Genre: Fantasy Shonen
Year Release in English: 2017-2018
Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.
Content warnings: Body horror, starvation, infection
An immortal being comes to earth and needs to be challenged in order to gain new levels of consciousness. It can take on multiple forms as it learns what it means to be alive despite its immortality.
The primary word I would use to describe this series so far is dense. So much happens in the first volume. We meet Fushi, the immortal being, the Yanome and the Ninnanah, and go through most of what feels like a complete arc. The art is epic and leaves a lot of negative space for the reader to process what’s going on. I can already tell this series is going to destroy me as these personal connections are what allows Fushi to ascend to the next level of consciousness.
Content warnings: Body horror
These characters can’t catch a break as the Yanome have their own schemes in mind. I found it interesting how Ōima explores humanity’s reactions to meeting the divine. The Yanome want to study it, March and Parona want to befriend it. All the while, Fushi learns what this relationships mean to a creature that has otherwise existed in a vacuum.
The stakes skyrocket in this second installment. There’s a prison break, a marketplace brawl, and an intense battle between Fushi and another which might be just like him. It’s pretty light on lore so far, with the reader learning about what Fushi is at the same time he’s learning about our world. At a structural level, it is breath-taking.
Content warnings: Body horror, immolation, alcoholism, nonconsensual medical experimentation
As soon as volume 3 opened up with two brothers and chapter titles that suggest an exploration of monstrosity, I was ready for pain. Fushi has moved on from the Yanome and Ninnanah to another village where a young boy’s brother abandoned him and he had been left disfigured in an accident.
The exploration of virtue versus beauty hits so well in this volume. No one is evil, per se, but more of a product of their choices. They have perspectives molded by their experiences. For a character like Fushi whose entire purpose is to absorb experiences, it serves as a nice foil that I hope continues to develop.
There’s also the concept of memory as a mechanic for Fushi’s abilities It is one of my favorite tropes, and something that will hurt later on. In addition, this Beholder character seems like one that is divine but also painfully neutral in a way that may or may not be downright antagonistic, and that’s definitely going to keep me going at least for a little while longer.