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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Variante Vol. 1 by Sugimoto Iqura 
10th-Feb-2009 11:07 pm
Sugimoto, Iqura. Variante. Vol. 1. Trans. Sheldon Drzka. La Jolla, CA: CMX, 2007.
          Summary: Aiko survives the encounter with a Chimera that brutally murders both of her parents, but she may well wish she hadn't; her arm has become a infected with Chimera DNA! Now she is faced with a terrible choice: Become a secret government experient or become a secret government exterminator.
          Comments: Uhh...Parasyte? Witchblade? Anybody? Nobody? There is something viscerally compelling about a character whose arm isn't quite his or her own, when that which we use to manipulate the material world is no longer under our own material control. And Sugimoto's contribution to this particular story trope is by no means a bad one. Combined with bold, attractive artwork, the dash of mystery and pinch of pathos keep what is otherwise another ultra-violent seinen horror series from being unbearably derivative...or feeling unnecessarily exploitative. It's not a bad read, and it goes by fast, though I wouldn't necessarily pay list price for the privilege. My main hope is that this will not become another Monster of the Day episodic title. It has the potential to be much more than that. Unfortunately, I'm not yet confident, after only a single volume, that it will manage to achieve any of it.
          Rating: 5.5/10 - Reasonably solid, and should get positive marks from seinen horror fans. Those who don't like gratuitious gore and other medical monstrosities are advised to skip this one.
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