A manga by Nobuaki Tadano
I’m not really sure if this is better categorized as a science fiction manga or a horror manga, but it definitely follows my horror trend last year. 7 Billion Needles Nobuaki Tadano is an interesting comic, seeing that it is based on an old science fiction novel called Needle, by Hal Clement. This series goes on for a while, and the synopsis for the older book seems to somewhat parallel the first volume to a degree, so it will be interesting to see where this goes. I may have to try to read the older book if I get a chance, seems interesting. This manga also has a bit in common with the late 80’s – early 90’s manga Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte – so I wonder if That author was inspired by Clement, making this a full circle of influence.
“Modern-day Japan is the stage for a new take on hard science fiction, as author Nobuaki Tadano revisits one of the genre’s grand masters, Hal Clement, in his debut work. Loosely inspired by Clement’s golden age title Needle, 7 Billion Needles follows the life of a teenage girl whose quiet boring days implode, her body possessed by an alien lifeform caught up in an intergalactic manhunt.”
Hikaru Takabe starts out as a fairly unlikeable character, cripplingly shy and almost against having any human interaction at all. It seems she is more interested in listening to music and looking up at the stars. She is accidentally killed and brought back by an alien lifeform tasked with hunting down another evil lifeform that is known to cause havoc wherever it may land. Now joined into a symbiotic relationship, the two reluctantly begin working together to vanquish the evil lifeform, known as Maelstrom. The Hunter grants Hikaru special abilities and a fighting prowess unmatched by Earthly standards. The girl that wants absolutely nothing to do with humanity, has now become the planets biggest superhero.
I enjoyed the artwork in this quite a bit, Nobuaki Tadano does a great job with gruesome images of body horror including the twisted monster that Maelstrom eventually becomes. I hope we see evolutions of the monster as the story goes, assuming it doesn’t die after this one fight. With this ending in the middle of a battle, I’m not sure what the future holds for the characters, but I will interested to see where this goes.
This is a solid low-key manga release that I don’t feel got any hype whatsoever. With it’s closeness to the plot of Parasyte, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more buzz – honestly I think I only bought this originally because it was on sale on Amazon for almost nothing (even now, it’s only $4.99 USD per volume across four volumes). I know most people don’t seem to get too excited for horror manga, but for me it’s one of the more creative genres out on the market right now seeing that a lot of what gets published nowadays is VERY derivative. Instead of the million moe and isekai books oversaturating the market, I’ll take some obscure horror books any day of the week.