July 20, 2019 Subject:
Stuck Under An Avalanche? Spit!
As if you're stuck under an avalanche, figuring out which way is up or down in BLAME! is difficult. However, it is intentional and well made. Not until the second half of the manga do we get to know Killy, our protagonist, is actually trying to go up the floors. This uncertainty of direction not only sets the tone for the unknown that's waiting for us, but also trains us to be more observative and fill in the gaps for ourselves. It teaches you that you have to spit, to learn which way is down.
The design of this mysterious setting resembles the space station from Alien but bigger, more ambitious. It's manages to be dreadfully clostraphobic while also presenting us gigantic 'landscapes'. It looks Sci-Fi, and it wants to, for certain but from time to time you can spot details that add into this big mystery box of a world and suggest it's more than just regular Sci-Fi.
. As if it's a war movie from the 90s, BLAME! wants you to understand who is who by recognizing small details on their clothing/armor. Almost all of the characters have the same kind of spiky, kind of unsettling looking hair which contributes greatly to the aforementioned 'dreadful' atmosphere. The design for Cyborgs is basically terrifying. Long cranky limbs and sharp eyes that makes them looks so far from human, but also not that much. The way a person loses their limbs as a result of a swing -a 'grab attack' if you will- from these monsters is bloodcurdling.
Big panels and numerous pages that go without dialouge makes the world seem alone and this helps setting the tone significantly. Everytime you see a friendly face -or just any face that isn't filled with big metalic cracks- you exhale las if you were holding your breath for the last 2 minutes.
BLAME! is one of the best Graphic Novels I've read. It's succes comes from being so good at setting it's tone and keeping the sense of mystery going throoughout it's entirity while giving you enough action and alarming panel design to keep you on your toes.