What a surprise! This is a very interesting, unique, and fascinating sci fi/dystopian manga. Everything is just a bit different than what I usually read in this type of story and the pacing/reveals are well done. By the time I had finished the second volume, I wanted more – and now!
Story: A ‘gate’ opens up in the sky above a Japanese city and out pour monsters – destructive and oddly single minded in their mission. But before the city completely disappears off the map, a group of humans show up with other dimensional technology to fight the monsters. They stabilize the area and control the gates – and life goes on in the City. Osamu Mikumo is a 15 year old student and in training to be one of those elite warriors. But when a transfer student appears at his school, an amiable but kind of clueless young guy, Osamu Mikumo’s world is about to be turned on its head. Because this new student, Yuma, is also one of those monsters.
There is a lot of imagination and definitely no lazy writing in this series. From the human protectors being called Border Defense Agency to the monsters being called Neighbors. As well, the monsters aren’t, well, monstery. They are biological weapons with a purpose we learn in volume 2. Yuma’s personalities is fun without being silly or immature. He’s a great foil for Osamu Mikumo.
Something very different is here for characterizations. Instead of Osamu Mikumo being a hot head jerk with a death wish and hidden super powers, we have a nerdy guy who just wants to do the right thing and only has a small amount of power. It’s the new neighbor, Yuma, who helps him out and has the experience and strength. For this first volume, Osamu Mikumo has to battle, lose horribly, and then take the credit for Yuma. But at the same time, he does heroic deeds and does save many people. So there is a balance there that I really appreciated.
As well, the side characters were also unique and interesting. From the different personalities in the Border groups to the leaders of the agency. They aren’t benevolent and they aren’t evil. They all have different but grounded motivations for doing what they do. Even Yuma’s ‘companion’ is interesting.
The world building is distinct. We don’t learn a lot in the first book but by the second, Yuma will give us much more perspective on the Neighbors and their dimension.
If I had one small complaint, it’s that people just accept things easily. E.g., Osamu Mikumo not freaking out that Yuma is one of ‘them’ didn’t bother me a lot but perhaps it should have. But I was so caught up in this different type of storyline that I eagerly grabbed the next in the series.
Give this a try – after two volumes I am completely hooked.
Reviewed from an ARC.