The world’s largest luxury ship 'Blue Heaven' saves a wrecked ship out at sea. At the captain’s command, the ship is searched, and 2 male survivors are rescued. On the ship, there are signs of horrible bloodshed. One of the rescued men, of unknown nationality, loses himself among the ship’s passengers and starts randomly slaughtering the patrons and staff. What is his motive?! (From Hawks & Omanga)
Includes the one-shot Route 69:
Sheela and Sai have become fugitives and fled with a promise to seek freedom and happiness in a warm place. On their way they are welcomed by the family of a modest increasingly abandoned village, a historic theater owners are going to have to close for lack of attendance.
Blue Heaven (from now on, BH) is a psychological thriller from the same author of Skyhigh, Jiraishin and Sidooh: Takashi Tsutomu.
The story of this manga is about the Blue Heaven, the most luxurious and ginormous ship of all time, in one of its transatlantic voyages. While the passengers enjoy all the decadent pleasures of a floating Las Vegas, the captain and several officers find something unusual in their route: there's a ship adrift. After a brief discussion with the owner of the cruise (that wanted to ignore it and just keep going), they decided to stop and check if
there are survivors. What they found: the boat is wrecked, the walls are filled with blood, and where there should be a crew, there's only two people. One is unconscious, on the verge of death from dehydration, and the other is screaming in total shock. After being taken into the cruise, Seiryuu, the fainted man, recovers and escapes, at the same time his boat buddy explains that he's actually a vicious murderer, without any restrictions or moral sense. And so, the hunt begins: the ship's officers must search discreetly but effectively all over the place, while maintaining the peace aboard... and casualties to a minimum.
So, the main idea behind BH is quite simple: a loose murderer, with many potential victims at his disposal. The idea is a bit plane, but well executed, and the action flows almost without interruptions: no unnecessary scenes/panels, no overly long explanations, and there's only a few important characters. All this contributes to a dynamic and entertaining read. Some things are presented in a somewhat exaggerated way, especially in the final part of the manga, but nothing's too unrealistic: everything could actually happen in real life.
With the characters, as I said in the previous paragraph, there's only a few, but well established. In order to avoid spoilers, I'll just mention three:
Seiryuu is a Chinese murderer with a mysterious past. He has a great fascination with everything related with human society, and his great curiosity drives him to do anything on his mind. He does not feel any remorse for what he does, since he doesn't conceive his own acts as something evil.
Sano's a cruise agent, the principal in the search of Seiryuu. A veteran and skilled detective, he'll try his very best to avert the worse.
Last but not least important, is Yoshiko. She's an employee in the ship, and has the honor of being the last person on the cruise who saw Sairyuu. She's as involved as Sano is in the search, and like him, she'll try everything to avoid mass panic.
Of course, later there will be more characters to complicate things even more, but that would be delve too much in story. Also, there are several secondary characters that bring a few things, but nothing more.
Art is noteworthy, with a very marked and personal style. The character design is realistic, with small eyes and noses that, in fact, exist. All the characters are very different from each other (which is always appreciated), and the various ethnic groups are very distinct, something very important over the course of the plot. The backgrounds and sceneries are well done, but not as detailed as the characters.
Overall, BH is a short, interesting and fast paced manga, highly recommended for thriller fans. Its greatest virtue may be, at the same time, its biggest flaw: it's simple and very frontal. No big twist, nor backstory, and there's the feeling that some opportunities were missed. This is a shame... or not. That's on you. Blue Heaven is a good story with a clear development, adequate end and a very fitting art. Highly recommended, if you are looking for a well executed manga, yet not ambitious, and barely with any reread value.
So that's it. By the way, there are two one-shots included in this manga. Both are mediocre at best, and do not deserve further words.
Blue Heaven (Cielo Azul, para quien no domina el inglés) es un thriller psicológico de tres tomos de duración, creado por Tsutomu Takashi, autor de obras de renombre como Skyhigh, Jiraishin y Sidooh.
La historia de este manga nos muestra al Blue Heaven, el barco más lujoso de todos los tiempos, en uno de sus viajes trasatlánticos. Mientras los pasajeros disfrutan de todos los placeres decadentes de un Las Vegas flotante, el capitán y varios oficiales notan algo inusual en la ruta de viaje: hay un barco a la deriva. Después de una breve discusión con el dueño del crucero (que quería simplemente seguir de largo), se decide ir al rescate, para comprobar si hay sobrevivientes. Lo que encuentran: el barco está destrozado, las paredes manchadas de sangre, y donde debería haber una tripulación, solo hay dos personas: uno inconsciente, al borde de la muerte por deshidratación, y el otro, en estado de shock total. Seiryuu, el hombre inconsciente, se recupera y se da la fuga al tiempo que su compañero explica que ese hombre es un asesino monstruoso, sin ningún tipo de restricciones o sentido común. Así es como se da inicio a la cacería: los oficiales del barco deberán requisar todo el trasatlántico de forma discreta, pero efectiva, para mantener al mismo tiempo la calma y las bajas al mínimo.
