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Alive: The Final Evolution (アライブ -最終 進化的 少年- Araibu - Saishū Shinkateki Shōnen?) is a manga written by Tadashi Kawashima and illustrated by Adachitoka. The manga was originally published by Kodansha in Japan and an English translation is currently being published by Del Rey Manga. The series ended in Japan in 2010 after 21 volumes[1], shortly before the Tadashi Kawashima passed away.[2] Eight volumes have been published in the United States.[3]In 2008, the Anime News Network reported that it had been slated for adaptation into an anime series,[2] but the series was eventually canceled.

Plot

The series follows Taisuke Kanou, a teenage student in Japan who lives a normal life with his sister Yoko Kanou. The story begins when a dark being from space senses life on Earth, the sky becomes dark and mass suicides occur worldwide. It is learned that the being, Akuro, is composed of souls who were granted immortality and who wanted to die but could not do so without a body. These beings separated from each other and entered the bodies of humans in order to commit suicide. The main characters of the story are possessed humans who resisted the temptation, known as "Comrades."

When Taisuke's friend, Yuichi Hirose, discovers his powers he kidnaps fellow friend Megumi Ochai and heads north to the heart of Akuro. Taisuke, obtaining his own powers, follows in an attempt to bring Hirose and Megumi back home. On his adventures, he is accompanied by fellow comrades Yuta Takizawa and Nami Kusonoki. He tracks down Hirose to a lake where the latter absorbs Akuro's heart. Taisuke defeats Hirose by triggering a volcanic eruption, which apparently kills them both and destroys the heart.

Two years later Yuta and Nami learn from Aoi Tezuka and Jun Tezuka that Taisuke is alive. They meet Taisuke, who is revealed to have amnesia, though he soon regains his memories. They learn from Yukie Tezuka that the army has the dormant Hirose, along with the heart of Akuro, and that they must set out to destroy it. After several attempts to destroy the heart, Hirose awakens and flees from the military base. Deducing Hirose's return to Japan, Taisuke and his friends prepare for the upcoming battle.

Characters

Protagonist

Taisuke Kanou

Taisuke Kanou (叶 太輔 Kanō Taisuke?) is the main character of the series. He is haunted by guilt for his role in the accident that killed his parents. After his parents died, he was raised by his older sister, Yoko. Taisuke's "Comrade" ability is creating fire and is called "destroy and rebirth", by which he can destroy cells in such a way that even a fellow Comrade's healing powers cannot repair the damage.

Yuta Takizawa

Yuta Takizawa (瀧沢 勇太 Takizawa Yuta?) is a young boy who gains his powers after his mother commits suicide in front of him. His power is isolation, cutting off objects from the outside world by creating psychic barriers of various sizes, for defensive purposes or trapping his opponents. After his mother's death, Yuta's father rejected him in horror of his new powers and mistaking that Yuta killed his own mother. As such, Yuta lives with his grandparents. He is quite attached to Taisuke Kanou and Nami Kusunoki, as they have traveled with him. Still, he has little outward respect towards Taisuke, often calling him an idiot or Inusuke (犬輔?, "Inu," meaning "dog").

Nami Kusunoki

Nami Kusunoki (楠 奈美 Kusunoki Nami?) has the power to freeze water to form any shape she chooses, usually forming it into claws to augment her martial arts, and launching them like bullets to pierce and freeze her targets. Her younger brother, Satoru, was killed by Kanon after he accidentally bumped into her. He was burned to death before Nami's eyes, leading her to hunt down Kanon for revenge. Nami originally hated Comrades, especially those with fire-based abilities, but after spending time with Taisuke, her grudge begins to dissipate. She is shown to gradually developed romantic interest towards Taisuke, and is shown to be envious of Megumi Ochiai, thinking Megumi is more beautiful than herself.

The Tezuka Family

Yukie Tezuka

Yukie Tezuka (手塚 由紀恵 Tezuka Yukie?), known as 'Mama', is the one who saved Taisuke at the end of the first story arc. Youthful in appearance, she is the mother of the seven Tezuka children who each have separate fathers of different nationalities. Her character is cryptic and she seems to know more about Akuro's heart than she lets on. Yukie appears to have some restorative abilities, for she is the reason Taisuke was able to make a full recovery after being on the brink of death. Before "Nightmare Week" occurred, Yukie was described as a "nomadic" woman who travelled constantly. She had left her children behind to fend for themselves, only visiting on rare occasions to check on them. After she acquired a piece of Akuro's heart, Yukie returned and stayed with her family, taking on a more maternal role. However, she is seen to be smiling sadly and regrets that two of her children Aoi and Jun had become power-users. She is killed by Hirose when he awakens and had her piece of the heart stolen.

