7SEEDS 1 (Japanese) by Yumi Tamura: B+

Book description:
The last thing Natsu remembers is going to sleep in her own bed. She awakes on a sinking ship in the company of three strangers, each with no memory of how they got there. After managing to reach a deserted island, the four need to overcome their differences and work together to find out about the inhospitable, strange island where nature appears totally out of balance. What happened? How did they get there? And will they be able to survive?

Yumi Tamura’s Basara is one of my favorite manga series, so I was really interested in reading 7SEEDS, a series she began in 2002.

The premise is an interesting one, though comparisons with the TV show Lost are probably inevitable. This first volume mainly covers the four castaways exploring the island, discovering that most living things—animal, plant, or insect—really really want to eat them, and being suspicious of one another.

The heroine of the piece is Natsu, and she’s a little annoying so far, as she’s very timid and seemingly unable to think for herself. There’s two guys—the nice Arashi and the not-nice Semimaru—who are both really afraid of bugs. My favorite character so far is the ruthlessly practical Botan, who seems to have more of an idea of what’s going on than any of the others.

Tamura does well with dramatic moments—the frequency of thunderstorms on the island helps to furnish ominous lightning as needed—and it’s never dull, though it’s pretty much just setup so far. The art is essentially unchanged from Basara and though Arashi looks a great deal like Shuri and Natsu like Kikune, they’re still distinct enough in expression that I don’t think one would confuse them. I really like how Botan is drawn; her competence just radiates.

I’m sure Basara wasn’t a hot seller for Viz, but I hope they or some other company will license 7SEEDS for American release someday. We need more good sci-fi shoujo!

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