Hiro Mashima just released the first chapter of his brand-new manga Eden’s Zero. Fans of his previous works (Rave Master and Fairy Tail) anxiously awaited the release of this new series. We were given bits and pieces of information on it such as how he wanted to focus on a science fiction theme and a release window. The window turned into a release date of June 26 and that’s all we really knew until the day the manga launched.
After reading the first chapter, I didn’t really know what to make of it. I slept on it, took some time to digest it and after collecting my thoughts, I can’t honestly say that I like it.
DISCLAIMER: Obviously, what I am about to discuss here are spoilers from the first chapter. Don’t read this unless you’ve read the first chapter unless you don’t care about spoilers. In which case, read on!
The manga opened up with some nice color pages which depicted some robotic being talking to a boy named Shiki. He tells him that he needs to go out and find friends. Right off the bat, before we leave the color pages, we’ve already established that Mashima is retaining the theme of Nakama power. At this point, I rolled my eyes because while, yes, it is typical Hiro Mashima, I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t just go for something completely brand-new.
After the opening scene, we are introduced to Rebecca and her talking cat which we later find out is named Happy. Here is where I rolled my eyes for a second time. Rebecca, design-wise, is a carbon copy of Lucy from Fairy Tail and I don’t think I need to explain a thing with Happy. That just speaks for itself. At this point, the disappointment is growing over the fact that Mashima still can’t come up with something “original.”
So, Rebecca, who seems to be some sort of futuristic vlogger, comes across an island called the Granbell Kingdom. It’s some amusement park that is completely run by robots. Apparently, Rebecca is their first guest in 100 years. While going on a monster-slaying quest-themed attraction, she runs into Shiki who is all grown up. He’s taking care of the robots the island who mention that he was left there by the Demon King 10 years ago.
Rebecca is discovered by the robot king of Granbell Kingdom and suddenly, he announces that they plan to steal her ship and conquer the world. Suddenly, all of the robots become infected with a virus and become self-aware, giving me flashbacks to the maverick virus from Mega Man X. Shiki is in disbelief that his robotic friends would all turn on him so suddenly. He then uses items called Aether gear; pieces of equipment which draw out the Aether in your body and transforms it into power, and starts demolishing them one by one.
Rebecca talks Shiki into leaving with her so that he can see the world and start to make some real friends. That’s when we discover that Rebecca’s ship isn’t a boat… it’s a spaceship that traverses the cosmos. Cosmos with mechanical space dragons and themed worlds.
Well… he did say that it was going to be sci-fi…
In the end, the robots revealed it was all a ploy to get Shiki to leave the planet because they were all going to, essentially, die any moment and they didn’t want Shiki to be all alone so they put on that whole virus act and sent him rocketing into space.
The Demon King (who looked a LOT like Ainz from Overlord, by the way) said that Shiki would be the one who would change the cosmos so sending him off into space is fulfilling a prophecy of sorts. I get that and all but I just wasn’t expecting this when Mashima said sci-fi.
It’s like he literally took Rave Master and Fairy Tail and just put that into a space setting with ridiculously themed worlds and space dragon robots. I guess kudos to him for staying within his comfort zone but the entire first chapter was severely disappointing because I hoped that he would have taken a risk and made something completely different.
Hiromu Arakawa took that risk when she transitioned from Fullmetal Alchemist to Silver Spoon. Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba took that risk twice from transitioning from Death Note to Bakuman to Platinum End. Having three series in a row with the same character types just makes Mashima feel so one-dimensional. Perhaps I could be a bit more excited for this if Fairy Tail hadn’t gotten really lazy towards the end. Now here we are with the same premise, same themes, and the same archetypes just within a different setting.
I don’t want to read the same manga for the third time in a row and I feel like that’s what I’m doing here with Eden’s Zero. I am more than willing to give this a few more chapters to see how this pans out but I just have that nagging feeling that I’m just setting myself up for disappointment here. I can almost envision how this manga is going to go but there’s this shred of hope that I’m clinging onto that’s saying “well, maybe the first chapter was just to get fans of his works into a comfortable and familiar setting to help ease the transition and the rest of the manga will be fresh and new.”
I hope that it turns out that way.
I really do.
I guess the only thing we can do right now is to wait and see.