Monday, 16 June 2008 04:24

BioMeat: Nectar (Manga, 2007)

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Overview


BioMeat: Nectar

Before I get into the meat of this review, I have to pause for a word from our sponsor... Hungry? Don't know what's for dinner? Can't find something to put on the plate? Well, no worries folks - try Bio-Meat!™ Healthy, nutritious, and environmentally friendly, Bio-Meat: It's what's for dinner. With that having been said, let's cut out the gristle and get on with the tenderizing. Recently I've been getting into manga a bit more, and in the course of exploring that ran across a little treasure trove of a place called SnoopyCool. Great little place, check it out folks. Anyway, among other series that I found there was a little horror movie in the making named Bio-Meat: Nectar.

Fields USA Info Japanese Info Image
Title Bio-Meat: Nectar BioMeat: Nectar
Alternative Bio-Meat
Dates 2000 - ?
Company Shounen Champion
Author Fujisawa Yuki
Artist Fujisawa Yuki
Genre Horror, Survival Horror, Monster Movie
Related

Review


BioMeat: Nectar

In the near future, humanity has finally taxed the food supply to the limit, while at the same time started producing so much trash that there just isn't enough room left for it. Just when things were looking pretty bleak, though, somebody found a solution: A bio-engineered organism with the ability to metabolize anything - and everything - save metal and glass. Upon consumption of anything, it immediately gives birth to six to eight children, who of course immediately begin eating and reproducing as well. If you can't see the problem with this idea, chances are you're soon going to be joining quite a few other light snacks on their potential menu. They're like Tribbles... with sharper teeth, and a much bigger appetite.

In any case, two problems, one solution. The BM consume all forms of... well, everything, getting rid of the trash in the process. In turn, the BM themselves can be consumed by the people. They're the ultimate food source - self-producing, genetically engineered to be nutritious and good tasting, and cheap - how expensive is it to feed the damn things trash? And because BM are a Japanese invention, they've literally saved the nation - quite literally, in fact. The creation of the BM and the marketing thereof to the world turned Japan into an economic powerhouse on equal footing with even the US.

BioMeat: Nectar

Bio-Meat: Nectar opens on a school ground in Tokyo. A young transplant from Kansai named Maaya Kan points out to a much, much bigger classmate that if he doesn't stop eating so damn much, he's going to end up looking just like a BM. Now, I should mention something folks... nobody in the world has the faintest idea what a BM really is. They're only familiar with the packaged filleted version. Keep that in mind. In any event, as you can guess, Banba isn't too pleased with that, and even less with Maaya's explanation that it was supposed to be the opening to a joke. At the same time on the other side of town, a shipment of BM is just getting ready to load up at the production plant. With the sort of timing that only a manga series can have, just as Maaya and Banba are about to get into a fight and the BM are about to start loading themselves onto the truck because they smell food in it, there's an earthquake. It does relatively minor damage to the plant... in fact, all that it does is break the seal between the truck and the area the BM are stored in.

Welcome to the world of survival horror... Err, that's from another series, isn't it? Doesn't mean that it's not true, though, folks. Let's face it folks, Fujisawa set out to take us on a guided tour through a little slice of hell. And you know what? He did a kickass job of it. With that stated, let's take a quick look at the characters. I've already touched on Maaya and Banba. Maaya was setup from the beginning of the series as the hero character, and he actually does a surprisingly good job of filling out into that role from where he starts. Banba is the Big, Dumb Bruiser character at the start - he doesn't stay that way, though. Filling out the cast of the first outbreak are Kanomiya Mirano and Shingo. Kanomiya is a teased, bullied little girl referred to as the 'wolf girl.' Her parents are away overseas due to work, so she lives with her grandmother, but nobody at the school believes her. Shingo is the class president, and it'll take you one look at him to realize that he knows far, far more about what's going on than he's letting on.

Aside from the main quartet of the first outbreak is a cast of BM-Chow. Now, I'm not going to bother mincing words here, folks... 90% of the characters in the series are the sort of human scum you wouldn't wanna have to scrape off your shoe. I've gotta tell you, the BM are doing the world a favor here - a big one. It's a sad statement when you realize you have to root for the Monster of a series just because it's got the moral high ground - not that the BM have enough intelligence to be picky, mind you. In a lot of series, it just doesn't work - I broke my "I Believe" button a couple times watching some of the later Hellraiser movies that put Pinhead firmly on the moral high ground. Pinhead has no business being on the moral high ground... but that's another review, heh. Anyway, you'll find yourself cheering for a couple of the scenes of people becoming BM-Kibble. I know I did.

BioMeat: Nectar

Interlaced through the horror is actually a surprisingly strong story. While you've seen the framework before if you've ever played a Resident Evil game, or Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill - any of a hundred 'Limited Ammo, Lots of Nasties' games, you've got the basic idea of Bio Meat down. The series covers the course of three major outbreaks of the BM, and it does it through the eyes of the four kids that I've already introduced you to. The second outbreak takes place a few years after the first, and the third, which has yet to be translated by SnoopyCool, presumably takes place not long afterwards. You get to see the group form, storm, norm... wait, sorry, just had a nasty relapse into my Group Dynamics course from last quarter. The point that I'm trying to make is that Fujisawa did an excellent job of interweaving the character dynamic into the rapid fall into chaos of the outbreaks.

The artistic side of the series is rather interesting. It is at the same time very good, and very unpleasant at times. Fujisawa has a habit of making a character's appearance match their personality, so the uglier the character was, the nastier the character. One prime example of this is the leader of the three 'hyena's' that harass Maaya's mother where she works. Well, technically they 'work' there too, but somehow I doubt that they ever lifted so much a finger to do anything but smoke in the cooler. The artwork is sharp and rather blunt in its presentation - there's no effort to add any sort of softening to the scenery, and that works well with the tone of the series. The character designs for characters that survive more than a page or three are very well detailed and defined - and for characters that are just walking bait? Eh, not so much, heh. Still good art, just not up to the bar set by the main characters.

Overall


BioMeat: Nectar

Hey, I loved this one, and I'm looking forward to the concluding arc. What can I say, I'm a fan of survival horror, and Fujisawa did an awesome job of putting together a compelling story and solid artwork. There are some slow points before each outbreak gets going, as things are setup for that arc, but once the BM get loose... well, you can imagine what happens next. There's some solid character development, and the cast is kept balanced as additional characters are added - and subtracted - from the main quartet. As importantly, unlike most Survival Horror stories, The Evil Corporation actually recognized the dangers of what they were doing from the start, and do have contingency plans in place... That might sound like it'd defeat the purpose of going through hell, but remember... even the greatest plans only last as long as the first fired shot, and the BM are remarkably resilient for being moving slabs of meat.

So c'mon, pull a chair up to the dinner table, and dig on in... I promise, this meal's entirely vegetarian, because by the time you get done reading Bio Meat, you're never going to see dinner the same way again. And remember, Bio Meat: It's What's Eating YOU for Dinner.

Additional Info

  • Writing: Groovy (+5)
  • Pacing: Groovy (+5)
  • Artwork: Groovy (+5)

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