It has already been eleven months since the hit manga “Fairy Tail” came to an end. During the eleven month break, author Hiro Mashima seemingly wasn’t able to fully utilize his rest period as he was already conceptualizing a new story to tell. Earlier this year, Mashima made rounds on the internet upon his announcement of a Fairy Tail spin-off as well as a new series that was soon confirmed to be called “Edens Zero“. Finally, a few days ago through Weekly Shonen Magazine, “Edens Zero” started to embark a new adventure with a maiden chapter of a whopping 81 pages. Let us recap the first chapter and give a first impression towards one of the newest manga in town!
Chapter Recap: In A Sakura-filled Sky
The series begins with a child version of our main character, Shiki, stargazing with two of his robotic companions. His ‘grandfather’, the Demon King, feeds young Shiki’s curiosity about the ray of light that’s moving through the sky, classifying it as “dragons”. Another robot, Michael, intercepts the conversation with his own opinion that it is a comet, much to Shiki’s confusion and Demon King’s laughter. The dialogue soon turns a bit more serious and sentimental when the robots express their desire for Shiki to leave their place soon, so that he can meet friends. Demon King emphasizes that “If your friends cry for you, you shall never let them go.” Shiki then teases Demon King that he must be talking about Michael, but Michael insists that he cannot cry for he is a machine. Demon King concludes the conversation by saying that no matter who, everyone has a heart.
Flash forward to the present, a lady named Rebecca is riding a vehicle across the sea and is accompanied by a familiar figure, Happy. If you may recall, Happy is one of the main characters in Fairy Tail, and is Natsu and Lucy’s usual companion. The two of them arrive at a park called “Granbell Kingdom”. They express that it feels like they are in a fantasy world! Rebecca then tells Happy that their expedition will garner tons of views and bring millions of subscribers to their “Blue Cat Channel”, hinting that the two are vloggers (video + bloggers).
A robot then approaches them and asks if they are customers, and once they confirm everybody becomes surprised! Actually, it turns out that the two foreigners are the first customers in a hundred years, which causes everyone in Granbell to panic as they prepare and welcome Rebecca and Happy. The Granbell robots offer them a wide array of fun activities and shops to choose from.
As the two eat at a bar, Happy shows a quest poster to Rebecca which reads “Defeat monster and receive amazing prizes!”. Rebecca says that it’s a good idea, and it’s quality content for their videos. Undertaking the quest, they encounter a gigantic figure, a huge cat robot! Suddenly, a man from above smashes down the gigantic cat robot, much to the park-goers’ surprise. Rebecca asks: “Is it a person?” in a terrified manner as the man glares at them, causing her to feel more scared. That man is Shiki from the earlier panels, who is already in adolescence now sporting long messy hair.
Shiki is puzzled upon seeing a human and a cat in a place only for robots. He asks them and tries to confirm by doing silly things such as: rubbing Rebecca’s cheeks, stretching her mouth, and even groping her bust, which then warrants a little bit of violence towards Shiki. It appears that Rebecca is as puzzled as Shiki in a place where there aren’t supposed to be any humans. Shiki, knocked down, says “I’m the only human on this island.” whilst staring at Rebecca’s underwear (causing more violence). He identifies Rebecca as a “girl”, noting the novelty of such a happening to Shiki. He identifies Happy as a cat… and then tries to eat him. In an awkward manner, he offers his hand for a handshake and asks her to be friends with him. Due to the absurdity of the situation, Rebeccas runs off but Shiki doesn’t quite get left behind. He mentions that it’s his first time meeting another human and that his grandfather’s wish is for him to make lots of friends.
Rebecca comes back to the city, much more specifically to the bar they originally went to. She then spills to a robot that’s behind the bar’s counter about the encounter with a human boy, whom the robot introduces as Shiki. Shiki introduces the other robots in the bar saying that they are all good friends there, causing Rebecca to feel more comfortable and show a hint of warmheartedness. As the two are the first visitors in a hundred years, everyone threw a party offering more food and even a change of wardrobe for Rebecca! Shiki, however, wonders why he can’t watch her change clothes and Michael answers that it’s because she is a girl. Everybody is having extra fun at the party, but a robot mysteriously watches them from outside. The mysterious robot then rushes off to the palace, informing the “King” that there is a girl on the island. It seems that he is already aware and the King then reveals that “The time has come.”
