I’ve been on a Tsutomu Nihei kick lately, which began when I finally got my hands on the first volume of his Blame! series. Then there was a recent Humble Bundle that let you get nearly $200 worth of Nihei’s manga (in digital form) for less than $20, including the first two volumes of Blame!, a Blame! prequel titled NOiSE, all 15 volumes of Knights of Sidonia — and most interestingly, a prologue for his next manga series, Aposimz, which will be published in Kodansha’s Young Magazine (which also published Nihei’s Biomega series).
In Aposimz’s prologue, a young man named Suou Nichiko discovers a small sentient robotic creature named Titania while he’s foraging in a post-apocalyptic wilderness. After nursing Titania back to health, Suounichiki helps it travel to a nearby city to warn its inhabitants, who have unearthed an ancient device that they’re using for power. Suffice to say, things go wrong in the final pages, and in a rather horrific and gruesome manner.
Aposimz contains plenty of Nihei trademarks: a post-apoclyptic setting (albeit, one trapped in deep winter), body horror (Nichiko’s afflicted with a disease that’s slowly turning him into a machine), and flashes of intense violence (which Nihei renders with his usual flair).
However, I was struck by the artwork and designs, which reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, one of the greatest manga series of all time. Also, Aposimz’s artwork is lighter and less claustrophobic than, say, Blame! or Biomega. (However, since this a prologue, it might not be indicative of the actual series’ final look.)
The prologue is pretty short, so mysteries abound: Who or what is Titania and what’s its plan? What is the cause of Nichiko’s strange disease? What’s the underground world that Nichiko mentions? Is it related to the device discovered by the city’s inhabitants? And then there’s the series’ name, itself.
Knights of Sidonia fans will recognize “Aposimz” as the name of another seed ship that, like the Sidonia, was built to escape the threat of the Gauna lifeform. It is possible that Aposimz is set in the Knights of Sidonia universe. But this wouldn’t be the first time that Nihei has used the same name in different series. (“Toha Heavy Industries” is a company that’s referenced in Blame!, Biomega, and Knights of Sidonia despite them being completely unrelated to each other.)
There’s no word on when Young Magazine will start officially publishing Aposimz. However, the prologue contains everything folks like about Nihei’s manga stylings but with a few tweaks that give it some unique flavor, too. Which bodes well for the series as a whole.