Story & Art by Tsutomu Nihei
Translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian
Production by Grace Lu & Darren Smith
APOSIMZ continues with Volume 5, which may be its strangest installment yet. Following the destruction of the Northern Composite Slab Region, Etherow has been left in a desolate state. With the Rebedoan Empire still on the offensive, Keisha and Titiana go into hiding and try to slowly heal the fallen protagonist.
Etherow’s absence in this volume dramatically changes the narrative dynamic. The story had revolved around his actions and exploits, and in his absence, that role is given to Keisha instead. It’s evident that Keisha and Titania have different priorities when it comes to Etherow’s recovery. While Keisha wants to continue to fight the Rebedoans and collect placenta to heal Etherow, Titania would rather stay in long-term hiding and have Etherow naturally heal. This argument represents a clear difference in Titania’s morals. Titania values the longevity of the APOSIMZ continent rather than its inhabitants. Etherow is viewed as a line of defense to prevent the Rebedoan Empire’s full conquest, and the lives lost in keeping him hidden are inconsequential to her. It’s evident that Titania is allied with Etherow and Keisha out of mutual interest instead of empathy, and it seems like Keisha is starting to notice that as well.
Kajiwan’s transformation into a regular frame was one of the highlights of the previous volume and he’s not keeping his new powers silent. The former king has created a new organization known as the True Core Church, using his copy of Titania to turn frame disease sufferers into beings known as the “Regenerated” to do his bidding. In his rise to power, Kajiwan’s view towards humanity has been frighteningly warped. Kajiwan aims to gather enough placenta to enter the Core World through brute force. He now believes that normal humans have no value and orders his subjects to kill all humans they encounter. He’s even willing to kill his own soldiers if they defy his demands. Kajiwan is narrowly focused on his goal, to the point that nothing else matters. By forming his new army, Kajiwan has created a third faction in APOSIMZ’s conflict, which will surely change the battles moving forward.
We’ve come to expect a baseline of visual quality from Tsutomu Nihei, and he delivers upon them once again. APOSIMZ continues to look vast yet empty, creating the post-apocalyptic tone that the series strives for. This also allows combat to have further weight, as it easily stands out on the page. Nihei has a great attention to detail during action sequences, and the subtle movements of the characters feel meticulous to the end results. This is especially true during the battle between the Rebedoans and Regenerated in this volume, as the panels convey a constant sense of motion until the Regenarated’s victory. Nihei is a true veteran of his craft, and it is always a pleasure to see his work unfold.
APOSIMZ continues to be a compelling read, shaking up its story with new developments as the conflict intensifies. Nihei once again delivers a solid series that entertains at every opportunity. As the factions continue to fight over dominance of the continent, I look forward to seeing who comes out victorious.