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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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12/23/2007 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Heroes Are Extinct! Vol. 2"

Heroes Are Extinct! Vol. 2
By Ryoji Hido
Digital Manga Publishing

Review by Tom Good

"[Japanese Defense Minister] Shigeru Ishiba told reporters that he was studying whether the nation's pacifist Constitution would limit a military response to an attack by space aliens. 'There are no grounds to deny that there are unidentified flying objects and some life forms that control them,' Mr. Ishiba said, smiling at first, but then delivering a straight-faced explanation." -- The New York Times, Dec 22, 2007

Well, it's good to know that manga characters aren't the only ones taking the threat of alien invasion seriously. Heroes Are Exinct! pokes fun at the "team of teens saves the Earth from alien invasion" story. But in the case of Volume 2, it is not so much a poke as a stab in the back. Can a parody be too successful, or its target too defenseless?

Galactic General Cassiel, acting as chief of the Terra Rangers, insists that military jets are useless because they are "triangles," and only a huge bipedal humanoid robot can defend Earth. But he also convinces the invading Bazue empire to attack using giant monsters. So some of the overused themes of the genre appear, but only because a deranged goofball secretly works for both sides. This is pretty funny, but after a while it becomes a bit sad -- the genre is so silly to begin with that it makes for too easy a target.

I did like that the threatening aliens have names like "Princess Velvet" and "Ahab." I also liked some of the unnecessary detail, such as the alien technology described as "A Bazue photo album. A touch panel type that can store up to 5,000 images (or 10 hours of full video)." But the manga starts to run out of steam when it introduces flashbacks to Cassiel's childhood and his mysterious origins. These plot points seem to only appear so that we can groan at how cliched they are. In an afterword, the author admits to not expecting the manga to have continued past chapter 15, so perhaps the plot was not planned out very far. It will be interesting to see where things go in Volume 3.

See also:

Heroes Are Extinct, Vol. 1 review by Tom Good

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