Back at the party, Shiki and Rebecca converse about the earlier events. Shiki tells her that he is in charge of doing the repairs on the island, and that lately the robots have been acting weird. He expresses his desire to go to another country someday, surprising Rebecca with the fact that he’s never left Granbell. Shiki responds that if he leaves, no one will be around to do the repairs anymore, and in a blink of an eye Shiki suddenly falls asleep on the ground.
Rebecca watches him while Michael notes that curiosity about Shiki is written all over her face. Michael and the other robots narrate Shiki’s backstory about his residence in Granbell. Ten years ago, Demon King, a robot made for the role, brought him to the place. The robots don’t know where he found Shiki, but he loved him like his own grandson. Everyone became attached to him to the point where they cannot abandon him nor leave him behind anymore. Demon King, on the other hand, is known as the best machine in Granbell, but sadly he has already broken down. Rebecca takes note of Shiki’s messy hair and gives him a haircut while he’s sleeping, then she and Happy proceed to bed as well.
The next morning, Shiki wakes up with a noticeably shorter and cleaner haircut. Rebecca also wakes up, however she finds herself tied to a wooden pole, with Happy also tied by her side. They are surrounded by the robotic citizens of Granbell and stuck in a situation similar to a public execution. The King is present and claims that for years they have been waiting for a human. Shiki, curious about the commotion, runs over and is shocked at the sight. He pleas that Rebecca is his friend, and that even though she may be from a different land she is a good person. The King responds that he knows that their motive is to take Rebecca’s ship as a means to leave Granbell. Shiki demands for them to be untied, but the King stays firm in his decision and even plans to kill Rebecca.
The King says “We machines are not mere tools to be used by you humans, we are not an inferior race”. Shiki tries to get help from the other robots thinking that the King is just acting up, but to his dismay everyone is already sharing the same sentiments, even the people at the bar and his companion, Michael. Rebecca remembers him telling her that the robots have been acting weird lately, and she theorizes that everyone may have caught a virus. Shiki tries to run off to grab his tools and fix everybody, but the King threatens he will hurt Rebecca if he takes another step. The King says that Shiki was never repairing anyone in the first place, that everyone has their own auto-repair system, and he is merely playing the role of a repair-man just like how the robots all have their own role to play. Shiki exclaims that he will fix everyone because they are friends, but is easily shut down once the King says “You are human, we are machines, we will never be friends.”
The King narrates that Granbell was once bustling with visitors and guests, but as the traffic declined humans left the Granbell robots to rot. They waited for a hundred years and now, through Rebecca who owns a ship, the time for their vengeance has finally come.
Shiki is enraged and protests that he is also human, and has been with everyone the whole time. Other robots mob around Shiki and proceed to attack him. Shiki, reminiscing about the fun memories he had with the robots who are now hurting him, is completely dumbfounded and helpless. Rebecca witnesses Shiki’s pain and demands everyone to stop. She screams “Being friends… goes beyond being human or machine!!” as tears fall from her eyes. Remembering what his grandfather said; “If your friends cry for you, you shall never let them go”, Shiki launches himself back up and fights back. In Shiki’s fist and wrist forms linear figures, giving him strength to fight back against the robots. The King then battles him, but Shiki is now stronger and is putting up a good fight. Among the commotion, Happy is able to escape out of the ropes and proceeds to untie Rebecca. He recognizes Shiki’s power as an “Ether Gear”, a power that originates from the dark ages.
Shiki defeats the King, but causes the ground to crumble and everything underneath it to fall, including Rebecca and Happy. Floating Shiki goes to their aid and helps them rise back up. Happy classifies Shiki’s Ether Gear to be the Ether Gear of Gravity. He then “adjusts” gravity to the direction of Rebecca and Happy’s boat so that they can escape and take refuge. Shiki begs to stay so that he can “fix” the robots, but Rebecca asks him to come along because she doesn’t want to leave a friend behind. Shiki, along with Rebecca and Happy, takes off as the ship is turned into an aerial vehicle, ascending to the skies.
Escaping successfully, Shiki looks outside the ship’s glass and witnesses a view that he has never seen before, the Sakura Cosmos. He then realizes that they are in space, and the Sakura Cosmos isn’t where there aren’t any floating stars, but instead floating cherry blossoms. Stunned, Shiki discovers a light traveling in space, which Rebecca introduces as a “dragon”.
Back in Granbell, the King, defeated and lying on the ground, reveals their true purpose: to send Shiki into space. The earlier happening is just an act to drive him away with Rebecca. The robots say that it would be a waste for such a human to stay on Granbell and if the day comes that they all stop functioning, he would have been all by himself. Had they not done it, Shiki would never have left and would’ve still continued to try and fix everyone. Michael, Shiki’s closest companion after his grandfather, gazes into space as he reminisces the words of Demon King.
