Set in the future, the plot follows Zouichi Kanoe and his AI companion Fuyu Kanoe, whose luminous form is integrated into the system of his motorcycle. They are agents sent by Toha Heavy Industries to retrieve humans with the ability to resist and transmute the N5S infection, which is spreading across the world, turning humans into "Drones"; disfigured, zombie-like beings.
Biomega is the second prequel to BLAME! and is the story of how the world in BLAME! became shrouded by the Megastructure.
Biomega was originally serialized in Weekly Young Magazine from June 14 to September 6, 2004 (2004 #29~#41) but went on hiatus thereafter. Serialization resumed 2 years later in Ultra Jump on May 18, 2006 (2006-06).
The series was published in English by VIZ Media under the VIZ Signature imprint from February 2, 2010 to May 17, 2011 and in Italian by Panini Comics under the Planet Manga imprint from December 6, 2007 to September 13, 2009, which was re-released in a 2-in-1 omnibus edition from April 30, 2014 to July 26, 2014.
Typical Nihei: gorgeous if extremely repetitive black-and-white art (in contrast, the few color illustrations come off as childishly garish and ugly) typically showing explosions and combat (rarely varied or exhibiting any imagination - if I had a nickel for every time Zouichi busts into a room and instantaneously shoots everyone in the head, I could probably afford to buy the entire printed manga), Nihei's obsessions like improbably powerful guns, borrowing of fantasy tropes that are wildly inappropriate (eg swordsmen and duels), a story that verges on gibberish (can anyone explain how the bear's wish could possibly lead to transforming the Earth into a megastructure?).
to see why _Biomega_ exists when _Blame!_ does almost everything it does. Literally: the zombies are effectively the same, the biotech/body-horror pushes all the same buttons like the skull-mask-faces, the art is the same, most characters could be swapped with their counterparts with no loss, the fetishization of young women and the protagonist's inexplicable attachment to them is present in full force, some elements like "Toha Heavy Industries" are identical, and in particular, the protagonist and setting and AI companion are so exactly identical that all the way up to the ending I assumed the big twist was going to be that _Biomega_ is actually the prequel for _Blame!_ explaining where Killey and The City come from (there are some differences like the gun's phlebotinum being 'brainwaves' rather than 'gravitational beams' but nothing that a good writer couldn't retcon or handwave away).
To some extent, _Blame!_ is better: at least, the conception of The City megastructure is, like Niven's Ring, a resonant idea, and the greater obscurity of _Blame!_'s story means you can at least fool yourself that it is deeper than it looks. But on the other hand, this leavens the ridiculous bodycount and numbness that a reading of _Blame!_ produces and - _Biomega_ has a bear.
It's strange for me to read 18+ rated Manga since I am 14 but I did love the thought of the story so I brought the first the 2 volumes.
The art may seem as though it is weak and dark, but the widescreen shots of the surrounding landscapes are excellent I think they give the series a light feel, when looking at the landscapes I feel an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia which makes me love the series more.
Unfortunatly I found the characters inhuman and wooden, I could not see emotion (even though the main character isn't human) but still a little emotion can go
along way to make the story more alive. The only character that has real emotion is the grizzly bear which adds some light humour to the series.
Overall I enjoyed this series, the story is enganging and also with little words and more visual storytelling it ticks most of my boxes. I would recommend it to those who love gore because it is in abundance through the whole series, and with needed humour too it is a must read before you die.
Biomega is depressing and distressing. The most part of characters are without exspression and few talk. The edifices is very elaborated and dominate the landscape. In this view human aberration fight for change the world.
I love the style of the author Tsutomu Nihei. The design of Biomega is detailed, with gigantic structure that dominate the protagonist Zoichi Kanoe(but is same to Killy!). Is a artificial human, and search Ion Green a immortal human, for prevent the diffusion of the virus N5S as transform the human in zombi(call Drone in the manga).
Together with Knights of Sydonia this is the better manga of Tsutomu Nihei.
In a somewhat ambitious fashion, Biomega is an epic sci-fi horror (to use Viz's own words) that spans centuries - and lightyears - in a tight six-volume offering. The premise concerns itself with a virus that has resulted in a sparsely populated dehumanised future version of Earth, making the manga initially appear to be a violent zombie tale set in an authoritarian society. A glimmer of hope is presented in the form of a young girl who is resistant to the strain, and the conflict formed when she is kidnapped by a governing faction whose intentions are clearly malicious.
