Dec 1, 2008
Kaira (Manga) add (All reviews)
Beatnik (All reviews)
A precursor to Yoshitoshi Abe's much praised Haibane Renmei, we have a similar setup here with White Rain: people waking up on the other side of reality with no memories.

The world they wake up in this manga is similar to Tsutomu Nihei's demented imaginings. A very stark and barren urban landscape, so nondescript it’s unnerving. No signs of life, even though the function is there with taps and rooms and tables, but it’s so lacking in personality and decor; lacking in emotion and feeling.

Abe's character designs are easy to recognise, a mark of a great artist, and his scene compositions and landscapes are almost on level with Tsutomu Nihei, though seeing as this one shot wasn’t even a serious attempt, it shows how good Abe really is at what he does.

White Rain begins with a visceral opening, close to being cliché, but continues along a dark path that not only pitches a compelling dilemma for the characters but also the readers too. There is a kill or be killed scenario, but with the added dimension of characters confronting the definition of identity and the ramifications of both killing and absorbing it at the same time. Any more ruminations on this concept would veer into spoiler territory but needless to say it’s thought-provoking in the way the best sci-fi tales are.

White Rain is heavy with mystery and suspense, ideas and ambition, clear intent and skill. A must-read for fans of sci-fi, philosophy, and fans of Abe, a valuable contributor to anime and manga who we should all be thankful for.