Entonces, la idea principal detrás de BH es bastante sencilla: un asesino suelto, con muchas posibles víctimas a su disposición. La idea es simple, pero está bien ejecutada, y la acción fluye casi sin interrupciones: no hay escenas de más, no hay explicaciones excesivamente largas, y son pocos los personajes importantes. Todo esto contribuye a una lectura dinámica y entretenida. Algunas cosas se presentan de forma un tanto exagerada, especialmente en la recta final del manga, pero nada muy despegado de la realidad. Al menos, todo podría pasar en la vida real.
Con los personajes, como ya dije, hay pocos, pero están bien establecidos. Para no spoilear nada, solo voy a mencionar tres:
Seiryuu es un asesino chino de pasado misterios. Presenta una gran fascinación por todo lo relativo a la sociedad humana, y su gran curiosidad lo impulsa a avanzar, sin importar quien está en su camino. No siente ningún tipo de remordimiento por lo que hace, por el simple hecho de que no lo concibe como algo maligno.
Sano es el principal encargado de capturar a Seiryuu. Detective curtido y entrenado, va a hacer todo lo posible para que nadie resulte herido.
Por último, esta Yoshiko. Es una empleada en el barco, y tiene el honor de ser la última persona en el crucero que vio a Seiryuu. Esta tan metida en el tema como Sano, y al igual que él, va a intentar hacer todo lo posible para que no estalle el pánico.
Por supuesto, después van a intervenir más personajes para complicar todavía más las cosas, pero eso ya seria ahondar mucho en la historia. También hay varios personajes secundarios que aportan un par de cosas, pero nada más.
El arte es destacable, con un estilo muy marcado en el autor. El diseño de personajes es realista, con ojos pequeños y narices que, de hecho, existen. Todos los personajes son muy distintos unos de otros (algo que siempre se agradece, especialmente para los que somos medio distraídos), y las diferentes etnias están bien marcadas, algo que resulta ser muy importante con el correr de la trama. Los fondos y escenarios no están mal, aunque no están tan cuidados como los personajes. Como punto negativo, el autor a veces abusa del efecto de rayado, tanto en los personajes como en los fondos, lo que les resta un poco de detalle, aunque esto podría ser para darle una ambientación más oscura y siniestra.
Redondeando, BH es un manga corto, interesante, de lectura rápida, muy recomendable para los amantes del thriller. Su más grande virtud puede ser, al mismo tiempo, su defecto: es una obra muy sencilla y frontal. No hay grandes giros, no hay un gran trasfondo, incluso hasta queda la sensación de que algunas oportunidades se perdieron. Esto es una lástima… o no. Eso está en vos. Blue Heaven es una buena historia, con un desarrollo claro, un final adecuado y un arte acorde a lo que pasa. Muy recomendable, si se busca una historia no muy ambiciosa, pero si bien elaborada.
Por cierto, hay dos one-shots incluidos en este manga. Los dos son mediocres en el mejor de los casos, y no merecen mayor mención. Del autor, recomiendo Tenshi no Wakemae, otro one-shot, pero a diferencia de los presentes en Blue Heaven, este es cortito, interesante, y está lleno de personalidad.
'Blue Heaven' is a manga that aspires to be a lot, but doesn't quite reach its potential. While it has solid artwork and an engaging plot with well-rounded characters, it's clear that much more could have been done.
[Story - 7]
The premise itself (a killer is brought onto a cruise ship and is unleashed) is rather intriguing (especially for a manga this short), but it doesn't quite reach the heights of tension it could have. This is due to the plot suddenly changing into, for lack of less spoilery descriptions, Neo-Nazis Reveal Themselves And Take Over. I don't mind plot twists like this (especially ones where
such awful people get their comeuppance), but the original premise itself was enough to get my interest. I really don't see the point in such a change, and I found it rather lazy.
I can tell that the mangaka was going for themes such as 'are humans irredeemable?' and 'what will people do to each other when in a crisis?', but it doesn't feel like he achieved what he was going for. I don't quite know how to describe this, but it just felt like there was a lot more to be explored in this story, setting, and characterization than what was done.
