For as long as he can remember, 14-year-old Chuuta Kokonose has been pestered by a mysterious voice in his head. Due to this, his unknowing classmates tease him for having an odd habit of talking to himself. One day, Chuuta is followed home by a three-eyed, jellyfish-like creature who abruptly shoots him with a beam of light. He suddenly finds himself in a room filled with even more strange-looking creatures—in a place he soon discovers to be a space police station. There, he is told by Laine Brick, the chief of the solar system bureau, that he has been selected as a suitable candidate to join their agency ēlDLIVE.
But Misuzu Sonokata—Chuuta's classmate and crush who turns out to be an ēlDLIVE member—is opposed to him joining, arguing that he does not have the qualities of an officer. Provoked by Misuzu's remarks and at the insistence of the voice in his head, Chuuta decides to take the qualifying exam to join the agency. However, the exam leads to him discovering that the identity of the strange voice in his head was an alien living in his body all along.
ēlDLIVE follows Chuuta, Misuzu, and the rest of the solar system bureau as they endeavor to protect the citizens and the public order of the universe.
As part of the JUMP START initiative, the first three chapters of ēlDLIVE were published in English in VIZ Media's digital Weekly Shonen Jump from September 29 to October 20, 2014. The series has been digitally published by volume since April 25, 2017.
I'll try to keep this short for those who are new to amano's works:
If you don't fall in love with any of the characters, ships characters together or really like the art, don't read it.
Because her work rarely have much more than that. Will elDLIVE be a rare case though? We'll see.
It's not that the story/plot is bad. It wasn't, really. They were quite creative and it has some interesting twists too, the problem is that it was very cringey, like, majorly cringey. I'm talking about Inazuma Eleven's "we must save soccer because it is love and it is life" level of cringe. Maybe not
as bad (like 4 or 5 times less) but you get what I mean. There are thousands of shonen manga with this level of cringe, so if you read a lot of them, you'll probably have no problem. Heck, you'll probably think I'm overreacting.
The story feels really childish at times, and the solution to some of their conflict just appear instantly and conveniently (an example is when Dolugh feels very sick after an update to the point of calling the update a failure, he was revived in an instant by Chips' healing ability). The power of friendship is there too, OBVIOUSLY. What shonen manga will be complete without it?
But you know what the confusing thing is? elDLIVE has so much more than that. It dwells on the concept of trauma, which is a pretty deep theme if you ask me, and it doesn't feel forced. This is the manga that made healing looks forced, this is the manga that has a kuudere as the heroine, this is the manga that has 2 F*CKING MASCOTS. And this manga dwell on the concept perfectly. The MC's character development is amazing. If you've read KHR and is deeply disappointed with tsuna's (lack of) character development, then read this. the MC, Kokonose Chuuta, has a great character, and his development is subtle but clear.
So more about the characters, since it seems to be Amano's specialty.
1st of all, the heroine, Sonokata Misuzu.
Typical kuudere, has some tsun-tsun moments, tbh I feel so done with her because it feels like she's gonna exist just for the fanservice until Amano throws in her past. Or, more specifically, her lack of past. The secret centering around her has yet to be revealed, and it's getting on my nerves (in a good way) since Amano seems to hint (very subtly, mind you) that almost everyone in the series has something to do with it. Except her. It's very interesting, to say the least. Also, together with the main character, they complete the trope "Blue Girl and Pink Boy". look it up.
next one, the "hot as fuck dude every shonen manga seems to have just in case girls are reading" guy, Laine Brick
He's hot, we got that part down. and he wears an eyepatch, which is the very basic code in anime or manga and it translates to "hey something is up with me and if I took it off shit happens". and he's white haired too, and we all know the ancient japanese proverb:
"if his hair is white or gray
bet your ass he’s hella gay"
I bet my ass he is. for the main character or the blue haired guy probably. Dammit Amano. You and subtexts
Jokes aside, he's a character who is somehow the opposite of Misuzu. Casual, crazy and cute on the outside, full of responsibility and all business on the inside. I hope the manga focuses more on him, as he is a well-rounded character that I'd like to see more of. Also, he has something to do with Misuzu's secret, just like every other character in the series.
and after that comes Dr. Love, the blue haired guy I was talking about. And yes, that is his name.
