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Please Save My Earth

  • Shojo Manga Pick of the Month

    To be honest, I was convinced after the first 40-page episode that Saki Hiwatari's PLEASE SAVE MY EARTH (BOKU NO CHIKYU O MAMOTTE in Japanese) was not my kind of story: one corny gag after another, a drawing style I didn't like, paranormal phenomena, and an implausible sci-fi scenario. I'm glad I persevered, though, because I was hooked by the end of the first volume, and all but obsessed by the eighth.

    The implausible scenario is this. Seven scientists from a distant planet -- three female, four male -- are sent to our Moon to observe the planet Earth for reasons even they do not know. During their stay, their home planet becomes entangled in a war and is utterly destroyed. The stranded colonists are left to their own devices and interpersonal tensions rise and explode... What is implausible (never mind that the aliens are physically identical to homo sapiens and that their cultural artifacts bears striking resemblance to much Terran culture) is that the seven aliens are reincarnated, immediately after their deaths, as Earthlings who all conveniently live in Japan. The plot revolves around their gradual awakenings, their search for each other, their struggle to recover the memories of their earlier lives, the complex interplay of their current and former relationships, and, most ominously, the devious and often cruel machinations of the "youngest," a brilliant boy named Rin who has extraordinary powers.

    What makes this story work is the engrossing story and richly developed characters. The protagonist is the girl Arisu (Mokuren in her previous life), but it is Rin (Shion), his passionate relationship with Arisu/Mokuren, and his antagonistic relationship with the others that drives the narrative. The story shifts between the Earthly present, the characters' past on their mother planet, and their time on the moon so effectively that, even at 21 volumes, it is difficult to put down. Hiwatari makes Rin/Shion's childhood pain and adult torment devastatingly palpable. Few readers will get through the whole story with dry eyes.

    I'm sure Viz, who produced the English edition of the anime, has been tempted to tackle the manga as well, but the length is daunting. Even at 40 pages a month, it would take many years to complete. But who knows? Maybe someday a weekly or biweely format will be feasible in the English-language market, and PLEASE SAVE MY EARTH will find a new audience. end dot

    Matt Thorn

    (Note that due to unavailability of manga images, the image above is from the anime version.)
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    Please Save My Earth (anime) ©1994 Saki Hiwatari/Hakusensha (HANA TO YUME magazine)/Victor Entertainment/ING Co.
    ©1997 Viz Communications, Inc.