Sporadic Sequential
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Ambivalent about Alive

Reading the latest volume of Alive, I was left with ambivalent feelings. There are still aspects of the series I enjoy, particularly Adachitoka's artwork, which improves each volume. But overall I feel the series is drifting from its initial, intriguing premise. I know there are still references to the mysterious mass suicides that opened this series, but they feel perfunctory. Instead the book seems to have settled on a formula of pointless fight scenes between Taisuke and that volume's new super-powered characters. It's a strange criticism coming from someone who laps up each new battle in Bleach, but I was really hoping for Alive to be something more than a series of random video game face-offs (even if they are staged quite skillfully, as demonstrated below).

It probably doesn't help that Nami reminds me
of the
lamest Marvel character ever created.

The volume slightly redeemed itself towards the end with the introduction of perhaps the greatest embodiment of fan entitlement ever put to paper: the ultra-otaku Okada has the power to kill (almost) anyone who breaks a promise to him by siccing his very own loli-goth version of the Grim Reaper on the offender. It's an interesting concept, and one that could be played to great meta effect within a manga. However, based on the next volume preview, it looks like he'll mainly be used to set up yet another conflict between Taisuke and Nami. Yawn.

Still, I enjoyed the first two volumes of this series even if the last two have been somewhat disappointing, so I'll probably give Alive one more volume to stay alive on my reading list.

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