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“Aposimz”, the new cyberpunk manga from the author of “Blame! “

Twenty years after “Blame! “, His cult work, Tsutomu Nihei offers us again, with” Aposimz “, an original and ambitious manga.

Giant artificial structure composed of millennia strata, Aposimz is a star abandoned which is home to a heterogeneous and astonishing population. Scarce and fragile human communities live in its rubble, avoiding Revidor, a totalitarian central government made up of powerful robotic “puppets”.

It is in this hostile world that Essro (Etherow, in English) evolves with difficulty in the company of his friends, until the day when a meeting puts him in contact with a fugitive who provides him before dying a code and seven projectiles . No luck, these are highly coveted by the Revidor, who will do everything to recover them. Thanks to the code, Essro transforms himself into an assault puppet, making Titania appear at the same time, an automaton coming from the center of Aposimz, sent (e) to thwart the projects of the central government.

Several recurring elements characterize the works of Tsutomu Nihei, whose Knight Of Sidonia, its most famous reference with Blame!. The Japanese author has in his repertoire a large number of very rich works, built around very complex cyberpunks universe, which communicate with each other. Thus, this new series takes up themes and a universe that we have already surveyed in Blame!, Abara or Biomega.

Yet it is Blame! thatAposimz is inspired the most. We find the same sprawling universe, which impresses with its graphic and thematic coherence, its oppressive emptiness and relentless hardness. The icy, snow-covered structures are nothing but piping, scrap metal, engines, tubes and rusty pipelines. As much as Blame! was of a contrasted black, Aposimz is white, so white that we think at first that it is a printing defect. The finesse of the line, the lightness of the frames, these landscapes at the limit of the visible do not temper the hardness of the subject and the long series of violent disappointments that the hero undergoes in this first volume.

As in Blame!, the morphological proximity of the characters with the human is misleading. Everything is mutant or changing, and feelings too, in the universe ofAposimz. If the beginning of the series presents the normalized environment of a pastoral community, Nihei very quickly makes us fall into the very cold nightmare of a world for which the massacre does not seem morally problematic. No doubt because the puppets are not really “alive”. This postulate explains the ease with which the author eliminates without qualms the characters with whom he familiarized us from the first pages.

Finally, as in Blame!, the hero is in a fairly classic narrative structure, initiatory type, on a linear path that leads to the path of understanding and improving his fate. If the universe presented to us is very complex and requires an assimilation phase, the narration itself is very simple, with steps and levels very close to those we can find in the video game. Thus, Essro starts unarmed, with a “reservoir” of energy that he must improve by eliminating “mobs zone” and bosses increasingly powerful, he must destroy one after the other.

Much more accessible than Blame!, Aposimz quickly succeeds in creating membership, unlike his elder, who drags a reputation (justified) series difficult or even arid. Tsutomu Nihei signs here one of his most accomplished works.

Aposimz, by Tsutomu Nihei, in bookstores on November 7, Glénat editions, 190 pages, € 7.60.

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