Alive-The Final Evolution Manga Review (Part 1)

The 'Suicide Virus' has struck earth. From its victims a
select few find themselves evolving into 'power users.' Taisuke is a normal student who finds himself horrified when his friend Hirose emerges as a power user. Hirose's decision to follow, Katsumata, a man intent on destroying the average human 'trash,' activates Taisuke's own powers. To save the life of his friends Taisuke must make make the hardest decision of his life or die trying.

My Thoughts

The manga does have plotholes regarding the suicide virus* issue. The first suicide Taisuke sees is a girl who splats at his feet when she jumps to her death. It's an isolated incident and it seems like despite being an 'epidemic' it is really just random. No one ever gets into why these people were the ones who committed suicide. The power users are explained, the suicide virus is kinda explained, but mostly there is a general feeling of just glossing over the questions to move on with the plot. 

*I got a few chapters in before the movie name popped into my head. I knew the suicide virus sounded familiar; it was in the M. Night Shamalayan film The Happening. Before I could continue to review I needed to know was this manga before movie or vice versa? There was a definite (inner) cheer at knowing the manga came out five years before The Happening. Note: The Happening is a crappy movie. Stick to excellent manga!

Alive-The Final Evolution's greatest strength comes
Taisuke's potential 'comrade,' Nami, steals the
scene with a method of attack first. Ask
the questions later.
when the characters are the focus. The character growth is exponential through the series. For starters there is Taisuke Kanou who starts out extremely flat. He continually is overshadowed by comrades or enemies who occasionally made me want to see more of them than of our protagonist. The same goes for Hirose. Though he has a starring role in the plot it's his 'comrades' who provide the action. Even his kidnapped friend, Megumi, has more personality in one chapter than this guy did for twenty.

Taisuke is stunned at the murder aroud Hirose
I found myself enjoying Taisuke as a character because his growth felt more realistic then bam! superhero powers/new personality with no explanation. Every experience, every battle, shapes not only him but his powers.  The author never loses sight of the evolution of the friendship Taisuke has for Hirose. This isn't a battle between alien races or struggle over a shiny trinket it winds up being one for something much deeper. 

From the way I'm reviewing you might think I hated
Hirose versus Taisuke. Two power-users. One
epic storyline.
this manga. I don't. In fact I really do like where it is going. I wish it had moved a bit faster at the big 'climax' but overall, it became fascinating to read. Taisuke finally becomes a bit badass. Hirose is on a whole other level of wtf..that's awesome! And I laughed when the main villain realizes he underestimated/made a HUGE miscalculation. Definitely surprising and a fabulous way to ensure Alive-The Final Evolution moved away from the stereotypical sci-fi. 

To The Reader
Alive-The Final Evolution is a sci-fi manga filled with drama and a great deal of action. The fighting scenes
Burning punch directly to the face. Not a kick but Iĺl take it!
are complex in that every 'user' has a completely unique power which fits with their persona. No standard sword fights. Although expect hand to hand combat movements which fulfill that occasional need we have to see the villain take a well-placed kick to the head.

Those looking for comedy will find definite
Not for the faint of heart
amusements in such well-written characters. There is even a moment of fan service. Alive-The Final Evolution does require these since much of the manga does contain blood, violence, and happenings which may be disturbing to some readers. If you have an issue with incidents of suicide it can be a hard manga to handle. Those are my warnings so take heed.

Important notice!
I have divided this review into two parts because I felt like the manga is almost like season one then season two. They could have ended the storyline around chapter 38ish. Heck even a bit of epilogue exists! Of course there is the tantalizing final page which opens up the mystery of why the story continues. Still I feel like they are two seperate parts therefore I have read Part One (now reviewed) and am now working on Part Two (soon to be reviewed).

Name(s): アライブ; アライブ 最終進化的少年; 最终进化的少年; Alive - Last Evolutionary Boy; Alive - Saishū Shinka teki Shōnen; ALIVE - Saishuu Shinkateki Shounen; Alive - The Final Evolution; ARAIBU Sai shuu Shinkateki Shonen; Alive - Den sidste Evolution (Danish)
Author(s): Kawashima Tadashi
Artist(): Adachitoka
Release: 2003 (Japan) 2007 (U.S.)
Chapters: 81;
Genre(s): sci fi; tragedy; action; adventure; friendship; horror; supernatural
Status: Complete
Anime: No (Gonzo picked it up but never made one)