Love is a badass character. A badass and hot character. A badass, hot AND full of shit character. By shit I mean secrets, and I think his entire body might just be made of it. Goddamit Love. Again, a character related to Misuzu;s secret.
Next! The fanservice duo, Veronica and Ninotchka.
Nice name and designs, that I have to admit. But Amano's fanservice-ing skills put these girl's designs to waste. No one can get turned on by a fanservice panel so small you have to squint to see that their undies are white, or an armour that acts like fucking censors. Why do you need an armour if it only protects part of your boobs and your pussy? Even Kill la Kill would be embarrassed.
I don't hate fanservice, I sometimes enjoy it actually, but the ones in elDLIVE are terrible.
They have some development in the recent chapters so Veronica and Nino is not all that bad. I guess. Possibly gay for each other? Possibly.
Now comes Madigan and Glock.
Madigan is amazing. He's a great character with a great twist and a great mystery surrounding him. I swear everyone in this series has secrets. He's badass as fuck, but I can't say much because I don't want to spoil people.
Glock is cool, he's a brand new character so I can't say much, but I love him. Glock has a thing for small animals and knew much about them despite his cold and rude attitude. He feels like elDLIVE's version of KHR's Hibari, albeit a slightly kinder and less battle minded version of him. Heck, they even share their gayness towards the main character. And no, I'm not complaining at all.
Now last but not least! The "femboy character that is a trend now thanks to haikyuu, precious cinnamon roll too pure too cute for this world, everyone is gay for him at one point" main character, Kokonose Chuuta
I just want to say that, I love, love, love him. I have a soft spot for feminine boys and cinnamon rolls, but I love Chuuta not only because of that. There are mysteries surrounding him, and not Misuzu's kind of secrets, it's secrets that has been subtly hinted throughout the series, from the very start. You can see the hints scattered around if you squint hard enough. I actually made a post on tumblr listing every single time it's hinted that something is gravely wrong with him. He himself doesn't seem to know it, or maybe he does, who knows. I've no idea what this "wrongness" could be, as the hints are all very vague. but if the plot becomes too cringey, I'll still keep on reading just to know.
There are still some other characters, but those are the ones that matters the most currently. There's also the villains, but I don't get them that much so you'll have to read to find out. One of them can shift gender, which is petty cool. And they're into Chuuta. Thanks again Amano.
So that concludes characters, let's move on to the art.
It's easy to explain Amano's art, really. You'll probably saw her art and goes like this:
"sign me the FUCK up 👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀 good shit go౦ԁ sHit👌 thats ✔ some good👌👌shit right👌👌th 👌 ere👌👌👌 right✔there ✔✔if i do ƽaү so my selｆ 💯 i say so 💯 thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: ʳᶦᵍʰᵗ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ) mMMMMᎷМ💯 👌👌 👌НO0ОଠＯOOＯOОଠଠOoooᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒ👌 👌👌 👌 💯 👌 👀 👀 👀 👌👌Good shit"
elDLIVE is in full colour, literally, everything, is in colour and Amano's art is good enough with screen tones, imagine it with colours.
So there you have it! elDLIVE is a surprisingly deep manga with shonen ai and/or shoujo ai hints, with bad jokes and bad fanservice but good enough characters with a shitload of secrets.
First of all, I would like to get this out of the way and say that this is mostly a negative review. Also, keep in mind that I will be comparing this to Amano's previous work "Reborn!".
Plot: Kokonose Chuuta is a middle school boy that hears voices in his head and occasionally even talks to that voice in public, hence the nickname "Mumbling Chuuta". Soon, he realizes that an alien, more specifically, a montelien (excuse the spelling) is connected to him by unknown reasons, and was soon chosen to join a galactic space police organization, called elDLIVE.
The Story had a pretty strange start,
but it kept me anticipating for anything that would make it a worthwhile read for me.
I'll be honest, my fondness of Reborn! is what made me have high hopes for this manga, and boy, was I wrong. The plot was flimsy at best, and it was a very stereotypical shounen-esque manga. But, what it fails to deliver is an actual introduction to the main characters, and when they were introduced, it didn't leave a memorable impact on me as a reader.
