It’s present day, and Archangel Michael is fed up with the pathetic development of the human species. The angels, in their world high above ours, have been given the choice between destroying or preserving humanity. This will be decided by having “Plus Checkers” looking for good points and “Minus Checkers” looking for bad points, and whichever finds 10,000 points first decides the outcome. Chihaya and Kagetsuya are angels who have known each other since their days at military school in Eden, and having taken up opposing sides of this “good vs. bad points” checking system, are teamed together during their stay on Earth.
However, Chihaya is unusual even by angelic standards—he has black hair, eyes and wings. He’s one-of-a-kind, unusually powerful in spite of his naive demeanor (much to Kagetsuya’s dismay), but set apart from his angel kin…until the Black Cancer strikes the heavenly population, darkening the wings and hair of its victims before spiraling them down into painful death. Tension builds among the angels and between Chihaya and Kagetsuya in particular, and it looks as if the secrets to the salvation or destruction of both Earth and Eden may lie with Chihaya himself.
This might sound like such a simple story of angels and plus and minus checking, but the truth is there a an incredible depth to the story, to the narrative it tells.
Homosexual love is just one, extinction of animals, global warming, predujice, racism, they’re all talked about, approached with such a sensitivity. Yun Kouga comes from a place that clearly says she is passionate about these themes, and how she delivers them poignantly.
This is both a dreamers tale and a rude awakening to those that look away from reality.
This is no common manga, and it is exactly for that reason that it stands out and is one of my favorites ever.
Chihaya matures throughout the work, just like the manga delves deeper into harder themes like human experiences, androids, sin, incests, death.
Chihaya and Kagetsuya are both such beautiful and flawed characters, and their slow descent to Love that transcends their capabilities of holding back from expressing it is riveting, emotional.
When they have sex it’s beautiful, it’s ethereal, it’s beyond this world, it is treated delicately and the transitions and the panels are so gorgeous.
I love this era of her artwork, before her art changed to more deformed like in Loveless, you can tell its age, and such a bold story to tell.
When Chihaya tries to atone for his “sin”, as perceived by Eden, in order to protect Kagetsuya I just. 😭
I don’t have enough words, really. My heart goes out for him, and for Kagetsuya. It also reminds me that Chihaya has a beautiful, caring, loving soul, and it’s why he’s still trying to help his fellow angels from the Black Cancer.
Earthian doesn’t follow just them two either, the cast is big. In particular, Taki’s tale is beautiful, sad and its message is so important. What DOES make one human? Our infinite capacity for hatred? For evil? For disregard of life and the planet without qualms? Or is it love, affection, passion, tears?
You’ll also get to know why Michael and Raphael appear so much throughout the story, and the true purpose of the angels, and the minus and plus checking.
Earthian does in 4 volumes what 100+ chapter series can never hope to achieve, it is not about quantity, it is about impact, the approach and the hand behind it. Yun Kouga has a sensibility that shines through, and she never makes a single story throughout this series that isn’t relevant, interesting or poignant.
It all culminates about war, about justice, about what is right and wrong, and who has the right to decide extinction, death for a large group of beings? Who has given us, or any other creature, such power or right?
And don’t let this work deceive you, this is not the common “all male” cast, in fact the strongest characters are the females, and there’s a lot of them. I find I can’t hate any of them, not just because they’re strong, emotionally or physically, but because Yun Kouga shows both sexes being what they’re, flawed. There is no “all girls are evil”, or bitches, nor all the guys falling into it. Let’s just say this isn’t a manga with tropes.
If you don’t choke up, cry or feel emotional by the end of Earthian, then it’s message of love is not for you. Because that’s what the message is in this series, love for family, love for mankind, love for animals and species, love for the planet and universe. And maybe it sounds cliche, but trust me that the way it is delivered and executed does it in the best way.
This is pretty angsty in the second half but it’s because the subjects it broaches are darker and harder, so it figures.
I really do advise everyone to read this if this sounds like something you’d like to. I find you can’t go wrong with Earthian, but it’s so unique there isn’t many mangas like it, so it isn’t a mainstream work. It’s thought provoking, and subversive, so get on it because we need more works like this.