Deus Vitae Vol. 1
Filling the need for this month's supply of post-apocalyptic science fiction action, we now take a look at Takuya Fujima's Deus Vitae.
In the year 2068, things don't look so great for mankind. After a supercomputer named Leave, created by humans, decided that they were no longer necessary (sound familiar?), it simply wiped out the entire race.
Or so it thought.
It formed four "Mothers," humanoid computers like itself, formed in the shape of beautiful women. These five beings became the progenitors of a race of androids known as solenoids. Smarter, faster, and stronger than any human, they quickly formed what Leave hoped would be a perfect society.
And then Ash Ramy appeared.
Ash, as it turns out, is a human being. This does not bode well for Leave, but then it shouldn't have much to worry about, for the combined might of all of the solenoids backed by the strength of the Mothers should be enough to oppose any threat.
When a resistance organization appears, however, wreaking havoc on the order imposed upon the world by Leave, the androids are quickly forced to reevaluate the threat level of the humans that they had thought destroyed.
What's worse for the machines is that it appears that Ash possesses special powers giving him control over any computers that he comes into contact with. As this is only the first volume of the series, the origin of his abilities and their true purpose remains shrouded in mystery, but so far, this is a pretty engaging science fiction story.
It's hard to pin down an exact date of creation, but this doesn't seem to be a rip-off of The Matrix. It was most likely written around the same time that the first film was originally released, but there are enough differences in the plot to make this an entirely different work, albeit one that also puts humans in a nasty predicament in the near future.
This is why I'm a strong advocate for off switches for every electronic device. It's also why I'm beginning to fear wi-fi.
The artwork for Deus Vitae differs notably from most other manga out there. It is more realistic than other styles I've read, and Fujima displays an impressive attention to detail in his first domestic publication. Most scenes have a lot going on in the background, fleshing out his dark vision of the future to a significant degree.
Speaking of flesh, plenty of it is shown in Deus Vitae, though most of it falls under the casual nudity category rather than outright sex-based nakedness. While the book doesn't feature the typical cute anime-style character designs, his cast is attractive enough to look good naked.
This is a good thing when androids are given a mandatory bath scene.
Deus Vitae has a good deal of potential as far as I'm concerned. It's a complex title for a more mature audience that doesn't go overboard on unnecessary sensuality or random curse words. Takuya Fujima is a skillful artist, and the images he renders are detailed enough to warrant a careful look at each of his pages.
This series is reminiscent of Fist of the North Star, though it's not nearly as over the top as that classic adventure tale. Still, readers seeking sci-fi that isn't just for kiddies might want to check this one out. Volume Two should be available by the time that this issue reaches publication, so hopefully we'll know quickly whether or not the story moves along at a respectable pace.
The sound effects weren't messed with in this edition, and there are a few pages of color in the front of the book. The cover illustration is what enticed me to buy the book, which does a good job of showcasing Fujima's style and fondness for attractive android women. He's not quite up there with Masamune Shirow, but I do have to say that Fujima is an artist to watch out for.