Blame! (Manga) Review

Blame! (Manga) Review

Blame! manga volume 1 cover art
Blame!

Search for the Net Terminal Gene

Blame! (BLAME! / ブラム!) is a sci-fi action series with some drama and horror elements thrown in, as well. It follows Killy (or Kirii or Kyrii) as he traverses the Megastructure in search of the Net Terminal Gene.

The Megastructure is the entire world of the series. It’s a giant “city” that’s constantly expanding due to Builders (robots that build) working nonstop. I don’t know how big it is. But, I think it’s supposed to be roughly the size of the entire solar system. It’s big.

So, why is Killy traveling throughout something as big as the Megastructure? His goal is to locate a human with the Net Terminal Gene. This is a potentially extinct gene that allows humans to connect to the Netsphere. At one time, humans with this gene were common. However, they’ve been hunted to possible extinction by the time the series begins.

Killy pointing his Gravitational Beam Emitter from the manga series Blame!
Killy pointing his Gravitational Beam Emitter

Why does the Net Terminal Gene matter? Is connecting to the Netsphere that important? Yes. The Netsphere is the access point to the entire Megastructure. If you can connect to the Netsphere, you can control the Megastructure and all of its components.

This means you can control the Builders and stop them from continuing to expand the city. And, it means you can control the Safeguards, the Megastructure’s defense system. This second point is what’s most important. At some point, the Safeguards went out of control and started hunting down humans.

They began by killing humans with the Net Terminal Gene. But, as that gene became more and more rare, they began exterminating all humans. So, you could say that locating the Net Terminal Gene is the same as saving humanity from extinction. However, everyone in the series also recognizes this is an almost impossible task.

Life Within the Megastructure

There’s not very much that’s explicitly explained within Bame! Most of our information about the world comes from observation. And, a big part of that is that there’s simply not much dialogue. But, that’s something I like about the series. The world feels more real because we don’t know everything.

Let’s look at the different “life forms” within the Megastructure as an example. There are humans, transhumans, Silicon Life, Safeguards, Builders, and AI. And, from what I remember, there aren’t any other “animals.” So, there’s not exactly a food chain left in this world.

We all know what humans are. But, what about the transhumans? These are evolved humans. The remnants of humanity have been scattered around the Megastructure for millions of years. And, in that time, some pockets of humanity evolved further. For example, Cibo, one of the main characters, is extremely tall. She’s a human, but not a normal one.

Exterminator Safeguards from the manga series Blame!
Exterminator Safeguards

Silicon Life are the coolest life forms in the Megastructure. They’re silicon-based cyborgs and are one of the major factions in the city. Their goal is to eliminate humanity and become the dominant life forms. But, that doesn’t mean they’re on the same “team” as the next group.

The Safeguards also want to eliminate humanity (at least, most of them do). Though, “want” is a strong word. Most safeguards are mindless robots. They don’t have a real goal beyond humanity’s extinction, unlike Silicon Life. And, within the Safeguards are a subset called Special Safeguards. These are on humanity’s side.

Finally, we have beings connected to the Admin or Authority. These are things like the builders, AI, and the Special Safeguards. The Admin wants humanity to reclaim the Net Terminal Gene. But, only because it can’t stop the builders and Safeguards itself, despite being connected to them.

Did Killy Save Humanity?

The end of Blame! is left pretty open. Did Killy save humanity from extinction? Did he find the Net Terminal Gene and connect to the Netsphere? Well, the answer is both yes and no. And, it’s an implied yes and no. There’s nothing definitive.

Let’s start off with the big question. Did Killy save humanity? No. But, the implication is that he got one step closer to doing so. From what I remember, it’s implied that he acquired the Net Terminal Gene. But, I don’t believe that’s ever explicitly stated.

Okay, so toward the end of the series Cibo (a transhuman) downloads a Level 9 Safeguard into her mind. She then combines her DNA with that of Sanakan (a Special Safeguard) to produce a child. And, it’s assumed that this child contains the Net Terminal Gene. How does any of what I just wrote work? I don’t know.

Special Safeguard Dhomochevsky from the manga series Blame!
Special Safeguard Dhomochevsky

In the future, Cibo and Sanakan are both dead and Killy locates their pseudo-child. He then takes the child with him on a journey toward the edge of the Megastructure. And, that’s where the manga ends. So, again, Killy didn’t save humanity.

But, if we assume the child does have the Net Terminal Gene, Killy’s on the right track. And, I believe the reason they were going to the edge of the Megastructure is because it should be safer there. Killy needs to protect the child until they mature enough to use the Net Terminal Gene.

Look, a lot of weird stuff happened at the end of this series. And, it’s also not like I completely understood everything else before the ending. There was even time travel and alternate-dimension stuff at one point. But, even considering all that, I’m pretty sure I understand what happened in Blame!

Final Thoughts

Overall, I give Blame! a 7/10. It’s a good manga. I would have liked it more if I understood what was going on in the action panels more. But, maybe I wasn’t supposed to be able to comprehend some of these futuristic fights. Anyway, if you’re interested in this series, read the manga. Don’t watch the CGI anime.

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