). However, I simply cannot stop liking it, even considering that. A manga with the same themes such as Eden is hard to come by, so in a sense perhaps my score reflects more the uniqueness of the series instead of the quality..
At chapter 64 you've only gotten halfway in terms of convoluted plotlines which have nothing to do with the original theme. There are however still 10 chapters untranslated, so perhaps Endo will magically conclude and bring together all plotlines? But that is probably wishful thinking..
A warning though; don't get attached to any cutesy characters which you might encounter, as you might have realized, Endo has this thing with blowing up/shooting nice girls which would have been nice support to our favorite teenage gangster. I doubt Elijah would have a happy ending, perhaps if Endo felt in a good mood he might leave him somewhat (physically/mentally) intact?
Anyway, we can continue this discussion in the profile comment box things, if you so wish. There's still a lot to be said on Endo's flaws/genius.
AironicallyHuman | 12-25-09, 4:51 PMAh, another Endo fan! (well, in my case, maybe ex-fan should apply?)
I fell in love with Endo's gloomy and realistic art the moment I started reading Tanpenshu, and my forum avatar was the image that caught my eyes the most when I read it.
It gets even worse than the wonderful 64th chapter? Oh joy... I can't wait to type up part 2 of this blog sometime next year!
Based on volumes 1-8, I can fully understand why someone would 10/10 and favourite it. The whole reason I felt so angry when I ranted was down to understanding all too well. But I'm not the kind of person who can reward terrible writing with top marks, no matter how awesome the rest of the content may or may not be. I'm far too critical to do that... which kind of saddens me because something like Eden would make my manga five look a whole lot better!
Eden is half masterpiece, half trainwreck - that's how I feel at this stage. It's brilliant but it also has more serious flaws than the vast majority of manga out there. Endo did his best to create the most flawed yet stunning manga known to mankind, clearly.
From the spoilers I've read, it doesn't sound like Elijah's going to have a 'happy ever after' resolution to his story. Really, considering that the message seems to be that, no matter what, humans will endlessly fuck everything up in a world where such a thing as paradise doesn't exist, it wouldn't exactly fit. If Endo's treatment of Helena is anything to go by, all the remaining female characters will be raped and murdered, and the Earth will be frozen over. He's a cheerful guy, Endo.
Sohei | 12-24-09, 7:19 PMI came across your profile (and therefore blog) because of your forum avatar, for obvious reasons ; )
Let me tell you something.
It will get worse, much worse (in terms of random storylines popping in and out, no pun intended).
However, i still gave it a perfect score in the end. Why? Because there is nothing as entertaining, as interesting and as mindboggling (be that the certain "awesome" moments or another beloved character getting her brains/ligaments/mind shot/blown off/ripped apart) as Eden: it's an Endless World.
Perhaps that is why it is called "Endless World"? I don't know; but what does come up in me is that, even though there are many plotholes and random change of pace/storyline, Eden is simply a masterpiece, albeit a convoluted one.
-And yes, perhaps calling it Tanpenshu 2 would have been better; Eden is only different from that in the fact that there are a few recurring characters; as there are still 10 chapters left though, i'm not even sure if our "hero" or anyone else will survive..