Deus Vitae (Volume 1) Manga | My Reviews 27 NOV 2008

Deus Vitae Volume 1In the year 2068, the Brain Computer – built by humans to be the core of a machine-driven Earth – created selenoids, androids with abilities far superior to man. They have, in turn, created a virtually perfect society, with only one flaw in need of elimination: humans! This is the story of Ash Ramy, one of the few surviving humans in the Revolution Organisation, bent on freeing Earth from solenoid rule, and Lemiu Winslet, a solenoid horrified by the inhumanity her race possesses. In a world of artificiality, is real love mankind’s last hope?

Deus Vitae covers the ongoing war between the ruling selenoids (android with almost super-human abilities far superior to those of man) and Re-O or the Revolution Organisation, a gathering intent on freeing the last human slaves from their bondage to the selenoids. Ash Ramy is a human soldier blessed with an extraordinary power and after a mission to assassinate one of the leading solenoid government puppets goes awry, Ash finds himself captive of the Mother Leave and her daughter selenoids.

However, Ash has more than a few tricks up his sleeves and as the selenoids are about to find out, you simply can never count the human race out! At the same time, Lemiu Winslet is one of Leave’s daughter selenoids who becomes increasingly disillusioned with the solenoid way and becomes more and more enamoured to Ash. But this fascination with this human boy that seems intent on destroying everything she has ever known may prove a very difficult liaison to pursue after all!

Deus Vitae comes from the pen of Takuya Fujima who handles both the artistic and writing chores on the title. This is probably the manga for which he is the most famous for in his fairly short, recent career, though he is also the artist on the popular Negima!? Neo title by famed mangaka Ken Akamatsu.

The story front for Deus Vitae reads like any major Science Fiction work out there, with essentially the whole Earth enslaved by the machine and humans waging an embittered resistance against their rule. Things are complicated a little more by the strange and not very well explained ‘powers’ that certain selenoids and humans seem privy to and then we get a bit of machine/human love affair tossed in for good measure.

The first volume doesn’t go very far in developing any of the characters it must be said and apart from interlacing a lot of its visuals and dialogue with pseudo religious rhetoric, the story for Deus Vitae so far comes across as rather simple and fairly uninteresting. It doesn’t seem to have an awful amount of substance to it and so one can only hope that volume 2 delivers just that little bit more meat to make the story more of a success.

That said, artistically this book is nothing short of a masterpiece. Takuya Fujima has a masterful grasp on the human figure and as such each and every one of his female and male renditions instantly catch your eye and force it to linger on the page for far longer than what you normally would for any other artist. His backgrounds are sublime, his character designs nothing short of brilliant, his use of screentone phenomenal, and his panel layout and artistic vision are all simply top shelf stuff. Beautiful, detailed and thoroughly bewitching, it’s most definitely the visuals that brings this book out of the mediocre and shoves it into the ‘must read’ pile. (Be careful though if you are easily offended. Takuya seems to delight in drawing the nude female form, and as such almost every single female character WILL appear naked, and even when clothed, their nipples have a rather nasty habit of standing to attention – either that or it is just too damn cold on this version of Earth!)

In summary, it’s rather a pity that the quality of writing doesn’t quite match up to the stunning visuals presented in Deus Vitae. The story is such that it will take you quite a while to force your way through it and when you finally reach the end, you’ll realise just how vapid everything seems to be. But of course, with visuals like this, maybe the story doesn’t mean all that much anyway?

In any event, the outstanding artwork forces this release above the mediocre category, thus making it a worthy addition to your collection, even if you just keep it for all the naked boobies… I meant art.

Really, I did…

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.