Rei Tezuka

Rei Tezuka (手塚 伶 Tezuka Rei?), at 28 years old, is the eldest son of the family. Before his mother, Yukie, received "A Piece of the Heart" Rei was responsible for the wellbeing of his younger siblings. In the present timeline, Rei is still as mature and thoughtful as he was back then. He helps Taisuke recall his lost memories by bringing Yuuta, Nami, and Yoko to where Taisuke was staying. Although he is not a power user, Rei actively helps in the retrieval of Akuro's Heart. He and his younger brother Jun are the only two members that help Taisuke on his assault on the U.S. Naval Base. Rei is characteristically seen with a lit cigarette.

Anzu Tezuka

Anzu Tezuka (手塚 杏 Tezuka Anzu?) is the eldest sister of the seven Tezuka children and is 16 years old. She is not a Comrade; however, her skills with computers prove to be of great use. For example, she is able to hack and track down the lucrative US Naval Base that holds the Heart of Akuro. According to information given in the story by Yukie, Anzu is very similar to her father because she is just as tech savvy as him. After the failed attempt to retrieve the Heart from the base in Japan, Anzu ends up staying with Oda and Amamiya. With the two former reporters, who have since lost their jobs due to their investigation of the Heart, they created a website containing information on the Comrades and the Heart of Akuro using the alias, "Rain."

Jun Tezuka

Jun Tezuka (手塚 純 Tezuka Jun?) first appears following Nami at her school and he is the second oldest male in the Tezuka family at 27 years old. He is a soft spoken individual, and apparently he has a "mother complex" according to Rei and Anzu. He is the second child in the family to acquire powers. His power appears to be the ability to control electricity. He and Rei are the only members of the family that join Taisuke on his assault on the US Naval Base housing the Heart of Akuro. He wandered throughout Asia in search of peace of mind and learned martial arts in the process, which he later taught Taisuke.

Aoi Tezuka

Aoi Tezuka (手塚 葵 Tezuka Aoi?) is the fourth member of the Tezuka family and is 10 years old. She transfers into Yuta's class and is seated next to him, later becoming pen-pals with Kurumi, a girl who bullied her out of jealousy over Yuta. She has developed a strong attachment to Taisuke during the two-year timeskip. She is also a power user, which apparently allows her to run quickly and resistant from getting hurt from long falls. Growing tired of being left behind she demands to be part of the team.

Antagonists

Yuichi Hirose

Yuichi Hirose (広瀬 雄一 Hirose Yūichi?) was Taisuke's best friend. He is small and timid for his age and is picked on by bullies. He lives with his last living family member, his mother, until she commits suicide due to the Akuro. Hirose gains the power of void; this allows him to shoot a ball that makes anything disappear. After gaining his power, with Katsumata's mind alterations, Hirose's personality changed into that of a destructive and ruthless sociopath, and he murdered many people. After absorbing the Heart, Hirose revealed that he desired to kill every other life form on Earth, making a world for himself. When he absorbed the Heart, his void increased greatly, to the point of hollowing out an entire mountain in one blast. His body becomes intangible due to being the void itself.

Shigeki Katsumata

Inspector Shigeki Katsumata (勝又 重喜 Katsumata Shigeki?) is the lead investigator of Hirose's incident. He seems to be a normal police officer but is soon revealed as having powers and no regard for human life. He holds a piece of the heart, and like the other two wielders, Yukie and the Poet, Katsumata can alter the minds of other comrades by touching their heads.

Katsumata's Comrades

Takumi Yura

Takumi Yura (由良 匠 Yura Takumi?) is an artist and one of the few people who have gained powers from the virus. He has the ability to create pressurized air bubbles in which the explosive powers are strong enough to make whatever they hit disappear. He enjoys using this to destroy people's heads, as well as destroy the art that he has finished. He survives the suicidal urge when Hirose absorbed the Heart, but lost his left arm as a result. Two years later, he is killed by Hirose while trying to take the Heart.

