Book Review: Cage of Eden Volume 9

February 20, 2013


Well, this is a surprise. The day that I reviewed Bloody Monday's antepenultimate volume of season 1, I received the final book from my four-book Barnes & Noble order, which means that the other two titles have dropped down a spot in the lineup. Today, I will be reviewing that book, which is called Cage of Eden Volume 9 by Yoshinobu Yamada.

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

After two people from Akira's group were found dead, Mariya discusses his suspicions of their deaths to be murders with Akira, who think everyone has to know.

However, Mariya, taking into account the fact that the premonitions are stressing out the members of their group, has other plans that involve members of Mami's group.

Later, the boys and girls of Akira's group each have their own little popularity contest. While things turn from amusing to awkward, as people start wondering who voted whom, the peace that they thought they had is disturbed when a highly intelligent creature kidnaps Ohmori.

Mariya is against rescuing her, but Akira and Zaji overrule him. Now, the party formed to do the rescue must deal with the creature, while also having to deal within another unknown threat.

I enjoyed the volume. I liked really liked how it showed that Mami's manager was skeptical about Mami's abilities. This seems like how much of our society is these days. More and more, we tend to believe whatever scientists tell us, such as the claim that we evolved from animals and that some omnipotent being did not create us. Like the fact that people dimiss the possibility of creation, due to the fact that they forget the Law of Conservation of Matter does not really discredit, when one thinks about it, I think that is a mistake to not take into account the possibility that premonitions, like the ones Mami gets, may happen. After all, if I were stranded on an island like they are, I would want to be well prepared for any possible outcome. On the other hand, the manager's skepticism caused her own demise. This is pretty much going to be the guaranteed outcome if one choices not to take the warnings from premonitions. Of course, I would not be freaking out about them like Akira's group either. If a person is right once or twice, it would certainly be obvious that there are going to be people that believe whatever he or she says. However, there are people that will take advantage of those that do not doubt enough to notice what is happening to them. Also, worrying about the fact that whatever one tells them makes it less likely to think things through, which is very important in survival situations. I also liked how Akira stood up for Mami, once his group decided to doubt her clairvoyance, when finding out that two of their comrades were murdered. Yet again, this seems very much like our society. Once somebody is shown to be wrong, we tend to not believe him or her anymore. Honestly, people forget that we, as humans, cannot be right all the time. If we were, we would no longer be human. Akira, on the other hand, was not one of those that, instead reminding everyone that it was uncertain whether or not she was telling the truth. I am not too sure that I would be able to do the same. After all, I do not really like talking in front of a large group. Funny that I say that now, when I am running a blog, but that is how I am. At best, I probably would have taken the person away, though that would not improve the group's view of the person. There were also some very funny parts in the book. For example, after the boys held a popularity contest, Rei chewed out Toru for allowing the boys to vote for the girl they liked, saying that she would not have allowed it, then she has the girls do the same thing moments later, only they are voting for guys. I guess that she is not that much more responsible than she accused Toru being. Then again, there are people like that in our society, otherwise the term hypocrite would not exist. Of course, that was not as funny as the interactions between Zaji and Ohmori, which took place after both the boys and girls cast their votes. Zaji tries confessing his feeling to Ohmori, and she ends up thinking that he was talking about Yuki. That had me laughing a lot. I thought females were not this dense. What made this so much funnier was that Ohmori told Rion, in private, that that was the first time somebody has ever confessed to her. On the other hand, I am not too sure that a relationship between an adult woman and a teenage is that great, especially since the woman is usually taking advantage of the boy, in order to get him to commit a crime for her, if it is not against him. Speaking of Zaji, he had some great moments himself. When they find out whom they are up against, Mariya says that they should leave Ohmori behind. Now, sacrifices are indeed necessary, when it comes to trying to survive, but just like a game checkers, there needs to be somebody who can replace the sacrifice. In this case, as a flight attendant, at least in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Ohmori would need to know first aid, in order to be able to administer it when needed. As far as I can remember, since the series has already ended in Japan, they do not meet anyone that can really replace her until they meet up with Eiken and find out about the groups other than those led by Akira and Yarai. Yes, there are many other groups, but at this point, since Eiken never made an appearance in either the previous volume or this one, there are only two groups, since everyone that we met so far has merged with either Yarai's or Akira's group, and Mami's was dissolved by the time Ohmori was kidnapped. Knowing this, I was glad that Zaji took the initiative to rescue, no matter how dense she can be. I, like almost everyone else, would probably have listened to Mariya and left her to die. It kind of reminds me of how nobody, except Akira, really wanted Arita to help get Ohmori out of the cave in volume 5. However, unlike Arita, Ohmori did not try to cause harm to anybody. There was also some decent action, which was nice, but the thing that I liked the best was Akira's words to Mami, before Ohmori got kidnapped and the popularity contests were held. At that time, Mami had given up all hope and resigned herself to death, but as Akira's group was fighting to protect her, he told her that neither he nor his comrades would accept a fate of dying quietly on the island and will never give in to such a fate. Life has its ups and downs, but there are certainly people that do not see the light that they would find by overcoming their hardships. Thomas Edison did not just up and decide to quit working on the light bulb, did he? If he had, we probably would not have light bulbs that are as good as they are now. Like Steve Jobs' contribution to the computer world though, I do not doubt that somebody else would have eventually done so. However, the fact that he did not meant that we got it sooner, rather than much later. After hearing Akira say that and seeing everyone fighting, Mami eventually decides to live. The fact that the interaction between Zaji and Ohmori was hilarious and the fact that Akira stood up for Mami, as well as the fact that Zaji decided to go save Ohmori, while the others did not want to, due to Mariya's reasoning, made this very enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there are certainly some issues. On the bright side, I cannot really find any that I can blame Kodansha for, such as typos and quality of the TOC, though the honorific definition list, and next volume preview are still being omitted. On the other hand, only one thing seems to come to mind. It really seems like Rion is an idiot. After both the boys and girls voted for a girl and boy respectively, Rion, looking for Yuki, finds a boy named Hikime, who practices the art of Kendo, and they talk about the voting that happened earlier. However, things become strange when the boy asks what Rion what she would do if something happened to Akira the next day. This is certainly a strange question, but the guy was holding a stick in a stance that I would associate with sword techniques and he gave off some weird facial expressions. Rion, however, was not even a bit suspicious. Maybe, I could understand, if I were in that situation, but considering how I have read quiet a few works in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, and even started following Detective Conan (Case Closed) again last year, the guy just reeks of evil intentions. I would honestly not be surprised if he does indeed do something next volume. The thing that the annoys me the most about it though is that Rion is Akira's childhood friend and since they have been together through much of their journey on the island, I would at least expect Rion to notice things like Akira and Mariya do. Instead, she just appears to remain oblivious to anything to that does not concern relationships. While Kodansha cannot really be blamed for much this time around, the fact that Rion seems to not have improved her observation skills, even a little, does take away a bit from the enjoyment.

Despite the fact that I did not really like Rion much in this book, the good outweighs the bad enough to make this worth reading. I recommend this to fans of survival stories. As for everyone else, I think this is worth giving a try, though this series is not necessarily friendly for newcomers to manga.

What are your thoughts on Cage of Eden Volume 9? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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