7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano

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Apparently meant to evoke 1950 science fiction…

In my current horror manga reading jag, I picked up 7 Billion Needles, volumes 1 and 2 (Wikipedia tells me there are four volumes total.)

SPOILERS

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I’m not sure I understand Japanese horror.

I looked up 7 Billion Needles and it’s definitely classified as horror manga.  I’m not a huge fan of horror, but my wife is.  Consequentially, I’ve seen a LOT of horror movies.  She’ll watch all sorts of horror–psychological, comedic, splatter, foreign… you name it, and I’ve probably sat through it wondering if my love is really worth the screaming I’m going to be doing when I wake up in a cold sweat with that creepy-a$$ girl from The Ring crawling around in my imagination at 2 am.

7 Billion Needles is my second ‘true’ horror manga experience.  Manhole being the first.  I’ve read a lot of stuff I would consider psychological horror, including things like Deadman’s Wonderland and DeathNote.

What I find strange about the first two volumes of 7 Billion Needles is that they have happy resolutions. Like, no one important dies–NO ONE –not the possessed heroine, not the girlfriends friends, not the two alien antagonists, and not the childhood friend from the second volume.  People who were dead stay dead (other than hallucinations) and no one we learn the name of dies.  Random people get devoured. Blood splatters.  But, I don’t know, I guess I’m sort of used to the horror trope were pretty much everyone but the main character dies some horrible death and it feels weird when that doesn’t happen.

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scariest thing for Hikaru is having to talk to other people… this is maybe an introvert’s horror story?

The basic idea of 7 Billion Needles is that there are two opposing antagonists–Horizon and Maelstrom–who are locked in a kind of eternal battle.  Maelstrom is the great devourer and Horizon is the great vanquisher of evil.  Chaos v. Order, I suppose.  Horizon ends up inside the bloodstream of Hikaru, a disaffected teenage girl who has moved from ‘the island’ to the big city after her father’s death.  Maelstrom ends up chasing after his immortal enemy and ends up in various other bodies.

And, I dunno, is it scary?

I wasn’t terribly scared.  Maelstrom kind of looks like a SLIGHTLY creepy Western, winged dragon in his true form… and is maybe more scary when he’s been devouring people and kind of becomes that typically Japanese (thinking about the movie Akira here, in particular) pulsing mass of blobby humanity with various bits of devoured people sticking out of him.

Maybe now that both of them are trapped inside Hikaru things will get scarier?

Not sure.

I’m not even sure I care enough to hunt up the digital versions of the remaining volumes.

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