The year is AD 2048. Japan is connected to the Eurasian continent by a transcontinental railroad. The capital, Tokyo, has become a crucible of criminals and terrorists. And so, in the metropolitan darkness a mysterious presence attacks and slaughters people, unnoticed, night after night... Just what are these "things that are not human" living in hiding in the human world? And just who is this "Origin" person who faces them?
"The first thing I saw when I was born was the snow gently falling from the sky."
Origin is the latest completed work by author & artist Boichi, a man who's stock in the anime and manga community seems to be rising with his work done as artist on Dr. Stone, a popular manga in Shonen Jump that with an upcoming anime adaptation, will only get more popular as time goes on. But that's not what I'm here to write about, no today I want to talk about the story of one robot's arduous and philosophical path towards self-realization, that's right this is my review for
Today marks the last time a translated chapter for Origin will release and with it, the end of a story that looking back on, seemed to capture the essence of something truly special, only to reach the finish looking lost. That's not to say the whole story was poor, as noted the beginning, middle, and some parts of what turned out to be the finale, were great, and it something that you would be hard pressed not to recommend to others with how well crafted the whole product was looking to be.
First things first, this should come as no surprise to anyone who's read any of Boichi's work before, but his art in this magnificent. It has a polished edge to it that his previous works were lacking and what his other manga that he's working on, Dr. Stone, can't feasibly be expected to have with it's weekly format. Due to this, almost every close-up shot in this manga is presented with insane attention to detail, the tiny hairs on a characters hand, the exact makeup of an iris, the smoke that lingers on the barrel of a just shot gun, if you've never seen a Boichi work before, you're in for a treat, and if you have you still can't help but be in awe of some of the things he decides to pull out. There are some moments where this quality is lost however these are most certainly done to highlight a comedic moment and nothing more, thus there is an almost continuous high degree of artwork throughout this manga's run. In addition to this general high-quality this manga also has some insanely well-drawn fights to it. They are easy to follow and see what's going on, the art work itself never losses its polish during them, and big emphasized moments are drawn in a way for the reader to truly get the feeling that they just felt that hit or shot.
The only negative, and this is purely based on a person's own attention to detail, is how the females are drawn, they are all drawn in a way to best show off their assets, whether it be in the legs, lips, or chest, these are all highlighted on throughout not just this work but across all of Boichi's works, couple this with the general feel that they all share similar body types and you can see where the issue may crop up. This has been an issue that has lingered for Boichi and if it doesn't annoy you that's good, but if it did before, well that hasn't been resolved here. Generally speaking I didn't mind this, there was the appearance of a few characters who resembled characters in his other works but there was also a nice general variance in the structure of their faces which made me not really mind it. Overall the art is stellar with just one or two minor gripes.
Next I'd like to address the characters, in Origin there is only one main character to speak of, and this is the same with the side characters as well. There are a number of characters we are introduced to during Origin's journey but only one is really worth commenting on here. First is Origin, the main character of our story and as is revealed almost immediately, an android, or robot. When we meet "him" (I'll be referring to him as such due to the form he chooses to take and maintain throughout the entire series) we are introduced to a cold, calculating machine that is on the search for something. What that is would be going deep into spoiler territory but what I can say is that on Origin's journey he is introduced to, and runs into many other androids just like himself and while some are content to merge into society like him, others have their own plans they wish to act on, and as the story goes on we see how each of these character's interact with one another, as well as with the world around them.
The second character I'd like to speak about is Hirose Mai, a coworker of Origin's that we are introduced to soon into the story. She is an innocent, robot-loving girl who unfortunately, or rather fortunately, falls for our main character the moment she meets him and what this spark does is introduce to Origin, something he never expected to reach. She is the perfect compliment to Origin's character and she is easily my favorite character in the story. But besides there are various other people who play a role in this story, and this is where another negative comes in, while there are a good amount of characters who are introduced in the beginning of the story that are well-used and act convincingly, as the story gets closer to it's conclusion we are presented with some that are not so well used due to cramming them in before the story ends.
