Eden: It's an Endless World
Volume 1

Author: Hiroki Endo
Artist: Hiroki Endo
Titan Books
RRP: 6.99, US $12.95
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6487 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 487 0
Available 27 April 2007

Following a pandemic which appears to have wiped out the worlds population, Layne watches over possibly the last two children left alive. Hanna and Ennoia, who prefers to be known as Enoah have survived in an ecological station, immune to the plague that has ravaged the world, they contemplate their future. With Layne slowly succumbing to the disease soon the children will be on their own. But fate has a way of springing surprises, when surviving elements of the world impinge on their idyllic existence, bringing death and violence...

Eden: It's an Endless World is a new manga from Hiroki Endo and based on Gnosticism, which was an early form of belief that people were condemned to live in the material world with the only escape being spiritual growth, in this it has much in common with the Buddhist concept of Samsara. But don't let the religious overtones of the story deter you from reading, what is a mature and thoughtful work.

The book is a bit misleading as you think that you are going to explore Ennoia (the Gnostic goddess of thought) and Hanna's (apparently she has some sisters) struggles to survive, but their ejection from Eden (the name of the island where the ecological centre is located) comes very quickly and the main thrust of the story shifts twenty years to their son Elijah. Elijah is now on the run from the forces of Propater, who have used the plague to make a play for world domination. Ennoia, now a powerful drugs baron continues fighting the forces of Propater from South America, as does Hanna, his mother.

The second half of book one introduces Elijah and his world - a world where survivors of the plague have augmented themselves with cybernetic implants to survive. But Elijah does not travel alone, having with him his father's war robot Cherubim (a form of angel) whose rather indiscriminate programming means that he is as likely to kill his allies as he is his foes.

The first half of the book is very well constructed. In order to put into context what has happened to our main protagonists there are a lot of flashbacks, something which could become very confusing, very quickly, but the book places the contemporary story on a white background and the flashbacks on black. It's a simple, but effective, idea and not at all intrusive.

The second half of the first volume, and the beginning of the real story, finds Elijah being captured by a renegade force opposed to Propater, who require the help of his robot to cross the Andes. The group - lead by Colonel Khan, a former Azerbaijan Islamic freedom fighter who losses his faith following he death of his son - also contains Sophia. Sophia looks to be a young girl, but in reality is a fifty plus plague victim who has had a whole body transplant. She plays surrogate mother to Kenji, one of the more complex figures in he narrative.

One of the most interesting parts of the story, which is only touched upon in the opening novel, is the religious divide which apparently has come about in the world. Propater has grown out of the UN and NATO, but appears to be a far right Christian organisation, which labels the area that they control as Gnosia, the area outside is Agnosia which appears to consist of most of he Islamic world.

So, it's a good start to a new manga, which promises much in the way of engaging storyline.

Charles Packer

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