Copyright Shounen Champion 2000 to 2002
U.S. Colonel: What’s his name? Don’t know, never was mentioned, but he was far more memorable than some characters that even had names! One, if not the only, reasonable authority figures in the entire series and while doing rather questionable things, he wasn’t at all painstakingly a clear cut villain/asshole like most side characters are designated to. He sadly died, but managed to stop an outbreak in a great sacrificial move by crashing a helicopter into a power station.
US Soldier: OH MY GOOOOOD!!
+ Yuu Banda: A fat and ugly bully character who is a big momma’s boy.
+ Shingo Toujou: The quiet, serious but intelligent class representative.
… … …
If you guessed correctly how it goes wrong, then you obviously read this series already and are disqualified from my fake Internet money. For those of you who guessed incorrectly, here’s how it happened. The USBM ends up evolving into a form of intelligent life than the lump of meat it was, which results in it wanting more food than it was given. During the premiere in the basement where it is keep, it somehow sends these minuscule tentacles through the air filtration system of its container. They reach out of the vents, into the vents of the building and somehow end up reaching into the room where the presentation is happening. Ignoring how that exactly works, these tentacles break off from the main body and start falling off into the room, some of them end up landing in the drinks being served. Then, when they’re in the water, they grow into their own separate USBM, with its own craving for food. From there, they started attacking people.
Evolution is odd.
Now with this new outbreak, hell is breaking lose all over. Our heroes go into hiding as Dr. Dreks using the army force he brought with him to wipe out the USBMs and any potential witnesses. I like to point out that with this case that there are tons and tons of celebrities and politicians who attended this event. Killing the ones who survived the monsters and blaming it on a fire (the troops have flamethrowers) won’t work that easily. People will naturally be suspicious that everyone but the people involved in with Bio-Meat survived this so called fire. However, let’s just ignore that as well.
The chaos going up stairs isn’t the only place where all the action is happening. Back in the basement, we get to see what happens when one of these mini-tentacles gets into your stomach. The results are quite similar to what happens to people with Uroboros from Resident Evil 5 in them, though you need to drink some water for the results to take effect. Anyhow, the original USBM gets loose during all of that chaos in the basement and starts heading up stairs.
Though a lot of crazy situations and some huge idiotic reasoning, the regular old Bio-Meats get loose as well. It’s complicated to explain and this isn’t an in depth summary of the story. So when everyone meets up with each other, heroes and villains in all, they formulate a plan so they can use both creatures to kill each other off. When the creatures are busy attacking each other, everyone can escape to a helicopter up in the roof. They lure the original B-Ms to the giant USBM using sound equipment, which Bio-Meats are attracted to, and escape to the roof.
Things happen along the way, people die, people do stupid things and then die, and people help other people (who end later dying) and then they die. Lots of death that is all either for stupid or heroic reasons. Frankly, the only thing note worthy that didn’t involve death in any form was that we are introduced to Lune, a young girl survivor that characters discover. Doesn’t do much in the series, but hey, it’s worth mentioning since it doesn’t involve death. However, her character does leads to someone dying to save her so make of that what you will.
Anyhow, the characters get da the choppa and escape the building, after freezing the monsters to death with liquid nitrogen (long story short, Toujou Sr. called in his own team to deal with the Bio-Meats with liquid nitrogen and then they died). All characters ride off into the sunset, but before we can declare the characters a-okay, it turns out one of the mini-tentacle things was hiding inside of Dr. Dreks the whole time! I don’t get how he didn’t noticed until the creature was bursting out of him is beyond me because the series had already shown previous people feeling the effects of the USBM inside of them between 5 and 10 minutes of infection. Afterwards, the creature would burst out of the person all on its own. What makes Dreks so special? Stupid plot twist.
The last remaining army survivor, an American General, crashes the helicopter into a power station while the rest of the cast jumps into a nearby reservoir. With that done, the second arc closes. Our survivor total not including the main four characters is three. A step up from the last arc to be sure, but could of have been better if the side characters were actually smarter or stopped trying to save people that weren’t worth saving.
The third arc jumps ahead 7 years into the future. Things have not improved for our heroes. Hell, things have not only gotten worst for them, but for all of Japan! Since the time skip, a third outbreak occurred and the Bio-Meats now pretty much have overrun the entire country. In the building from the second arc, there were a couple of containers of live Bio-Meats keep in jars. Someone broke one of the many jars and ended up causing all of those things to escape during the second storyline. When Shingo went back to the building later on to reclaim the remaining ones, the jars were gone.