It's not so obvious why Origin ended the way it did as up to a certain point the plot was moving at it's regular pace however there's a very visible moment in the story where you can kinda tell that the story is going to end. See throughout the story the arc's are spaced out fairly well, with about fifteen to twenty chapter allotted to each major arc and with this, a well amount of time being given that helps flesh out the characters who play a role in these arcs, the writing is at its peak here and this is what I was referencing to earlier when I mentioned something felt truly special about this manga. When everything is hitting the right beats at the same time you as the reader feel like this manga is amazing, and it's almost jarring how quickly that feeling is lost when the final arc starts. See the manga has eighty-seven chapters and with the notion that each major arc is anywhere from fifteen to twenty chapters, with their being really three major arcs, not including the first arc, you can sorta see where this ending might not be so good. The worst part about this is the characters and stories that are rushed through in this final arc, as they come and go you see how they could have been used and expanded upon and so it feels sad to recognize that what we got is all that will be of them. The one upside to this is that at least they were used, the story didn't just ignore or skip over them in a complete rush to the end, but the sour taste of what is, and what could have been still lingers long beyond the last page's of this story.
Overall Origin is a manga still worth reading, the ending isn't as terrible as you may think, it still ends relatively well and everything leading up to the ending is worth reading for, it all really depends on what you value more, the wonderful journey our characters went on along the way, or the weak destination they reached at the end of it all.
If you've read any of Boichi's other Manga such as Sun Ken Rock or Dr. Stone then you already know to expect some top tier art and action scenes. Origin tells the Tale of an Artificially Intelligent Robot who is on a journey of self discovery to essentially "become more human" by acquiring different emotions throughout his journey. In order to live a full-filling life as his creator/father said it is necessary for him to take down the other AI robots his father created which seek to do harm to humans and their society. Boichi does a great job with creating uniquely distinct and likable
characters throughout all of his manga and Origin has followed suit.
Every character has distinct personality traits and their own motives throughout the manga which to me makes this journey much more enjoyable as its easy to find a character that you may relate too on a personal level. Overall my enjoyment of this Manga is about 9/10 purely off the art and action scenes although i'd give the overall plot and storyline about a 7.
The reason for this is that while it does give some backstory on the motives of the MC etc.. it still isn't enough at its current point in this manga's production. Perhaps the storyline will get a bit more complex and reveal more in the future but as of right now its "just okay"(dont expect anything sort of existential thought provoking content). Ultimately this manga boils down to 1 word "COOL" and thats okay :P
Origin is not a very good manga. The characters are not very well developed (or maybe that's due to there only being 38 chapters) except for maybe Origin. The story itself isn't amazing either, often only reaching mediocre, and is mostly cheese. The art is good, but nothing exceptional. So why do I rate this series a 7?
Because I found it to be an extremely fun read
While Origin lacks in story and characters, it makes up somewhat with the action. The action is on a level I haven't experienced much in the world of manga. "Turning pages" ruins the flow for me, but not
for Origin. Origin has induced in me a state of childish glee. The action and story, while cheesy, are extremely enjoyable for me.
Origin is not a particularly good manga, however, the protagonist is a ROBOT NINJA. How could you not try it out?
As the illustrator for one of my favourite ongoing mangas right now: Dr. Stone, I thought I would check out his own ongoing series - Origin.
I must say, like the art in Dr. Stone, Boichi has also managed to maintain high quality art in Origin, even more detailed in fact. (Although that is to be expected for a bimonthly? manga.) I’ve read the first few chapters of Sun Ken Rock and was really not into it though.
The premise is quite simple, and not very original though. It it set in the year 2048 around a humanoid robot - Origin, who aims to blend into a
society of humans, with the risk of being found out everyday as well as tasked to eliminate other badly behaving humanoid robots, as his “father” wishes.
I find that the slight comedic elements fit in quite well. It isn’t forced and comes in the form of many slice-of-life elements that the inhuman protaganist faces that he doesn’t understand. I feel as the comedy in this series is better than in Sun Ken Rock (where I find the comedy to be forced, and poorly timed).
You also get to see how Origin, improve himself by modifying himself after every battle and learn from his past experiences, much like how a normal protagonist would improve after every battle. One thing I will critique is that he seems like an “overpowered” individual, even though he isn’t and actually risks being caught every time. This is due to the way Origin narrates every move he makes. I feel that the only way this has worked in the manga is because he is not a human.
One major negative for me is the main female character/love-interested. I do not like her design and she annoys me. Despite being an “intellectual” character, she has done nothing helpful as of yet and is one of those naive, clumsy, nice-girls, I’m hoping that she will not be the actual main love-interest but from chapter 35-ish, that does seem to be the case. I really don’t like her and seriously hope there will be another, much better female later on.
Overall the plot isn’t particularly amazing, and quite predictable. However I did have a great time reading the action scenes and the artwork is top class. I recommend it if your bored and you want to see cool pictures without having to think too deeply into the story.
Oh yeah, this manga has is a seinen and has (female) nipples so if you don’t like that stuff then don’t read!