Monday, January 12, 2015

Manga Review: Meteor Methuselah (Immortal Rain)

Ah, you hear that? That's the sound of my "feels" acting up. I've always had this problem. I become really attached to the characters in a television show/books series/anime series/manga series and then when I finish said series or show, there's this gut wrenching hole left behind. I'll be honest, most manga series don't actually cause this type of withdrawal. As far as I know, less than 10 manga series I have read have left me at a loss when I complete the final volume. (And by loss I don't necessarily mean I disliked the ending, but rather that I felt sad that I wouldn't be meeting the characters again in new adventures). Meteor Methuselah, or known as Immortal Rain in the U.S., joins the ranks of manga such as Fruits Basket and MeruPuri as one of the few manga that has caused me to grow overly attached to its characters. 

Now for a quick summary from (because I'm lazy):

Rain Jewlitt, known as the Methuselah, is a spaced-out, immortal, 624-year-old man dressed in priest's clothes. He's got eternal youth and a large price on his head ... put there by those questing after the secret of his immortality. 
Machika Balfaltin is a tomboyish, energetic 14-year-old girl who, upon the death of her grandfather, sets out to kill Methuselah, the one bounty her assassin grandfather, Zol the Grim Reaper, couldn't kill. Instead, however, Machika ends up being saved by Rain again and again from other aspiring bounty hunters attacking them both. 
Sound like the beginnings of an odd relationship? You won't believe where their journey takes them ...

That is the general premise of the Immortal Rain manga, but my goodness, there is so much more than that here! I mean, the third volume alone got about 50 buckets of tears out of me. I actually had to wait a few weeks before I could pick up the next volume because it had that much of an emotional impact on me. The third volume is where we learn of Rain's origins and how he became immortal. Seeing as Rain is a very, VERY aloof guy but still a complete sweetheart (like he's the type of person who is so kind that everyone takes advantage of him), reading about his tragic past is heartbreaking. The fact that he can still be so trusting and so willing to help others really drives home the point that one of the main reasons Rain was made immortal was because of his kindness and the belief that he would not grow angry/insane with his immortality and would instead, wait for the day in which he could finally meet the person who made him immortal once again. 

My favorite thing about this manga was the wide array of characters. Rain definitely made the series, I mean, look at this guy, don't you just want to give him a great big hug (and cry for him too because of that tragic past...)? His character deserves a prize, I mean completely serious. While his past and then everything he goes through during the series caused me heartache, he is also HILARIOUS. He provides the majority of the comic relief in this series which I really appreciate or else it would have been too dark and heavy. 

The other character I quite liked was Yuca Collabel. Read on if you want spoilers, but if you don't, ignore this part and just know that a character named Yuca Collabel will eventually show up and that I think his design and background is pretty awesome too :) But anyways, for those that don't mind the
spoilers, Yuca is Rain's childhood friend and someone that Rain completely trusts. I mean, he taught the boy how to read! However, Yuca is also the one who betrays Rain and turns him into the immortal Methuselah. Why? Well, Yuca says that he is a damned spirit. Yuca has apparently died and been reborn many times, but in each new life, he can remember everything that happened in all his previous ones. He has decided that in his next life, he will destroy the world. He makes Rain immortal and tells him that after waiting for him to be reborn, if he still believes in humankind, he can stop him but if he has given up, then they can destroy the world together. Of course, it takes Yuca over 600 years to be reborn so that really gave him one up on Rain. I mean, who wouldn't give up on humanity after 600 years (except for Rain of course xD)

The final main character of this series is Machika (she's on the top picture). Now, at the beginning I was ok with Machika. I didn't really love her or hate her, she was just kinda there. But somewhere along the line, I grew to really like Machika. She is a very strong female character and I love the similarities she shares with Rain. Another character I liked was Eury, he was pretty darn awesome and Sharem is boss! She is a kickass female character and while I hated her at first (antagonist and all), after learning what she has gone through, I was very sympathetic toward her character.

All in all, I thought the manga was beautifully drawn and I really liked the storyline. The way Ozaki  Kaori drew flashbacks and how she symbolized Yuca living on an island always waiting for Rain to arrive was beautiful. When Yuca tries to leave with Rain, his body starts to break apart and he says that he can't leave, having always been bound to the place. I loved the flow of the panels and I really liked that she did not add unnecessary dialog during fight scenes. If there was a fight scene, it was plain fighting with an occasional verbal jab here and there. It had a satisfying ending that really wrapped everything up nicely and it wasn't terribly long (11 volumes people!). The only thing I will ever complain about is that only 8 volumes were released in the U.S. I wish I could get my hands on the physical copies of the final 3 volumes in English because I would really love to own the entire series!

One more thing: Ozaki drew a one volume short story that delves into the relationship between Rain and Machika's grandfather Zol. I will be reviewing this one separately because although it was one volume I have a lot to say about it and this post is long enough with only talking about Meteor Methuselah/Immortal Rain :)

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