Apparently, some thieves got a hold of them and ended up releasing them. From there, chaos broke out and Japan ended up being a wasteland of black starfish. Most of the surviving population of Japan moved to an island in the south while a small population stayed on the mainland, surrounding themselves with an electric fence that stretched for miles to protect themselves. The idea for why they still stay there is that they believe that maybe perhaps they’ll be able to take back the rest of Japan from the Bio-Meats in the future at some point.
What baffles me the most is not the reason why the people on the mainland stay there, it what goes on with the island in the south. Everything looks pretty good and everyone is content mostly despite the chaos earlier, but what gets to me is that they keep Bio-Meats around on the island. That’s right, despite a near extinction of the entire population of Japan, the people on this island have created another Bio-Meat production facility so they can use them for food. They know all the danger; hell, the entire world knows the danger of Bio-Meats, so why are they still making them?
Also, a thought occurred to me. Toujuo Sr., who is still alive and running the island, tried everything he could to keep how dangerous Bio-Meats are under wraps throughout this series by trying to kill everyone involved during an outbreak. Apparently, he didn’t need to bother since now that everyone does know how dangerous the creatures are, they don’t care besides of the people still living on the mainland. I guess he underestimated how stupid and forgetful society can be regarding giant disasters.
Back to the story, since the time skip, Shingo became the director of the B-M production line in the south and the rest of the crew has stayed on the mainland in the small community. No problem really for anyone, except for a radical terrorist group who wants to destroy the production facility and rid Bio-Meats from the world. Actually, I think I agree with the radicals’ goals here… except for what happens next.
Apparently, the radicals are funded by three rich kids who are basically doing it for no good reason. They were just bored and thought it would be fun. *Sigh* Anyhow, they demand that Shingo destroy all B-Ms they’ve got, otherwise they’ll blow the place up and release the little things. Considering everything in this series, you can already see what happens next. S**t goes down, stupid things happen, Bio-Meats escape, and chaos starts over again.
As you can imagine, with the Bio-Meats having escaped, the whole South is pretty much wiped out… for the most part. A couple hundred or so hold up inside of the government building where Shingo works out of. They are all slowly running out of food and when all hope seems lost, Kan and his friends show up with boats and special vehicles design to help get people to the mainland where they can be in their safety zone.
The plan works, but Kan and his buddies stay behind at the building to get Shingo to come with them. It turns out Shingo was trying to convince his father to come with them, but his dad refuses to. So instead he commits suicide via Bio-Meat, choosing to die with creations rather than live with the failure. Shingo meets up with the rest of the gang, but they are sort of stuck in the building. A hurricane has rolled in causing the boats to leave without them.
I won’t spoil how they escape the building, because to be honest, it was pretty damn awesome and probably one of the best moments in the series. Sort of odd not to spoil things, but that’s beside the point. After surviving the incident, they are picked up the US Navy and get them to help build some special equipment called Anti B-M Apparatus, special devices that turn B-Ms into white mush (I’ll explain this later). The Navy will supply the power to the equipment and slowly, but surely, the B-Ms can be wiped out over the next few decades. That’s all wonderful… now time for a twist to ruin the mood! A couple of US soldiers, guys who manage the last outbreak, overhear on a radio that US government is about the revitalize the old USBM project that was frozen 7 years ago! Our story then ends on one of them screaming in horror: OH MY GOD!! I’m pretty sure ending something on the famous line from Troll 2 is not the best way to go.
Regardless, that was the entire series. Okay, I skipped a ton of content, but that’s the basic summary of the whole thing. There’s far more in the manga then what I said; like character arcs, side characters, and the dynamics of the world the characters live in. There’s just not enough time to go into as much detail like I do with most of my reviews. However, now is the time to examine this series as a whole and see how it works.
Let’s start with the story. I already went over it as seen above, but what was good about it? The pacing was decent, explaining certain things and how they work without dragging the story while the horrific scenes were often quick, but did not glance over them. The story structure was good with clear and definite beginning, middle, and ends for the arcs. Nothing felt like filler and everything had some point to story, even if it was incredibly stupid in hindsight.
What I found to be really good about this story was execution of the genres it was labeled as. This manga is labeled as a survival horror tale and it does it incredibly well. Bio-Meats and the USBM are really scary and dangerous foes the characters have to survive. The attacks are brutal and there’s little to no chance of survival once one of them sinks their teeth into you. The USBMs are incredibly powerful and nearly unstoppable when they reach a certain size while Bio-Meats are just as strong but attack in vast swarms. These things are a real threat and you feel like at anytime the characters could die. As such, the story is definitely one of the better examples of survival horror I’ve seen.
