Book Review: Cage of Eden Volume 8

December 28, 2012


I know that I would have been covering Un-Go today, but I did not even get a notification this week of having received the prequel episode, so I cannot say it is putting delayed either, because of today's post. Recently, I received one of the books I ordered through Amazon. Today, I will be reviewing that book, which is called Cage of Eden Volume 8 by Yoshinobu Yamada.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Akira and the gang are seeing things that they do not want to. Arita, Akira's friend, is now trying to kill him and extinct animals are attacking Rion. However, nobody seems to be seeing the same things. Later, after achieving their goal, Akira meets somebody that knows something that she should not have and her group considers her more reliable than Akira due to her premonitions, but things just do not seem right, especially when two members of his group have been found dead.

I really enjoyed this volume. Akira was pretty smart to figure out the truth behind the appearance of Arita at the mountain. Supposedly, Arita died in the flood that happened in volume 5, so there should not really any reason that he should be alive. Considering that this series will be ending soon though, according to Anime News Network, which would most likely make the final volume either volumes 21 or 22, I will say that one should not be too sure about a character's death without a body. I cannot really say that it was not so obvious, but it definitely shows that he is not the idiot that everyone thinks he is. As always, Mariya is quite observant. After Akira gets out of his predicament, he finds out that everyone is suffering from hallucinations like he had and thinks that everyone will recover on their own, but Mariya notices and points out marks on Akira's neck. He states that because of those marks, Akira's friends and comrades can die from the hallucination. I am not too sure how truthful that is, but I can definitely say that there are times where people die for reasons we cannot explain with our current beliefs and scientific advances. Usually, when we see somebody that was very healthy a few hours or days ago, dead we suspect things like suicide, overdosing, or murder, but unlike Detective Conan (Case Closed) and the Poirot stories I have read, murders do not always occur around us wherever we go in real life, nor is the victim always somebody we are related to in some way. On the other hand, this is a survival series where the characters are no longer in civilization as we know it. Because of this fact, a few different factors come into play for premature deaths. The thing that remains the same though is that whether the person lives or dies does depend on their will to fight. I also liked how the group took their surroundings into account. Yes, acute mountain sickness should be treated by descending to lower altitudes, according to the US National Library of Medicine, but Akira and his group did not exactly walk the all the way up the mountain, which would have been the case if they were using a trail. They did a bit of actual climbing in conjunction with walking, so going back the way they came, which would be the obvious solution, would have been more risky than trying to find a trail. In my review of Detective Conan (Case Closed) episode 29 (Japanese count), I mentioned why it was important to examine the environment to solve crimes and that it even applies to troubleshooting computers, but it also applies to survival. Things in our environment are not always constant. A solution to the problem in one situation may not work out so well for another person because things are not the same. In fact, the solution to my issues with airprint, where the router was the issue because it did not support mDNS, may not work because the issue resides with the printer, such as not supporting the functionality to begin with. I also liked what Rei did said, and/or thought here. Because Miina wandered off, Rei went to look for him because she was worried. When she did find Miina, Rei talked about her brother and had the resolve to get him back out alive, realizing that people like Miina needed help. There are people in our society that never receive help when they need it. Sometimes, the person asks for help and does not get it. At the same time, which is the case most of the time, a person does not receive help, because they chose not to ask for help. As I said in my review of volume 5, we cannot choose where help comes from in situations where survival is necessary, only whether or not we do get help. In her trek to find Miina, Rei realizes that the latter of the two that do not get help, which is where Miina and Rei's brother fall, are the most in need of help. The fact that she does rescue Miina and recognizes this point really makes her look like a good person. Maybe not as much as Akira, but Rei seems better than most people in our society. Then again, I should not be the one to say that because I am sure that even I have gotten help when I did not ask for it, though I usually do speak up when I do need help. Of course, Akira's group was not the only thing good about this volume. Yarai was pretty decent as well. Unlike Akira, who wants to help everyone, Yarai is not that concerned about strangers. When he and Kurusu come across some girls that appear to be on their own, one of them runs off due to a grudge towards Yarai and he only goes after her and let her and her friends join him because of Kurusu. Yarai seems much like most people are in our society, in that they are not as willing to help out somebody other than friends and family. Due to this, I can definitely say that Yarai is not as good as Akira, but no worse than Rei. After all, there is no telling whether that individual really needed help or if they are just trying to lure one into a trap. At the same time, people have got to realize that nobody is born evil, not even the most vicious killers in history. In coming to the rescue, Yarai is as great as ever. Seriously, I do not even want to mess with Yarai after what he did to the beasts. He said that he would make them realize that fleeing would have been better than fighting him and he certainly did so, but not without the help of Kurusu and the new girls distracting the others. There were funny parts in this volume too, but I think Yarai had the funniest. Mainly, with Akira's group, the antics pulled and behaviors displayed are what make things funny, but here with Yarai, it is more ironic, if anything. The girl that ran off accused Yarai of tearing up her reply letter to a confession that was supposedly from him, causing her to be humiliated. I am not too sure if this exact situation happens in real life, but it does illustrate one of the mistakes we all make. In many posts, I have talked about mistakes we all make and one of those is making assumptions. If somebody gives you a note saying to meet somewhere and find a guy or girl there, it is not guaranteed that they are the ones that wanted to talk to you or confess to you. The first move should always be confirming whether or not it did come from that particular individual. In this case, the girl found Yarai where she was told to go and assumed that he liked her. Yarai, however, tore up her reply because he thought it was from the people who attacked him. Talk about ironic. No wonder he did not recognize her. The fact that Rei realized that those who do not ask for help but obviously needed it were the most in need, as well as the fact that Akira and his group took the environment into consideration and an incident with Yarai illustrated why assumptions are bad certainly makes this a great volume.

