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Manga Review: Noise by Tsutomu Nihei

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The cover for Noise is very eye catching; the colors are something that particularly caught my attention: a pure clear teal, a fiery yellow orange, and the pale white face of Musubi Susono sitting on a throne, sword in hand and the slain bodies of her enemies at her feet. The artwork is stunning. So many times the artwork that you see on the cover is nothing like what you find on the inside of the manga. But when you open Noise, the artwork is just as beautiful, though I did find myself wishing for those eye-popping colors.

Set in the Blame! universe, Noise is a single volume about Detective Musubi Susono and her investigation into some missing children. With her partner Kloser, they come across the mutilated bodies of the children, and Musubi swears to bring whoever is responsible to justice.

But whoever is behind the gruesome murders isn’t going to be that easy to find. When Kloser is brutally murdered and half his face presented to Musubi, she chases the masked presenter through the dark and decaying city, only to be confronted by what is left of Kloser. Forced to use an unknown weapon to kill her monstrous partner Musubi escapes, only to be discharged by her superiors.

From there, the plot spirals out to include a conspiracy to remove all unmodified human life and inhuman bio technology. There are some unexpected twists, things that I just did not see coming, and it was nice to be surprised. Musubi is a character that, although there is little character development, you quickly become attached to as she fights to protect what she believes is right.

The final image of Musubi sitting on a ruined stair, hair grown long and encased in black armor, is haunting. There is just something about the artwork that really kicks you in the gut and affects you. With just enough text to give you the bones of the plot, the art tells the majority of the story; glimpses of a dark dystopian society, a bleak future on a dark planet that is what our Earth could become, make for compelling reasons to turn the page.

Noise starts out dark and ends dark; there is no happy ending here. Rated 16+ for moderate violence, gore, and language, the big thing for me was the gore. It bothered me a bit but it’s not excessive; it’s just the nightmare images, creatures who once were human coming back to haunt the living, and they stick with you long after you’ve sent the manga down.

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About Katie T. Buglet

  • http://terryrfinley.bravehost.com/ Terry Finley

    Good review. Looks like a good read.

    My blog

  • Yuji Tomita

    Haunting is a good word to describe his work I think. I wish there was more I could consume!

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