Where the story suffers comes from the fact that there is a lot of stupid going on this series, which is often reason for plot twists or what moves the manga forward. Hell, it feels like the story almost runs on stupid. Also, I would like the point out that this story can be very predictable at certain points due the characters.
As such, let’s discuss the characters themselves. I listed them at the above, but go over them one at a time. Kan Maaya is the main lead character and the one with probably the least growth, at least visible growth. He starts off a typical young kid, just moving into the small town the day of or before the first outbreak happened. He’s a bit of troublemaker and rash individual, but when s**t goes down, he’s able to set his priorities straight and step up to help people. As the series progresses, he doesn’t really lose his troublemaker side, though he becomes a bit more serious and able to stay calm in the midst of chaos going around him. He also showed intelligence with coming up with plans on how to get out of dangerous situations, like during the second arc.
Marino Kanomiya is the only female lead character in the story and which I think the series could have used more of. She starts off rather cold and distant, due to being bullied early on in the series, but started warming up as the series progressed and she started making friends. She was also rather quiet, but ended being a very outspoken individual later on in the final arc. Speaking of which, I don’t think she ever got a lot to do during the series besides with the bus incident in the last arc and being the love interest for Kan.
Yuu Banda defies most of the rules that series sets up for all characters since the very beginning. He started off as a bully and big jerk, hostile towards lots of different kids, and was exceptionally ugly. The series establishes itself as having no problems killing anyone who is ugly and assholish throughout the course of the story. As such, the fact that Yuu was allowed to live is a huge surprise and makes for him being the one with most character development of them all. Like stated, he was a big jerk, but you could see that there was something more to him due to how much he worries about his mother and being able to set aside differences when the time came early on. He grew to be a very tough, but sort of the big brother figure for Tsuyoshi, helping stand up to bullies and giving him advice on how to approach girls. Heck, he was even willing to sacrifice himself at points to save others. This complete change makes him one of the best characters in the series.
Shingo Toujou, while probably not the character that changed the most through the series like Banda, is probably the most interesting one. As the son of the man who was involved with the creation of the Bio-Meats, he had the most knowledge on how to deal and survive the creatures, being incredibly helpful for the survivors in the situations. He started off as a rather cold and detached individual, much like his father, due to the death of his mother. However, he had a sharp mind and actually started warming up when he became buddies with Kan and the others. During the time skips, he dedicated himself to learning more about how Bio-Meats work and how create better prevention and killing methods to deal with them, even becoming a head scientist and later political leader of sorts. He became warmer and more caring towards individuals, but still showed his seriousness and coldness when needed be. He is also able to grow from the faults and problems he caused throughout the series without becoming too depressed or down about them as well.
Tsuyoshi Shinoura is an underclassmen of Banda introduced during the second arc who is very weak and thinks little of himself. Also is quite easy to panic under pressure in comparison to the rest of the cast who have dealt with the creatures beforehand. While ready to give up several times through the arc, he is able to keep moving forward and leap into action to save his friends, even at risk to his self. Also, he’s able to come up with a plan to kill all the Bio-Meats during the second arc, demonstrating some interesting and unseen intelligence to him. In the third arc, he continues to show his growth by helping keep the settlement on the mainland safe, even if it costs him dearly. Strange though, I don’t feel as if he had nearly enough exposure or development during the final part which was kind of sad.
Lune is easily the weakest character of the main cast, though that may be due to being her late introduction into the second arc and the minimum exposure during the final arc. She was a young girl who lost her parents during the Bio-Meat breakout and was later adopted by Kan. Despite her parents dying in front of her (Okay, she passed out and didn’t see it all completely), I don’t think it ever really affected her much after the first few chapters after her introduction. She don’t get to see her develop much with the other characters onscreen outside of two characters, a female reporter and Kiryuu, a classmate in the third arc who likes her. She almost feels rather pointless in this story outside of her relationship with Kiryuu being important and that her parents died because of outside involvement with Shingo.
The recurring villain of the series is Toujou Sr., one of the heads behind the Bio-Meats. This character I just don’t really get the reasoning behind him. He is an utter and complete asshole to pretty much everyone, but it’s implied that he is sort of like that because his son rejected him after thinking his mother died because of him. I find that him actually caring about his son rather unbelievable. At no point has he ever shown to really care about him, besides allowing his son to stay in safety with him during the first outbreak. He has harassed, belittled, been psychology abusive, and even hinted at having Shingo’s friends killed in front of him back in the first arc. I highly doubt that any of this could have been changed with a little caring from almost anyone, even his own son. He is just a terrible person through and through and rather die with his Bio-Meats than live without them in the end.