Where the manga proceeds from this point
is down a byzantine labyrinth of ever-expanding plot that seeks to further heighten the sense of lavish self-fulfillment found within the intentions of the immortal matriarch, Niarudi. The first three volumes involve many personal battles, and alliances, and the pacing feels planned yet fluid. The atmosphere is then stripped back and reinvented in the final three volumes in a rushed and unrealised conclusive arc that suggests a concept too large for the lack of material present.
There is plenty to admire here, and upon multiple readings the story becomes more and more simplistic in its application of basic story elements. Biomega is the first manga I have read that truly combines artistic style with plot to create a more immersive cerebral story experience. To separate 'story' and 'art' into two different categories is to deny what makes this a worthwhile read.
However, this does at times make Biomega feel like a story developed from conceptual art. Where the style blueprint came first, and the plot was stencilled out and placed on top in a thin merging layer. At times, I was hoping the story to slow down, to plateau as a foundation and then be developed upon. However, this simply did not happen - the story elements continued to be compounded on top of one another and, while emphasising the urgency and burden of the main conflict upon the protagonists, really reduced the story as simply fun and amateurish when my first impressions were hoping for a final review of intelligent and brutally thought-provoking. The latter, however, it is not.
Viz Media's Signature publication brought the art to life in a larger format paperback where even the sharp inky smell heightened the slick yet stoic atmosphere. Online scans seemed to include unfinished art lacking the same final attention to detail Nihei has given the licensed release.
Biomega is dripping with style, mixing aesthetic cyberpunk elements with futuristic horror monstrosities from page-to-page. Anatomy and biology is taken to terrifying and detailed places to depict the lifeless yet instinctual reality of what the N5S virus has unleashed onto the world. Spreads are beautifully macabre, and most scenes are sumptuous eye candy for sci-fi horror fans.
Likewise with the story, the last three volumes experience a slight variation in art as the setting changes drastically. At times this is felt in less satisfying scenes where Nihei's imagination is both running wild yet held back, resulting in loss of detail and a more confused world concept. However, for some, these three volumes could present a more pleasing aesthetic to the original creations.
Nihei's pen style is scratchy and detailed, composition is effortless and overall the art is perfectly suited in grim black and white.
Exposition and action takes precedent over character development within the manga, and style seems to have been prioritised over genuine personality in the creation of the characters themselves.
The main protagonists include a practically mute immortal girl, an overpowered synthetic human, and a human bear. Zoichi Kanoe and the AI embedded into his bike, Fuyu Kanoe, are easy to connect with but we have no real reason to ever see their plight through to the end, if we even see the story as belonging to them at all. Many side style quests are interwoven into one overall aim to destroy the main antagonist. However, reader favouritism within the character ranks is more likely to be directly correlated to levels of baddassery over complexities of their natures. Practically all dialogue is exposition and backstory is delivered in bare drips and drabs.
So, what the heck. Shallow or not, let's just talk about how badass everyone is. The synthetic human/homonculus characters are few and far between and feared by all those with the propensity towards the destruction of humanity. If existed within our current time, the international threat of individual countries would be measured by how many synthetic humans they owned - forget about the budget size of nuclear programs. Zoichi, Nishu, and other synthetic types in the story are titans against everything that stands in their way thanks to sheer strength, resources, and infallible precision. Oh, and one really awesome weaponised bike.
On top of these badassery levels you have the immortal and increasingly omnipotent Niarudi, the ruthless and sadistically cool Higuide, and a motherfucking bear with a motherfucking hook hand.
For those that routinely consume sci-fi and horror, Biomega may be lacking for its shallow characters and oversaturated plot. But it makes up for these flaws in an arrogant form of style which would not work in any other genre or medium. While my final opinion may have differed from what I had hoped to come from the premise, I do not actually possess any disappointment toward Biomega. I am not angered by its downfalls and failure to fulfill potential because only upon finishing it did I realise the only potential Biomega truly presented was that of a mindless unrelenting mixture of sci-fi, horror, and action. It delivers this exact goal, nothing more and nothing less. For that, I can only seek to recommend to others.