Bem 1: review

Bem 1: review

Bem 1

It was 1968 when the Japanese television stations broadcast the first episode of Yōkai ningen Bemu, an anime that would have greatly shaken Japanese morals. The animated series created by Saburo Sakai and Nobuhide Morikawa caused a sensation for its violent and splatter cut, which immediately placed it at the center of public attention for all its twenty-six episodes. It's been more than forty years since then, a period of time in which a dorama in ten episodes has been dedicated to this strange monster, but finally Bem - The human monster seems to be ready to return to action thanks to a new manga, published in Italy from Magic Press.

The concept behind Bem, since its first appearance, is philosophical: who is the monster? By definition, the monster is something hideous, whether it is its appearance or its soul, an entity detached from the common vision that makes it immediately unwelcome. In recent times the monster is, in particular, someone inwardly obscure, capable of committing despicable acts, but the acceptance of the monstrous as an external aspect has certainly not failed. When Sakai and Morikawa created their series, they took on this broad characterization of the term monster, making it the essential trait of the three protagonists of their anime. An essence that has remained unchanged in the different iterations of the trio, has also arrived firmly in this new manga.

Bem 1: the return of the human monster

To explain who Bem, Bero and Bera, the ideal is to borrow the intro of the animated series:

“Nobody knows exactly when they were born. In a dark and silent place, a cell multiplied, giving rise to three new living beings. They are not human, nor are they similar to other organisms on Earth. But behind their horrible bodies hides a deep sense of justice. These creatures are monsters that fate wanted to deny human nature "

In these few words, the heart of Bem is enclosed. The trio of monsters, in fact, hides their disturbing appearance behind a human appearance, a physiognomy stolen from deceased people that becomes the mask with which they can mingle with each other to pursue their goal: to become human. More than anything, in fact, Bem, Bero and Bera wish to become fully human, to be able to live like us, to feel our emotions.

But their condition is a curse that prevents them from achieving this goal, even in the new three-volume series created by Range Murata and Mosae Nohara for ADK Emotions. This new declination of Bem sees the three protagonists live in the metropolis of Libra City, a city where the division into rigid social castes has led to the division into two clearly distinct areas: Upperside, the beating heart of the wealthy elite, and Outside, the ghetto. suburb where criminals and desperate live.

Sonia Woods, a young police officer, is assigned to the district of Outside, punished by her superiors with this unwelcome destination as retaliation for her dutiful attitude and unable to accept the freedoms taken by some colleagues. The department knows that Outside is a territory of lawlessness, where the cops themselves are more criminals than law enforcement and they hope that in this area Sonia can change her mentality as a rookie. Or be silenced by someone less reluctant to use drastic systems.

Well, the humanity behind the face of a monster

Since arriving in Outside, Sonia finds herself facing a situation of total illegality witnessing a snatch that tries to foil, launching himself in pursuit of the thief, regardless of his own safety. Only thanks to the intervention of a restless stranger did you avoid accidental investment. The evildoer, who escaped capture, is found shortly after, however, killed in unclear circumstances. Sonia begins to investigate, discovering other similar deaths, neglected by her colleagues, too busy mixing with Outside's criminal scum. But how will Sonia react when she discovers that there are forces greater than her at work in the neighborhood? And who is the mysterious individual who seems to be watching over her?

The first of the three volumes that make up this new series of Bem shows the excellent conditions of a story which, even if divided into chapters, displays a convincing linearity. Fragmenting the narrative rhythm in this way is an interesting choice, it allows you to clearly shift the attention on the three different protagonists, highlighting their tormented soul, creating a palpable contrast between their humanity and the world of human beings, who appear like real monsters, so victims of their weaknesses and worst impulses. This dualism is Bem's strong point, its distinctive trait that is intelligently managed by the narrator.

Mosahe Nohara best interprets Bem's plot, with tables highlighting the emotions of the characters, which is accompanied by a compelling definition of the action scenes, in which the ferocity of the clashes is portrayed with decision.

Magic Press brings the first issue of Bem to the comic store with captivating graphics, which decorate the dust jacket of the first volume of the new series dedicated to the human monster, a reinterpretation of the myth of these atypical heroes that promises to be a fascinating read.

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