There are other important characters, but they are only really important for one arc and then they are gone. Some are interesting, like the Army General, and some are just one-note assholes, like Dr. Dreks, but either way don’t have much in the terms of character development. The ones that do get some development most likely just die a chapter or two later just so we can feel some sort of sympathy for them. I find that doesn’t really work all that well, especially if the character up until the development was a jerk. You can’t feel really bad for someone who wasn’t really fleshed out until the plot demanded to get an extra impact upon their death.
For an example, the female reporter I mentioned that Lune bonded with ended up dying the next chapter after it happened and she ended up only being mentioned once after it. Up until her development, she was pretty much a jerk liked mention and pretty much only nice to the people she worked with (to a certain point, but you would have to read to find out). It wasn’t until the death of the last person she worked with and when she spent some time with Lune for a bit that we got to see more of a real person underneath it all. Then she died a chapter or two later. It feels like an overall waste of time to slightly get to know her a bit and have redemption for her. It could have been interesting for future chapters to develop this woman as a mother figure to Lune and then maybe kill her, but no. No point of doing that says the writer! Shock death for all! Ugh. The story did so well with developing and redeeming Banda that it could have been good to see it repeated once more.
Now there are tons of other side and minor characters in this story as well, but they all pretty much suffer from three things: Ugly, stupid, and mean. There barely is any character that isn’t a supporting or main character that isn’t any of those things at all. Everyone is ugly looking, idiotic, and downright mean-spirited towards human beings in general. If you haven’t noticed already from what I’ve seen before, these are all the qualities of dead people walking in this series. Do something stupid? You’ll cause a gigantic problem and die because of it. You are ugly? You are easily identifiable so that the audience can tell who’ll die first in a group upon seeing you. Be a complete jackass towards others? This will be your untimely death now or sometime down the road. It is because of these three things that make the rest of the cast almost unbearable and makes the series rather predictable in who is going to die. Just poorly defined characters with only those character traits to prevent them from being cardboard cutouts.
I keep coming back to the word stupid a lot in this review. No, the word is not being mentioned for a drinking game. I’m dead serious about this concept being a major issue I have with this manga. My god does this series reek of it. I’ve never before seen such stupid characters and all of the stupid things they do, along with all. Almost half the things in this series could be avoided if people used their brains or actually thought about how things would turn out. I mentioned the situation with why the Bio-Meat production plant not being surrounded by salt water since B-Ms are weak to it or the fact that everyone still eats these things after a huge outbreak wipes out almost all of Japan, but those are only minor gripes I have. Here are a few examples to think about:
Believe me, there are much more than what I just mentioned. I’m not going to mention on the US soldiers were not properly prepared to deal with B-Ms in the third arc, the reporter who released the B-Ms during the second arc, or the gangster wannabe during the bus incident. Just trust me on this. This series just has incredibly, frustratingly foolish and idiotic moments that it just drives me nuts sometimes. Really puts a damper on this manga as a whole.
The last thing to note is the actual artwork itself. There are two ways the characters are drawn that distinguish themselves from each: Normal and ugly. Normal characters are what the main characters look like, with the exception of Banda at first, and who plot important individuals may be. Ugly characters are normally the one-note assholes that are drawn in such way that makes them less human looking due to their exaggerated facial features. Due to this art style, you can tell who is most likely to die like stated before. The plus side to this is that everyone looks rather distinguishable from others and I never felt like I saw the same person over and over. The same goes with the normal looking people and heroes, which is good for telling who is who. Other than that, I don’t think there is anything special looking to these characters.
The art for the rest of the world looks pretty good as well. The world is rather detailed when shown and all the little items are rather detailed when shown. The backgrounds could be better since a lot of the times they turn completely blank even though the characters are in a room with lots of things in it. Also noteworthy, the creatures are really well drawn and the artist really makes the attack scenes horrific looking without needing to show much or even at all any gore.
So in conclusion, Bio-Meat: Nectar is a good survival horror tale that is dragged down the amount of the stupid going on, horrendous side characters, the predictability with certain outcomes, and a lack of trying to grow and develop characters outside of the main ones. I think the manga is worth reading if you are into horror, but it may irritate you at some points. If anything, this manga will be able to help you appreciate the meat you get from your pigs and cows more. At least it isn’t nearly as hazardous to your health.