Kenichirou Morio

Kenichirou Morio (森尾 健一郎 Morio Kenichirō?) is one of the "comrades" of Katsumata. He has the power called "Kamaitachi", which is the ability to use wind to slice objects. He can also use the wind to take flight. During his first meeting with Taisuke and Yuta he tries to kill them, but is ultimately scarred by Taisuke, which creates a grudge between the two. He commits suicide with his own wind blade when Hirose absorbs Akuro's Heart.

Gou Okada

Gou Okada (岡田 剛 Okada Gō?) is a fat, typical Otaku man who is part of the "comrades" recruited by Katsumata. Due to his appearance, he suffers an inferiority complex, especially against those who tease and ridicule him. His power is "Shinigami's Contract", in which the shinigami will kill anyone once that certain person has broken their "injunction" bounded to them beforehand, which they are usually tricked or swayed into by Okada. The shinigami is invisible to everyone but Okada and the people who broke a promise with him. He allows himself to be killed by his own "Shinigami's Contract" after Hirose absorbs the "Heart of Akuro" by revealing to her that he broke a promise in the past. The shinigami is seen after that though, suggesting that it has a personality of her own, rather than being a personification of Okada's unconscious desire.

Kanon Mitachi

Kanon Mitachi (御館 華音 Mitachi Kanon?) is the "red haired girl" who killed Nami's brother. She is a carefree, yet insane and immature girl who kills mostly for her own amusement. Her childish nature is accentuated by her tendency to refer to herself in the third person. Her power is an "Invisible Bomb" which can destroy almost anything in her range with the control of her palm. It's revealed later that she actually needs a metallic object to detonate one of her bombs, and she is easily defeated after Nami lures her into a forested area with no metallic objects nearby. She is also an egotist and tries to kill Ochiai out of jealousy after seeing how well she was treated by Hirose and the others. After being cornered by Nami, Kanon absorbed the "Heart of Akuro" and her Invisible Bomb power increased to the point of not needing any metallic objects. However, she was not compatible with the Heart, and she was eventually torn apart.

Hideo Asou

Hideo Asou (麻生 英雄 Asō Hideo?) is a Catholic priest who is known to be traveling with Ron. Asou seemed to have been affected by the virus when it was "Nightmare Week" and he, Ron and another child were hit together by the virus. Asou gains the power of petrification, which allows him to turn people into lifeless stone statues merely by touching them, a process that cannot be reversed except by Taisuke's unique abilities. Asou uses this power in conjuncture with his skilled martial arts to get close to his opponents to touch them. When the child who has been infected attempts to hang himself, Asou tries to save him, but unintentionally turns the child into stone instead. When the other people see this they become afraid of him and lock him inside the church. He says he "Cursed" himself. Then he meets Katsumata and tells Katsumata to kill him. Katsumata uses his power and alters Asou's mind into thinking that he "Saved" him. When they meet again, this time with Taisuke, Asou tells Katsumata that he doesn't want to fight. However, Katsumata alters his mind again to make him fight Taisuke. After Hirose absorbs the "Heart of Akura" Asou turns himself into stone, believing he is returning to his parents.

Ron Hasegawa

Ron Hasegawa (長谷川 論 Hasegawa Ron?) is one of the children of Asou's church who became a Comrade after surviving the heart's influence. Originally following Asou during the initial campaign raised by Katsumata, he is currently staying at an orphanage, but visits Amamiya and Oda. His power is to liquify himself into a slime-like creature.

Han

Han (ハン?) is a Comrade with the ability to enter and take over another person's body, killing them in the process. Under Katasumata's orders she infiltrates the American military to get closer to the heart but is eventually killed by McPhearson after entering the body of his subordinate, D3.

Michele

Michele (ミケーレ?) is a Comrade who is fairly large in size and a simple idiot who, at the request of Megumi, searches out Taisuke. He later reappears under Katsumata's control to bring Taisuke to Megumi. If he meets another comrade he tries to recruit them. He controls gravity. He was killed by Hirose while attempting to retrieve the Heart.

Ludger

Ludger (ルドガー?) is a Comrade searching for the meaning of being alive; he copies the powers of other Comrades.