In Amano's previous work, "Reborn!" The female characters were pretty useless (no offense) they stayed in the kitchen, they can't fight, and are usually the "damsel of distress". It's pretty obvious that in elDLIVE, Amano is trying to counter this cliche with having literally 2/3 of the main cast being female. I have nothing against with her trying to promote more feminism in her work. However, despite the 'badassery' of the girls in eldLIVE, their good qualities fade out to make room for fanservice -_-. I honestly couldn't get through two chapters without seeing at least Veronica or Misuzu's panties getting flashed. I've yet to see any depth in the characters, besides them existing solely for the fanservice, and it irks me.
The Art was good, but it wasn't utterly stunning, despite it being a full-color manga, I prefer the monochromic style of art in Reborn! in contrast to the full color.
Overall, The plot doesn't make sense, the characters weren't diverse enough for me, and it was pretty much another cllche of a manga.
I'll keep my review simple since I agree with the review written before me.
TL;DR at the bottom
Typical but interesting. You can take a preexisting genre and make it work. What matters is the execution. This just as in plot standpoint is the your typical shonen manga you've seen rising in popularity over the recent years:
Weak protagonist is weak, meets some supernatural force, some outer force threatens loved ones/world, protagonist gets stronger by the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP, and eventually defeats threat.
The overarching plot seems to dwell with memories, emotional/psychological trauma, growing up, friendship (duh), and relationships with loved ones coupled with a sci-fi space cops theme.
This in execution works very well since the manga has some nice subtle moments where the plot is large enough for characters to develop with the overarching mystery (that I will not name for obvious reasons).
However what doesn't work is the subplots and the pacing of some arcs. Some of the subplots are good enough since it dwells in the realms of character development rather than forcing in a new alien or plot device. However some fall flat mostly because of the pacing. I won't go into specifics but one of the biggest arcs revolving around the main protagonist's character development is so rushed, the conflict goes away in an instant. It honestly left me a bit disapointed since I really would've like to see this part fleshed out.
It's not always like this but on some parts it is.
Subjective but in my opinion, it's fucking amazing!!! Everything is fully-coloured, styles are on point, and people need to give Akira Amano some credit for her creativity in designs and the powers her characters have
Akira Amano makes the best 'zero-to-hero' male protagonists. Chuuta Kokonose has a beautiful character development and honestly I can say one of her most complex character in the series. He seems like your everyday shonen character but he seems more human because he has a personality and values other than 'saving the world for my friends and family.' He does encompass those tropes but again, the execution is very well done
Her villains are either hilariously hot, evil, or hot and evil. We don't see much as of now but the main villains (Heaven Sider and some I won't name because SPOILERS) she did set up for now all have their darker moments coupled by their more complex moments.
Her female characters are her weaker points and yeah... although I don't have a big issue with most of them, Misuzu Sonokata just rubs me the wrong way. I was never a fan of the bitchy/tsundere/kuudere type of characters because they never have a reason to outright bully the main protag. Sure they give her a reason here, but she doesn't grow out of it solely for the fact that WE MUST PUT ___ CHARACTER IN ___ ARCHETYPE. So yeah more for horrible character development for her
I honestly think the main problem with this series is an identity crisis. Akira Amano's previous work, Katekyo Hitman Reborn, was catering more towards females than males which worked for the most part with her beautiful art style and gorgeous designs.
This however, feels like it's trying to pull both demographics but fanservice for both genders (and that technicolour rainbow in between) are...mediocre. Sure the character designs are pretty but the fanservice you give us aren't the best. And don't take this as me thirsty for more hot guys (which I am) but she PURPOSEFULLY presents us with these types of situations! I'm not asking for some R18 or partially nudity, no, I just want the series to figure out which demographic its aiming for. She tries to balance out the fanservice for both genders but at the same time, tries to tame them so it just turns out mediocre.
Story - Typical shonen plot but well executed with a few pacing problems and an overarching mystery set in sci-fi setting
Characters - A great 'zero-to-hero' main protagonist, interesting side characters and villains, but suffers from some archetype characters that refuse to develop
Art - (Subjective) A FUCKING PLUS DESIGNS AND ART HOLY SHIT I LOVE THIS ART WITH A PASSION
Fan Service - Great designs. Suffers from an identity crisis though
Other- The manga does get better once the main arc is introduced