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Fool Night Volume 1 Review

Fool Night Volume 1 Cover art

Publisher Summary


The earth of the distant future is covered in thick clouds, and the sun no longer shines. Plants wither, and oxygen is thin. To fight extinction, humankind has developed a technology that turns humans into plants, providing a small amount of oxygen. Is this process sustainable? Is it ethical? Toshiro Kamiya must consider these questions as he’s faced with a difficult choice—save his family or save himself. Kamiya is at the end of his rope. His mother is ill, and his job barely pays for her medication, much less food. With few options left, he considers the life-changing process of transfloration. Ready to give his body up for a payday, Kamiya is about to explore the limits of society’s waning humanity.


Author: Kasumi Yasuda

Translation: Casey Loe

Touch-Up & Lettering: Snir Aharon


I received as an Fool Night Volume 1 Advanced Review Copy from Viz Media in exchange for an honest review.

 

Background


Kasumi Yasuda was born in Hyogo Prefecture located in Japan. After being selected for the 76th for the selected for the 76th Shogakukan New Comic Award in the Seinen Category.


He started his first serialization in Manga Oukoku Magazine with Denpa Seinen. Fool Night is his breakout series that serialized in Big Comic Superior November 13th, 2020.


Viz Media announced on October 13th, 2023 that has licensed the series for an English Print & Digital Release June 18th, 2024

 

Review


two kids walking through an underpass with humans in the background in a plant form

In this world, thick clouds blotted out the sun's light for over a century, causing the earth's oxygen to be scarce. To combat this, humanity created a technology named "Transfloration". It's a procedure that imbeds seeds into the body. Over time, it turns the patient into a plant-like entity called a "Soulflora." Due to the nature of the procedure, only a select few can undergo it. If chosen, they get a ten million yen (no strings attached). Which, for some, is life-changing money. We're introduced to our protagonist, Kamiya. A high school dropout struggling to make ends meet and afford his mother's medication.


a factory worker getting yelled at for not completing his work

Things take a turn after Kamya loses his job and runs low on his mom's medication. With these in mind, he chooses to undergo the "transfloration" procedure. When he recovers, he discovers that he is able to hear the sounds a "Soulflora" makes. He is able to decipher them into tangible words. With this newly found ability, Kamiya takes on the role of a government worker to help solve "Soulflora"-realized cases. However, after taking on a case in which he's tasked with locating a missing person's "Soulflora," Kamiya finds himself uncovering a grand scheme that pushes beyond what's currently known about "Transfloration" and his own abilities to decipher a "Soulflora's" feelings and emotions.



Fool Night's narrative carries a lot of "emotional" weight from the moment you open the page. Witnessing Kamiya's life go from "barely scraping by" to "rock bottom" in a matter of seconds sets the tone for what's to come. Everything that's shown feels grounded and authentic, from Kamiya's reasoning to take on "Transfloration" to the side characters that are introduced later on, like his childhood friend Yomiko Hourai. Compared to Kamiya, Yomiko is more "well-off," but they still have their own reservations regarding the transfloration procedure and those who partake in it. To Kamiya, Yomiko is the 'older sibling' role model, but not everything Yomiko says Kamiya takes to heart and dismisses their concerns for his own benefit. Everyone involved is doing what they can to survive in an oxygen-deprived world, and sometimes those decisions aren't the "morally correct" ones. For example, even though Kamiya's "reasoning" for wanting transfloration makes sense, he lied about his symptoms to get to the top of the list.


a cityscape covered in vegetation

What helps add to the emotional weight felt in this story is Fool Night's art style. It's a dystopian version of oxygen-deprived Japan. It immediately caught my attention on the first page. It's paneling at times felt like I was watching a movie unfold through manga format. When the story showcases the end result of a completed "transfloration," each design feels crafted with intention as everyone blooms into a different flower that still has some human resemblance. Coupled with how expressive the characters are during dialogue moments, this helps maintain the "seriousness" tone of the manga. The best example of everything working together to create this emotional narrative can be found when we're thrown into Kamiya's first case.


a humanoid flower

Kamiya is asked to help pianist Sumi Matsuno locate her father's spiriflor, as it helped pay for Sumi's tuition. However, after he left to get the procedure, Sumi never saw her father again. Yomiko shows empathy and wants to help Sumi locate her father, while Kamiya dismisses Sumi's request as a "Rich Kid's Problem." As Kamiya walks out of the station, he catches Sumi on the staircase, and the two talk. It starts off with the two bantering back and forth, but then later it's revealed that Sumi wanted to locate her father's spiriflor to burn it due to her father's abusive behavior throughout her childhood. Kamiya agrees, and the two find the location of her father. As Sumi pulls out her lighter to start burning the spiriflor, Kamiya stops her and asks to speak with her father with his ability. From here, we see Kamiya act as the middle man as Sumi and her father exchange their feelings and emotions. At first, Sumi's father didn't understand where Sumi was coming from and stood his ground on his methods. He comes to realize the errors of his ways and apologizes to Sumi. And while Sumi was not willing to accept her father's apology, she came to forgive him and decided not to burn her father's spirit, thus wrapping up the case. At every moment throughout this case, everything felt like it was carefully crafted to evoke an engaging emotional tale from start to finish. The pacing was solid, and nothing felt out of place.


two people standing infront of a big tree

After finishing volume 1, I immediately went to the Viz App (Which you can read upto chapter 35 before it has a gap in chapters) to continue reading Fool Night as I genuinely was hooked into this narrative world and I want to see what else is instore for Kamiya if each case is going to have the same display of strong emotions as Sumi's did. Which I can say without going into spoilers that they do.


 

Final Thoughts


I really enjoyed Fool Night, it's oxygen deprived dystopian hooked me into the world and it's strong emotional narrative kept me interested as Kamiya navigates through this with the limited time he has left. This felt like reading a movie and I highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a story with striking visuals and narrative to complement it.


Verdict: Buy It


Fool Night Volume 1 from Viz Media is now available at all Retailers


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