Although I liked the volume, there are definitely some issues. Content-wise, I have nothing to complain about because most of the issues seem very minor. That does not mean that things are perfect, nor in a state where nothing is worth mentioning, though. There does not seem to be any problems with the Table of Contents, unlike Negima! Volume 34, but it seems like Kodansha is giving US fans less and less. In this release, there is not only the lack of an honorific definition list, but also no translation notes. Really, they expect us to know everything there is about Japan and translating to English now? I do not doubt a large following comes from those following the Japanese releases, but even among those not everyone can read Chinese or Japanese. They are probably like me and only know about Japanese culture as portrayed in anime and manga, not the real Japan. The translation notes let us learn a bit more about that culture than what we think. After all, just because it is prevalent in that country's fiction does not mean that it is how their culture really is. Another thing that I have noticed was that there is not preview for the next volume. Come on, Kodansha! They gave no volume preview in the last one and a preview in Japanese before that. They probably did this because I complained about the pattern, but now I have to wait until February to find out what happens next. I can wait, but this is not looking very good. Another issue I found has to do somewhat with the content. Yes, I know I said most were too minor, but this one is not, especially to those who have not followed the series before Kodansha Comics picked it up. While on the mountain, Akira and his group find a message left by Eiken that says they cannot return home and their current location is not their world. Kodansha does a nice job of converting metric measurements to customary units, but they do not bother telling the reader that something was originally in English like that message was. Akira says he cannot read English, but that is exactly what he is speaking. Now, I have said that things like this are normal in my review of Detective Conan (Case Closed) movie 3, but for somebody that is not aware that this came from Japan, this would most likely bug them to no end. This is why it would be helpful if Kodansha noted that it was in originally in English, but instead they made me try and look for the raws, which I could only find the Chinese version of that particular chapter. As far as extras outside of translation notes and honorific definitions, I only see character profiles, Mariya's encyclopedia, and ads for manga that I could probably care as much about as man-made global warming, which I write off as a scam to this day. Outside of that, I cannot really think of anything else to complain about. While the lack of translation notes, an honorific definition list, and volume preview may be bad, there are worse things out there. What really does damage to this volume is that fact that it is not clear, like most English translations, whether or not something was originally in English, without looking at Chinese and/or Japanese raws.

Despite the fact that Kodansha seems to be giving US readers less than Del Rey Manga did, and even does not bother noting what was originally in English, this was still worth reading. I recommend this to fans of survival stories. As for everyone else, I think this is worth giving a shot, even if it is not friendly to newcomers to manga.

What are your thoughts on Cage of Eden Volume 8? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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