The pacing was pretty good, though - thanks to the short chapter count, it made for a nice weekend read.
[Art - 8]
The art's really hit-or-miss in terms of aspects. Character design is distinctive but simple (such as different types of facial hair and hairstyles), while the backgrounds are either rather well-drawn or too minimalistic. The shading was REALLY good - perfect balance between moodiness and....the opposite of that.
[Character - 7]
The characters, like the story and themes, are intriguing enough but their full potential wasn't realized:
Ri Seiryuu is an interesting deuteragonist with a fitting, if edgy, backstory and a rather stoic characterization compared to everyone else; However, I felt that his 'arc' needed a more solid conclusion. I contribute this to the sudden plot twist, but it just felt really weird to have him still be in the story and it's clear that he doesn't match up well here when he was the initial antagonist.
Yoshiko is probably my personal favorite - she's really cute and provides some humour, but the way she was written as the mere 'observer' of the events on the ship was rather competent. The mangaka really captured the sense of desperation and despair someone like her would feel, and it was conveyed so believably.
Other characters, however, aren't so memorable or well fleshed out compared to those two. Security agent Sano is barely memorable due to his sudden removal and return (thanks again to the plot twist), Jyungo is a typical Nice Guy that Yoshiko likes, and.....I can't even remember the second half's antagonist besides him being a larger-than-life Genocide Lover who felt more like a parody than a believable antagonist.
[Enjoyment/Overall - 7]
This wasn't a terrible experience, and I did enjoy myself thanks to the tension and strong characterization of Seiryuu and Yoshiko. However, it's frustrating to see how much potential this manga had that wasn't appropiately realized. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a good thriller, but not if you want a thriller with lots of psychological/philosophical depth.
''Out in the world, if there is only one person here who wants to be violent, the solution is simple, we crush him''
Decided to write a small review on this wonderful short manga based on the low amount of readers and reviews, at first didn't know much about the story that was told in Blue Heaven but once i finished reading i didn't understand the low amount of readers and score...
First of all this is not a simpleton manga, but its not a genius manga either, what made me love the concept of it was its simplicity towards the message of it which
is ... you gotta read it to know...
The Main Character is a violent man that only lives out from violence, and we follow his journey upon getting saved by the staff of a voyage luxury ship that travels the world.
I went into Blue Heaven because it was recommended on a list of top horror mangas that lovers of the genre should read. Being a psychological thriller alongside drawn gore, I didn't expect too much from it but I really underestimated this. Although I wasn't in the mood to read psychological horror, the manga itself managed to put me in the mindset to fully enjoy it and that's somewhat rare for me - for a manga to take a toll and allow me to sit back and fully enjoy what it has in store.
The story in this is really enjoyable. It touches on dark tones
of terrorism and racism but in an almost humane way. Takahashi does it in such a way that creates a tone of understanding from the things we see in the news and around us that makes this seem extremely humanistic in the hateful way things occur and in the way it makes you feel based on your own morals. The racist tones are also interesting to see - some mangakas do avoid them but I think Takahashi used it really well.
The plotline is gripping and it twists very quickly and often takes you off guard when it does. It was intense at times; it made me swallow quite nervously more than a few times but, ultimately, I feel like it was rushed over the three volumes that there were. I think if Takahashi had added one or two more volumes than the story would have flowed just slightly better rather than feeling like he was running out of time to get it done and published, but that's my only qualm.
The art in this is really well drawn; the expressions of characters are spectacular and some of it downright makes your skin crawl. I found the character designs interesting, curious, and some of them sickening which I really enjoyed. Takahashi has some real skill with his art and it's definitely gotten me interested in reading more of his works.
The characters felt real. There was a lot of human reactions to many events in this. It's interesting to see how characters moral compasses seem to change and how things affect them. I really enjoyed seeing how they changed and adapted as things went
Blue Heaven is a manga I think you need to be in a certain mood to get full enjoyment out of it. I was definitely in that mood and Takahashi has created a world that kept me intrigued and turning the pages, devouring chapter after chapter. My only qualm with it is that it did feel a little rushed which seems to be a bit of a common qualm. I wish Takahashi had strung this out one more volume so that there could have been more in this but I also think that the slightly rushed format of three volumes worked well; one more volume in this might have ended up with a winding story trying to fill another 200 pages.
Route 69 - Oneshot
This one-shot was a little confusing in how things worked out and some of the characters choices, for me at least. The characters were intriguing and even though some of the choices were confusing, it was enjoyable. I'd quite like to see more from Route 69 as its own story but this little titbit into it was enjoyable but not as enjoyable as Blue Heaven.