“As machines, our life batteries will die out in a matter of years. This is a fate we all cannot avoid. I beg of you.. of everyone.. Before that happens, please send Shiki off. That child.. will change the universe.”
One by one, the robots start to fall and cease functioning. Michael then notifies the late Demon King that they have fulfilled their promise. He thinks… “If one had to feel such sadness… A loneliness of such depth… Who would ever wish for a heart?”, as he also falls down along with every other Granbell robot.
Back in Rebecca’s spaceship, Shiki gazes at a planet the size of a star. It’s where he came from, Planet Granbell. Tears suddenly fall from Shiki’s eyes as he says that even though everyone acted weird in the end, he still considers them as his friends. In an emotional outburst, Shiki screams of gratitude towards everyone and words of forever lasting memory. Wiping his tears, he decides that he, Shiki Granbell, will make a hundred friends in the universe.
First and foremost, when the news of a new series came out I was extremely happy and excited, as Hiro Mashima’s works are really fun to read or watch. Thankfully the first chapter of Edens Zero did not fall behind my expectations, and just made me want more!
Edens Zero’s premise was very much kept hidden until the day of its first serialization, so nothing much was known about the new series except for the chapter cover which was released beforehand. The premise is truly interesting, and makes me view Shiki as a futuristic rendition of Tarzan. He was raised by a different race/species and was able to journey outside his known world because of the entrance of a woman. What will be really fun to look forward to is how Shiki, the awkward main character, will interact with other people and how he will overcome the culture shock of a new environment. I also find myself really intrigued by how the outside Granbell looks like. Sakura Cosmos and the “dragons” are already interesting enough, but the other planets must also have their own number of things to take interest in.
It’s almost obvious that one of the conflicts in Edens Zero is the past of Shiki before he was found by Demon King. It would be too cliché if Shiki ends up being the son of the main antagonist, so please, Hiro Mashima, I expect better than that. Anyhow, this “missing family” part is enough to be the spine of the story, similar to how Hunter x Hunter’s story was depicted. Gon’s journey towards finding Ging, his dad, and the friends he met along the way. However, Edens Zero doesn’t seem to be focusing on Shiki’s quest to seek his true identity and family, but instead on his journey to meet friends and wander outside Granbell.
What took me by surprise though is the fact that it’s just the first chapter, but it has already managed to make me feel a roller coaster of emotions. There are parts that are really funny, such as Shiki’s awkwardness towards Rebecca, and some parts that are very heartwarming, like when Demon King, Michael, and Shiki are stargazing. There are also moments that are very sad, specifically the cease of the robots’ function. At one point you are angry towards the robots for ganging up around Shiki, then you end up feeling emotional knowing the robots’ true purpose, and then suddenly you will burst out laughing because Shiki wanted to break the glass! It’s nice because it doesn’t feel stagnated towards just one direction of the atmosphere, which would most likely get boring after some period of time.
By the way, I’m pretty certain there is a huge possibility of Demon King and Michael coming back somewhere in the story. We can see on the cover that they are included as well as the other unnamed characters, so we can assume they will be back in action sometime.
One thing I’m curious about is how Shiki and Rebecca were created. The drawing style of Edens Zero is reminiscent of its predecessor’s, Fairy Tail, or I guess “reminiscent” is an understatement. It’s understood that the creator of both manga’s is the same, however, they do share a very blatant resemblance when it comes to the look of the characters, even to a point that there is little to almost unrecognizable differences. Shiki literally looks just like Natsu with black hair. Rebecca looks like a mixture of Lucy and Carla, especially when she is wearing those cat ears of hers. And most importantly, Edens Zero’s Happy looks exactly like Fairy Tail’s Happy! Well, just joking, that part was pretty obviously intended as well as Nicolas, but the point is that Happy and Plue are the only characters derived from Fairy Tail, while the other characters aren’t supposed to be.
Many were unsure of Edens Zero due to Fairy Tail’s untidy reputation, but I am one of those who did not care about the past and gave Hiro Mashima a chance to redeem himself. The first chapter of Edens Zero is a breath of fresh air and brings something new to the table, both interesting and intriguing enough to make you want more. Sadly, we have to wait a week before the next chapter, which for me is truly a pain. Anyhow, I really love Shiki and I’m looking forward to how his journey unravels. Congrats to Hiro Mashima on an amazing new series!
(Special thanks to jaiminisbox.com for the manga snippets!)