A 21st century Japanese apocalypse/horror (or more accurately, "no hope") manga; your first thought? Tits. Your second? Ass. This is the drawbacks to all those fan services, those juicy, bouncing, voluptuous drawbacks. Something about the end of the world or death, and women (who's "accessories" make her fit more on a farm in montana than an urban Japanese environment), make the Japanese (and probably tons of Americans) scream MOAR!!! Does this honestly make sense? If the world ended, wouldn't small girls with washboards survive better? So shouldn't all horror apocalypse stories star creepy old lolicons and doll-size girls instead of reckless selfless and otheradjective-less guys and his herd of cows?
These were some of my first thoughts when I read the synopsis for Cage of Eden; When in the first chapter, the guys are watching a video of their classmates in swimsuits. I thought, this is just another fan service filled action, adventure, comedy, romance, horror manga.
And man, was i wrong.
It was strange to think that I read a manga, where the Male:Female ratio was 3:2, and not 1:20. It was strange that even though the main girl has tits, she shows them ONLY when she bathes (BLASPHEMY!!). I'm going to make comparisons to Highschool of the Dead, not only because of the similarity of the story's feel, but because they counter each other in so many ways, and in the end, i still like CoE better.
Plot: Cage of Eden blends a good amount of action, adventure, and horror. Comedy and romance are the bench players, chilling out, rooting for the team, and every once in awhile they come out and play. CoE blends these genres very well and there are good timings of romance and comedy. When HSotD characters are surrounded by zombies, their first thought is "Will so&so fuck me if i save her?". HSotD had too much melodrama. It made me think, people are fighting for their lives and your trying to figure out which pair of breasts likes who? Cage of Eden focuses on survival, and only throws comedy/romance in when completely necessary and in times when everything is fine or when it fits. My favorite element of CoE; however, is the horror. When your surrounded by zombies, but there's a military force somewhere, it offers some sanctuary. CoE doesn't excel because it's on an island with tons of extinct monsters, it excels because of several scenes that just tell you, "it's fucking useless, you'll die here".
*Mild Spoiler, but a spoiler nonetheless*
The only signs of salvation CoE every offers, are often shut-down immediately. Settlements of people often go from normal, to insanely dangerous in several chapters. One of the most horrifying moments was very early on, when the protagonists and several other students try to sail to safety. The protagonists are betrayed and kicked off the boat where they return to the island. The others sail to a 10 ft rock, tricked by a mirage that caused them to believe it was an island. They are then eaten by a extinct sea monster. Not that scary?
CoE isn't BOO horror, it's that creeping horror. It's like watching a slasher flick; everybody knows the killer, but what can you do? CoE gives that feeling, that you can't escape, you'll never be safe, only death is salvation
The story is a blend of plot and character driven arcs, with only one big goal in mind for our protagonists: Survival. There aren't any outstanding characters, but each character has something to offer to the groups overall survival. None are sitting eye candy, they all work, and there isn't a character i feel you can call a waste of space. Arcs are interesting and are filled with mystery. There are some good twists to the plot, which simply add to the terror.
Art: I had a hard time believing the synopsis when i read it. The characters look fragile and Yuyu hakusho-ish, but unlike Yuyu, most people who died weren't highschool girls/boys who were eaten and stomped and brutally murdered. I can best compare it to happy tree friends, characters are simple and very shojo looking, only to get fucking chomped on as a midnight snack. Animals look great and detailed as well as death sequences. I can't tell if the animals that show up are real or not, but the author definitely did his research.
A great series altogether, action is around every corner as well as horrifying deaths or monsters. Not alot of fan service, but fan service is either something you look for or don't care about. I found the amount here is satisfactory without it turning into full on porn. Cage of Eden proves that putting a body and brain behind those tits can still make a series great.
Go read it bitches