Akuro (Mitama)

Also known as "the Ghost" (御霊 Mitama?), he appears to be the "master" of the group creating the revolution. He seems to be in two pieces: his heart, "the heart of Akuro," is in Hokkaido; and his "will" was in the body of an owl which is his own "comrade". He begins to possess the body of a corpse girl after the owl is killed by a rampant Hirose.

Military

James McPherson

James McPherson (マクファーソン?) is the sergeant in charge of Akuro's heart. He is highly skilled and is able to kill Comrades though he possess none of their abilities. He is ruthless, viewing his subordinates as expendable once he no longer needs them. However, he risked his life to save D4. He helps leak military information to the public about "Power Users" under the pseudonym "Clay."

D2

D2 (ディーツー?) is a sniper working under McPherson whose real name is Carl Alder (はカール・アドラー?). He is killed by Yura.

D3

D3 (ディースリー?) is the explosive professional of the team. He was killed and possessed by a Comrade working for Katsumata and his body was later killed by McPherson.

D4

D4 (ディーフォー?) is the only woman working under McPherson. She defeats Taisuke's group on her own in their first encounter and before Nami used her powers she never received a single wound. This heavily affected her mind causing her to develop a rivalry with Nami. In page 17 of chapter 71, D4 daydreams about a happy scene in which McPherson calls her by her real name, Emma (はエマ?), which is revealed by the poet.

Poet

The "Poet"'s (詩人 Shijin?) real name is Daniel Friedkin (ダン・フリードキン?). He possesses the same power as Katsumata and Yukie, since he also bears "a piece of the heart". He went under military protection in exchange for giving the military information on Comrades and is emotionally fragile. He was killed by Mitama and had his piece of the heart taken.

Other Characters

Yoko Kanou

Yoko Kanō (叶 陽子 Kanō Yōko?) is Taisuke's older sister. She works at his school as the nurse and often treats her brother, mostly because of his fights. After the death of their parents Yoko has to take care of her brother. She earns the money and pays for her brother's schooling. She makes Taisuke clean and cook for her as she says that she gets the money so he has to do chores. She is a very confident older sister that trusts her younger brother.

Megumi Ochiai

Megumi Ochiai (落合 恵 Ochiai Megumi?) is Taisuke's childhood friend. She has known him since his parent's death and has always been there for him. Megumi is quite loud and is easily angered. She has looked out for Hirose and Taisuke since an early age and sometimes comes to ask Taisuke's sister for help. Megumi seems to like Taisuke. She is later kidnapped and loses her memories. She manages to recover them one by one after seeing Taisuke again, yet she is later captured by Katsumata once more. Two years after the battle of Hirose and Taisuke, she is living with Katsumata and is the one responsible for Mitama. She believes that Mitama is a child and escorts her to the "heart" which she thinks is "medicine". She refuses to believe Hirose would be a murderer. Fans speculate that Megumi may have acquired unseen powers following the time leap, as Katsumata's control ability only works on fellow power users.

Ryou Fukiishi

Ryou Fukiishi (吹石 稜 Fukiishi Ryō?) is a truck driver that Taisuke encounters after just leaving his home in search of his friends. She leaves Yuta with her phone number so he can call her if he gets lonely as she bears a striking resemblance to Yuta's late mother. She has a husband and a daughter that she adores. She visits Taisuke's sister every year on his birthday.

Kyouko Amamiya and Masashi Oda

Kyouko Amamiya (雨宮 今日子 Amamiya Kyōko?) and Masashi Oda (小田 正志 Oda Masashi?) are reporters, chasing after Taisuke in order to investigate the strange happenings surrounding him. Kyouko Amamiya is eager to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Taisuke, whilst Masashi Oda is far more reluctant. Their interaction creates comic relief. Amamiya assumes the persona of "Rain" to attempt to gain more information, only to be stabbed and left for dead by McPhearson. She survives and is currently living with Oda and Anzu.

Reception

Script error About.com praised the series for its plot but criticized the overused character personalities. They gave the first volume a seven out of ten.[1] Mangalife said the same but also commented that Adachitoka's art fit well with the story.[2] In his appendix to Manga The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson describes Alive as "an above average" and "realistic" superhero story.[3]

References

External links

tl:Alive: The Final Evolution zh:ALIVE 最終進化的少年

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