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7 Billion Needles Vol. #03 Manga Review

3 min read

Mankind’s evolution is turned upside down. Can mortal enemies be the only salvation?

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Nobuaki Tadano

What They Say
In this third and penultimate volume, the sleeper critical hit of 2010 bursts out of the tried-and-true mold cast by its inspiration, the classic sci-fi novel Needle. When opposing cosmic forces Horizon and Maelstrom suspend their eternal play, what follows is a scherzo for life on Earth.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Hikaru has a bizarre dream where Dinosaurs are walking the streets of modern Tokyo, Horizon and Maelstrom find it amusing to experience a dream but little do they know, that is the least bizarre thing about to happen.

Having not read the novel this series is based off of I can only assume that volume 2 was the end of the similarities. 7 Billion Needles has been a great ride so far. In how it has dealt with Hikaru growing as a person and the science fiction plot-line that has supplied the action. With volume 3, we begin a new story arc that puts a lot more on the line than before. Which is pretty impressive considering how great of a threat Maelstrom was during the first two volumes.

It appears that since Horizon and Maelstrom have been on Earth, the regulation on evolution and particular lifeforms across the universe have gone….well….unregulated. These subspecies appear on Earth and appear to be extremely similar to Maelstrom in their habits and ferocity, just without his higher intelligence. These creatures start affixing themselves to multiple life forms, including Chika, a classmate of Hikaru’s. After a beautifully creepy encounter with a goose (duck?) merged with a fish and the Maelstrom subspecies, we are introduced to a subspecies of Horizon…the Evolution Moderator.

The Moderator is instantly compelling because he just appears so Godlike and carries the same type of authority that one would expect from God. He has long blond hair, appears naked the whole time, and uses lightning-like powers to investigate and deconstruct the Maelstrom subspecies. However, instead of cleaning up the mess as expected, the Moderator decides to collect the various mutations and encase them in an honest to God Thunderdome! Hikaru is none to happy about this as Chika has been collected as well. The purpose? The ultimate ‘survival of the fittest’ game that will decide the fate of Earth’s evolutionary process.

The Thunderdome scenes are really enjoyable because Chika is pretty much just like Hikaru used to be and is having trouble dealing with and understanding the mutations she is experiencing. The big difference though is that Chika’s mutation is very malicious and seeing her fight with the other mutations (lots of creepy dinosaurs are always great) gives me a good feeling of dread that the Moderator is probably the least of Hikaru’s problems. Just as the back of the book says “The End is Nigh” and what a terrible end it is shaping up to be. I really got the feel that everything was collapsing and there is absolutely no level of certainty that things with turn out for the better.

In Summary
Volume 3 of 7 Billion Needles is just as good as the rest of the series so far. It has a great tone, beautiful artwork, and a compelling storyline. I actually think I am liking this arc more than the previous one. With only one more volume to go in the series, I really hope it pulls it off! There is just too much going on that is intellectually stimulating and visually appealing that a failed ending may ruin the whole thing. I really like the cliffhanger at the end of this volume because it just really builds upon Hikaru’s character so much. Hikaru has gone from aloof shut-in to a warm, compassionate person; her journey has been a great one and the end of her journey looks just as promising.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Vertical
Release Date: February 15th, 2011
MSRP: $10.95

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