Mar 20, 2015
Beobachter (All reviews)
Cage of Eden is something you’d get by tossing Lost, Jurassic Park, and Battle Royale into a cheap blender, with heaps of fanservice seasoning on top of it. Reading the manga is kind of similar to devouring greasy junk food; instantly gratifying, but insubstantial and probably left you mostly unfulfilled by the end. That last bit is particularly significant.

The premise is an instant sell for lovers of roller-coaster suspense story: an airplane carrying a high-school class crash landed on a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere. But, that's not all: before long, the main protagonist has to round up his missing friends, encounter the island's less than friendly inhabitants in the form of various grotesque beast creatures, deal with various people's psychological breakdowns, and figure out the big mystery behind the exact circumstances of their predicament. It's an inelegant mish-mash of the franchises I've mentioned before, while the fanservice (both the violent and lewd nature) could get hilariously over the top: nothing depicted the manga's tone better than the panel where a big wolf thingy devours someone's crippled body, while on the foreground there's a huge pantyshot of a terrified girl.And yet, I'd be lying if I say Cage of Eden isn't an engrossing read. The psychological/emotional level is mostly skin-deep, but the main cast of characters is likable enough to root for, and Yoshinobu Yamada really excels in stringing a series of cliffhangers one after another and a pile of intriguing mysteries on top of each other...

This, unfortunately, brings us to by far the Cage of Eden's biggest flaw. Normally, I don't like spoiling or even hinting a mystery/suspense series too much, but in this case it felt absolutely imperative for a potential reader to know what they're getting into. So, here goes: Cage of Eden's ending is wildly unsatisfying, left a lot of plot threads unresolved, answered the central mystery in a baffling manner, and in general displayed a shocking lack of long-term planning.Some series could get away or even enhanced by an open and ambiguous ending, but something like CoE really has no business playing "the journey mattered more than the destination" card. A lack of proper resolution is a death knell to a series so reliant on clifhangers, and as it is, most readers would soldier through 21-volume worth of constant build-ups and excessive fanservice hoping for a big pay-off that doesn't exist.

A bit of a shame, really. Cage of Eden is trashy as hell, but most of the times it's a fun and exciting kind of trashy. It deserves a better closing, at the very least, and I could only wonder if perhaps too much energy is spent on drawing all the boobs instead of, you know, making a plot outline.