It's a rather happy day for me: Kentaro Miura shows up on this blog again and for once I don't have to make fun of the man. His previous non-Berserk works featured here has ranged from average to embarrassingly awful. Giganto Maxia has the advantage of a being written by a Miura who's learned something from writing Berserk. It's a story with tight plotting and characters with the art style Miura has honed after all these years.
Giganto Maxia's story is not a complex one,it's half past the Apocalypse and the world has gone down the gutter. We follow the odd Delos and his companion,the even odder Prome, as the search for fragments of life to help restore the scorched world. The story only really covers a small slice of what should be a much larger story yet the ending doesn't feel abrupt. Everything you'd want to know about this world is conveyed through attention to detail and the back story of Delos. I feel like I'm in a living breathing world with it's own rich mythology that I'd love to see more of.
The pacing is rather quick and boils down to a short prologue and epilogue and two fights. The prologue sets the tone as more comedic and while it is delivering into more serious topics,the fighting keeps things light since it's basically a guy pulling off wrestling moves to defeat much more serious opponents but even that ties back into the bigger theme of peace and hope. Berserk has been exploring fighting the odds even when they are hopeless and it's explored here as well with out coming off as a retread.
Delos uses wrestling moves to incapacitate his opponents rather than kill them like everyone expects. Everything he does runs counter intuitive to what the world has come to expect. He doesn't kill the titular Gigantos he encounters as killing them will do nothing, but rendering them immobile they can be used to restore the earth albeit rather slowly. Later we get the revelation that the events that razed the planet have happened before and will happen again yet humanity never gives up and instead adapts. Yet it also proposes that to change the world we have to be willingly to change not just to suit our new environment but also how we conduct ourselves and the treatment of others.
The major conflict of the story is the imperialistic Empire trying to wipe out the people of the desert who have learned to live with the massive beetles of the region. The Beetle people are rightfully angry at the Empire for wiping them almost all out in a rather cruel fashion. Yet Delos' is able to convince them to spare the opposing army and become better people to try and end the cycle of violence. When the empire does not to stand down, they get their memories and feeling of the dessert mixed around by Prome's magic. Having details of this change would be a much more monumental task that could take up a few volumes by it self. The story is trying to convey that change starts small.
Delos and Prome's relationship is rather cute in a way. Delos carries her every where and will protect her with his life. At one point trying to stop rocks getting thrown at her by having the throwers focus on him. They both clearly care for each other even if Prome won't admit it. She admires his dedication to non lethal violence and not just because it's the only way to get the most use out of the Gigantos. That's not to say one couldn't read her refusal to let him die as simply her desire to complete her mission since she often comes across as all business. However she shows him immense kindness despite her cold and teasing demeanor. She's implied to have seen the type of predicament the world has been in before being a sort of omnipotent spirit and Delos' kindness really speaks to her as evidenced in the ending where she shrinks her self to a child like state to lighten the load of carrying her around.
The art looks rather magnificent, Miura's backgrounds were a highlight of his poor team ups with Buroson and combined with the years to hone his talents were treated to a gorgeously barren world. The world feels scorched and ugly and contrast nicely with the crowed and pretty sanctuary of the beetle people. The monsters look scary and otherworldly,akin to the demons and apostles of Berserk. Prome's face is serious most of the time but her decidedly less serious pouting faces are hilarious for all the right reasons.
I've said before that I refuse to believe that Berserk was not just a fluke and while his early works have not done much to prove me right, Giganto Maxia has. A deep story with likable characters and a theme of hope that runs through the story without bashing you over the head with it. Highly recommend,if my opinion means anything to you. See you all again in like seven months.