7 Billion Needles, Volume 3
By Nobuaki Tadano
(Vertical, Paperback, 9781932234275, 192pp.)
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
Categories: Manga - Science Fiction
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Hikaru Takabe used to be the class loner. She was that girl who always kept to herself and would have rather had her headphones on at all times, even during class sessions. She never dared open her heart to anyone. But after she was obliviated by a meteor and rebuilt from her DNA up by a cosmic creature called “Horizon” her outlook on life took a quick turn for the positive.
Now Hikaru will have to host another inter-galactic entity within her. Now the interstellar mass-murderer “Maelstrom” has settled inside her along with Horizon. But this completely new life-form not only has brought less privacy into Hikaru’s life, but it may have changed the direction of evolution itself. As if sensing the earth’s unusual state, a new existence proclaiming itself “the moderator” suddenly appears in front of Hikaru. According to him the earth is about to attempt a “macro evolution” in extreme chaos, so that he needs to correct the process in case that it causes disorder of the universe.
Nobuaki Tadano made his comics debut with the short story Headphone Wearing Shut-in Girl for Media Factory's monthly sci-fi and fantasy comic anthology Comic Flapper. The short's success earned him the honor of winning Media Factory's Comic Flapper New Artist Award.
7 Billion Needles is Tadano's first feature length series and his first title translated into English.
“Tadano’s artwork shows remarkable versatility in the way it captures scenes ranging from everyday school life to fantastical, superpowered combat… But these shiny bells and whistles are nothing without the story, one that has a surprisingly profound side lurking beneath the action. When shy, distant Hikaru is ordered to start communicating with her peers to help seek out the enemy, it says more about who she is as a person—and who we are as humans—than about the otherworldly turmoil going on around her.”—Anime News Network
“Tadano made this science fiction story—with its monster-movie overtones, and a jolting dose of ultraviolence—mostly quiet and subdued, with a heroine who falls into none of the usual manga stereotypes. Hal Clement might have had a hard time seeing his story in this, but I think he would have appreciated those quiet moments, and the communications between Horizon and Hikaru.” —Antick Musings
“The lack of easy outs keeps 7 Billion Needles fresh…and manages to bring the sixty-year-old story into the present day and an all new setting with aplomb. Hikaru is detached, but not to the point where it puts off the reader. She just comes across as a normal girl who is a little out of her depth in life, and a lot out of her depth when it comes to alien invasions… This is good stuff, and assuming the next three books maintain this level of quality, yet another entry in Vertical, Inc.’s stock of great manga.” —ComicsAlliance
“This is a book where the cover tells you exactly what you’re in for… Reading 7 Billion Needles Vol. 1 reminded me in some ways of Parasyte, only in this case it’s less cartoonish and much creepier. And, with just a four-volume length, 7 Billion Needles already feels much more tight and focused. I came for the beautiful production design of 7 Billion Needles, but I’ll stay for the excellent story and art.” —Read About Comics
“Maybe it was some failing that I didn’t figure it out earlier, but once the title’s meaning became evident, it became pretty brilliant… Informed by Hal Clement’s original, 7 Billion Needles has its own approach to the material. Reading the manga, I found myself not so much thinking about the other manga that it resembled as I was the novel… Few readers, regardless of whether their preferences are based in manga, sci-fi or more general, will be disappointed.” —Ain’t It Cool News
“Let’s just say that it had meteoric impact, and I couldn’t stop myself from tearing through the book at lightning-fast pace… Nobuaki Tadano’s methods shine through, providing something you can’t put down. What carries the story, and provides most of the impact, is the art… It’s a great purchase for anyone who has an interest in non-tech heavy sci-fi material.” —Japanator
“[Tadano’s] graphic storytelling style is clear and strong. His crisp linework and straightforward paneling allows readers to effortlessly follow the story—that’s not always a given, especially in action-driven stories like this… A solid and entertaining sci-fi seinen manga read that’s off to a good start. It’s worth picking up and worth sticking around to see what’ll happen next.” —About.com