Comics / Manga

Cage of Eden Volume 1

By Chris Zimmerman
September 24, 2011 - 19:49

Take a dab of Lost, a pinch of Lord of the Flies, and a dollop of fanservice and you’ll get Cage of Eden. Among Kodansha Comic’s new slate of releases and harbors many similarities to the aforementioned works. Yoshinobu Yamada blends the two to suit high school melodrama wrapped in a shonen package.

The series follows thus: when a group of teens find their plane trapped in a strange disturbance, they crash land on an uncharted island in the pacific. From there our would-be teen heroes find themselves thrust into a struggle for survival, having to outrun saber-toothed tigers, larger than life predators, and several other long though extinct creatures. Akira and Mariya aren’t exactly bred for surviving the elements, but if their classmate Yarai has his way, the island will be the least of their problems. Later on they discover more of their classmates but the trio remain unsure of whether they can be trusted.

The volume wastes little time in zipping through the introductory scenes, dumping all the need-to-know info on readers such as who the main characters are, defining their personalities, and why they were on the plane to begin with. After the setting shifts to the island, the book proceeds to exposit every minute detail explaining what is happening. This should be a case of show don’t tell, which Yamada reserves only for the girls, dumbing them down and stripping them whenever possible.

However despite this, Cage of Eden is a fun adventure that, like the works it takes its influence from, explore the deeper psychological drama involved and the breakdown of society’s rules. Of course instances focusing on the character’s psyche are quickly shuffled out in favor of action scenes. There’s a certain joy to be had from seeing stereotypical manga characters fleeing from giant monsters and while Yamada’s pencils are expressive and show his enthusiasm for the content, the excessive use of nudity and gore detracts from any potential growth the characters undergo.  

Cage of Eden isn’t a series for everyone. The first volume was clumsy, disjointed, and saved only by the action and novelty of the monsters. It relies on tried and true conventions found previously in Lost and Lord of the Flies, but pulls them off with only half the panache. The series is similar to a Hollywood blockbuster; it’s fun to sit through and can be consumed in a relatively short time, but erased from the mind within moments of completion.

Rating: 7 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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