With a generic subtitle like “The Final Evolution” you’d expect Alive to be pretty substandard, right? Well, you shouldn’t always judge a book by its unoriginal subtitle. The cover is much better for superficial judging!
Alive tells the story of four main characters. Taisuke and his sister have been scraping by since both their parents died when they were young. Taisuke’s sister is the nurse at the high school that he attends. Hirose is Taisuke’s childhood friend who always gets bullied, then saved by Taisuke. Megu is Taisuke’s girlfriend, I think…
When mysterious mass suicides occur all over the world, no one can really figure out why they’re happening. Eventually a theory is hatched that a virus is causing people to kill themselves. But after a week the suicides stop.
Hirose is caught in the middle of this “nightmare week” when he’s found with the corpses (or what’s left) of the kids who were bullying him on the roof. Ummm. I blame suicide virus! Unfortunately the cops don’t see it that way…
This might be good if it wasn’t his sister…
There’s a feeling that I get from reading Alive. It’s sorta creepy. Like the world that the story is happening in is just slightly askew. I’m not sure if the mangaka intended the story to be that way, but it’s really effective. There’s this underlying tension behind all of the events that take place. Something just doesn’t sit right. If this was a harem comedy manga, that’d be a bad thing, but since this is something of a horror story, I approve.
The end of the volume leaves things very open ended. Almost too much. You’re left with all the questions in your head unanswered, and it’s really annoying. What kind of powers do Hiro and Taisuke have? How does it relate to the murders? What is that creepy guy doing in the yaranaika outfit?!
Character Designs and Art:
I lol’ed at the creepy guy in the kuso miso technique jumpsuit (see below). Besides that guy, all the character designs are done pretty well. They all “look” like the characters they’re supposed to be, if that makes sense. Like Megu looks like a sort of girlfriend but not. And Hiro looks like the kid that gets bullied and suddenly kills like 500 people and doesn’t think twice about it!
Like I mentioned earlier, the art does a good job of conveying this odd sense that something is not quite right in the world.
The Actual Book:
Besides the story, the book contains Del Rey’s famous awesome translation notes, and a “light visual manga” section, otherwise known to normal people as 4koma. The 4koma are so strange, because they try to use this creepy universe as an engine for humor. It just ends up creeping me out even more.
I don’t think I’ve really ever read a manga like Alive before. Most of the stuff I read is either funny or romantic. And maybe some action. Reading horror manga is a pretty nice change. And it also helps that the manga comes off as really creepy. I’ll even forgive the sappy subtitle, just this once.
I’d suggest this if, like me, you’ve been sort of bombarded by harem comedies and high school romance and are looking for something different.