Rummanah Aasi
 I took a little break from reading manga last year. With the exception of reading the Fruits Basket manga series in bits and spurts, I didn't pick up any other series. I just wasn't excited about starting a new series so I turned my focus to graphic novels instead. This summer, however, I did want to return to manga and decided to take a break from the shoujo genre and go a different route so I picked up the No. 6 manga series. No. 6 is actually an adaptation based on the novel series of the same title and there is also an anime too that is available on Hulu. The series is complete with only nine volumes. If you enjoy action, science fiction/dystopia, and a little hint of romance, I would highly suggest picking up this series.

Description: For Shion, an elite student in the technologically sophisticated city No. 6, life is carefully choreographed. School, study, and the occasional visit with his friend and classmate Safu. One fateful day, however, he takes a misstep, sheltering an injured boy his age from a typhoon. Known only as Rat, this boy is a VC – a fugitive living outside the computerized tapestry of city control – and helping him will throw Shion’s life into chaos and start him down a path to discovering the appalling secrets behind the superficial perfection of No. 6.

Review: No. 6 follows the popular tropes of a dystopian novel. A society was devasted by a catastrophic disaster leaving nothing but rubble behind. With the vow and intention of preventing that disaster from happening again, a core group of people developed six societies to create six utopians. Eventually, over a period of time five societies were destroyed leaving No. 6 still standing. The world building is pretty standard in the manga series, but I did like that we are given small clues that something was amiss in No. 6 such as parasitic bugs start to appear and people infected by these bugs start to age rapidly and die. I also liked how the manga series kept you guessing as to what was the government's intention and why they would stealthily sneak up on its citizens when anyone began questioning No. 6.
  The main reason why you should pick up this manga series is because of its rich, complex characters and their relationships with one another. Our main character Shion has been born and raised in No. 6. He has the privilege of being well educated and affluent. He at first comes across as a day dreamer who is always wondering what lies beyond No. 6. It is not until Shion meets his complete opposite Rat, a poor boy,  and a criminal on the run who knows the dark truths about No. 6. Shion and Rat are drawn to one another yet have very different viewpoints. Shion is often called stupid, naive, and soft by Rat because he always manages to see the good in people and view things positively. In contrast, Rat is very rough around the edges, mistrusting, and manipulative all due to his upbringing and surviving on the streets. While Rat constantly belittles Shion, he secretly admires Shion's compassion and empathy. The relationship between Shion and Rat changes and morphs throughout the manga series. While there are subtle hints of romance between the two characters, I think their relationship can't really be labeled.
  In addition to Shion and Rat, there are other strong secondary characters that also have a prominent role in the story such as Dogkeeper, Shion's best friend Safu and his mother Karan, and the ex-journalist Rikiga. Each of these characters is influenced by Shion and Rat. It was fun to see how each of these characters viewed Shion and Rat throughout the series especially when they were tasked with helping to bring down No. 6. Since the manga is an adaptation of novels, the series did not go into more details as I would have liked. I wanted to know more about Shion's mother especially because she knew the founding members of No. 6. as well as taken a closer look at the juxtaposition between nature and technology which is a strong theme in the manga series. Overall, I would recommend reading No. 6 as there is a lot to discover and discuss. As of the moment, the No. 6 novels are not translated in English but I do hope they will be in the future as I would definitely pick it up.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, crude humor, and strong violence (especially in the later volumes). Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Alive: The Final Evolution series by Tadashi Kawashima, Afterschool Charisma by Kumiko Suekane
4 Responses
  1. I am always looking for new manga to entice my manga fans. I will look into this. The biggest bonus is that they stopped on #9. I can't stand the endless series.

    I am tagging you right now with the Happiness Tag. Check out my page and decide if you want to play along. No pressure.

  2. It's nice to see you going back to something you love. Glad this was a good one for you.

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    Even though manga really isn't a genre I read I love that this has such great character detail and growth. Wonderful review.

  4. This doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but it reminds me that I haven't read manga in forever - maybe 3 year. Terrible.

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