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Snowball Earth Volume 1 Review

Snow Ball Earth Volume 1 Cover

Publisher Summary


In the year 2025, huge beasts from beyond the galaxy attacked Earth. In the war that followed, humanity fought back with a giant robot named Yukio, piloted by Tetsuo Yabusame. As the massive alien swarm closed in on humanity’s homeworld, Tetsuo and the Earth Defense Force deployed for the final battle with the invading horde. They lost…


Yukio was destroyed in battle and Tetsuo survived in an escape pod. After eight years in cold sleep, the escape pod finally lands back on Earth. But when Tetsuo emerges he finds a world in ruins, entirely frozen beneath a blanket of ice and snow—snowball Earth! What happened to humanity, how did the planet freeze over, and will Tetsuo be able to keep his last promise to Yukio?


Story and Art by Yuhiro Tsujitsugu

Translation: Joe Yamazaki

Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Chi Wang I received Snowball Earth Volume 1 as an Advanced Review Copy from Viz Media in exchange for an honest review.

 

Background


Yuhiro Tsujisugu was born December 19th, 1994 in the Hyogo Prefecture. In 2013, he won the 86th Tezuka Award Honorable Mention With the series Gori Macho Heart while employed at a film company.


Snowball Earth went on to win the Spirits Award in 2019 and began it's serialization in Monthly Big Comic Spirits Magazine January 27th, 2021 with six volumes currently out in Japan.


The manga has received recommendations from Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid, Death Stranding), and ONE (Mob Psycho 100, One Punch Man)


On June 9th, 2023 Viz Media announced on X (Formally Twitter) that Snowball Earth will be published in English physically and digitally on April 16th, 2024

 

Review

a swarm of kaiju monsters heading their way to confront a robot and space ship in space

In the year 2025, earth encountered it's very first intergalactic threat through the form of kaiju attacks. To combat the swarms of kaiju, Humanity established a task force called The E-Ride who would design machines capable of fending off the threat. However through a series of events, a young boy encounters a new prototype robot and together begin to take up the mantle of being earth's biggest defense against the kaiju. Ten years later, we're brought to the final stand off against twenty thousand kaiju. It's told that if the operation were to fail, all of earth would be destroyed.


Tetsuo running to yukio in space

This is where we meet our Main Character Tetsuo and his robot companion Yukio. Tetsuo is someone who has a hard time socializing with others, but finds no problems talking to Yukio. Despite this, we're shown that Tetsuo values his relationships and will go beyond to maintain them. Yukio on the other hand doesn't express much, but wants the best for Tetsuo by giving him a safe space for him to express himself. Shortly after their meet up, the captain of the Intergalactic Cruiser: Erde explains the plan to both Yukio and Tetsuo on how they plan on eradicating the Kaiju threat once and for all with their new laser weapon.


With the plan in mind, Tetsuo and Yukio charge in head first to take on the threat while the Erde begins to charge up it's finishing blow. We get to see the how powerful of a combination Tetsuo and Yukio are as they make quick work in a series of attacks against the swarm. With everyone in awe inside the Erde, the preparations for the laser are complete and it's ready to fire. Only problem is... a technical glitch affected the ship's weapons and defenses. With little to no time to react the Kaiju immediately begin to attack the ship, Tetsuo and Yukio turn around and look with dread as they see the Erde blow up with ease. Unfazed by this, Tetsuo is determined to find any survivors of the attack and Yukio agrees. After a very intense fight we cut to Tetsuo and Yukio's last stand against the kaiju threat. After an emotional exchange between the two, it's decided that Yukio will self destruct wiping out the kaiju while Tetsuo escapes in a pod back to earth.


A beaten up Yukio surrounded by kaiju

After Yukio sacrificed themselves, Tetsuo begins to drift into a cold sleep as the pod makes it's way back to earth. Some time later he wakes up and begins to check on the status of earth, But weirdly he's not able to see any sort of visuals on his radar. Scared but determined to not let Yukio down, Tetsuo pushes ahead to open his pod to see the earth that he saved from the Kaiju threat. But as he opens the pod, it's not the modern full of life earth he was expecting. Instead, it's a snow covered environment with no living human insight for mile. And as the reality sets in that all that effort, that sacrifice did not help earth overcome the threat it was going through. Tetsuo now wonders how he's going to survive in this new Snowball Earth.


Tetsuo surrounded by a lot of snow and abandoned buildings

This has honestly been the most intensive first chapters I've read in a while. As I was reading through it, Yuhiro presented a lot of emotion and tension as each event played out. . The attacks performed by Yukio & Tetsuo had me excited that everything was going according to plan. The timing of the malfunctioning laser on the Erde gave you a sense of it oh it's about to get serious, but I'm sure Yukio & Tetsuo can figure it out. The sense of dread after witnessing the Erde fall to the Kaiju, but that sense of hope when Tetsuo still pushed on to complete the mission. The pulling of heartstrings during the final send off between Yukio and Tetsuo. To finally the big twist where Tetsuo comes to the realization that all that effort and sacrifice he encountered amounted to nothing as earth still got "destroyed". All of if was executed really well I feel like helped make this world feel grounded. Mind you, this all happens in the first chapter of this story and we're not even done with this review yet.


Tetsuo in shock that earth is frozen over and not lively as when he left

With that said, you can tell there was a lot of depth went into cementing Tetsuo's character. For example, although Tetsuo's struggle to make friends is played off as a joke, you can see that whenever he does make a connection with something: he holds it very close and will do everything to protect it. The backstory between Yukio's and Tetsuo's first encounter with each other, wanting to go back to the Erde even if it's destroyed to at least save a single person, making the promise to Yukio to make as many friends as possible. It just makes you want to root Tetsuo has he realizes that the world he thought he was protecting fell regardless of his actions. His determination is what leads us to the next few chapters in which Tetsuo is wondering the snow filled environment trying to learn and uncover what happened.


a tribesman lighting a candle made out of the fat from a kaiju

While the rest of the chapters in this volume don't quite match that same level of intensity as the first one. Akin to Fire Punch, we get to learn along side Tetsuo how did society adapt to this snowy environment. In which we learn very shortly after he accidently falls into a hole and takes out a kaiju that was about to eat him. This is where we get to meet our secondary cast of characters in the form of a human tribe. While the tribe was very skeptical of Tetsuo because of his lack of human interaction, they warm up to him as Tetsuo saves one of their kids from an falling icicle. As Tetsuo attempts to make contact with the tribe, he takes notice on how they treat the kaiju as another form of a resource.

It's not shortly after where something goes south and another Kaiju appears in the tunnels.


But something is different about this one compared to the other Kaiju Tetsuo has seen in his time fighting. From he, we begin to learn that the humans weren't the only beings that adapted to Snow Ball Earth and a new threat was brewing in the horizon as the volume ends at a cliff hanger.

I honestly had a hard time finding anything I didn't like about Snowball Earth. I "guess" as a nitpick I would have liked the flash back to Yukio & Tetsuo's first encounter presented earlier? But I can see why the author chose to present it this way.


An arm reaching out to grab the dead kaiju the tribesman and tetsuo killed
 

Final Thoughts


For some, the first chapter might be a bit much with the stuff it throws at you. But the payoff is WELL worth the rewards to help readers be sucked into the world of Snowball Earth that is well worth the praises it's gotten from  Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid, Death Stranding), and ONE (Mob Psycho 100, One Punch Man). I'm excited to see what else is instore for Tetsuo and Yukio in this frozen wasteland.


Verdict: Buy It


Snowball Earth Volume 1 from Viz Media is now available at all retailers

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