Getting into (Heart) Gear

Is this the Next Big Thing???

Let sleeping giants lie, for if they wake, they’ll move the world…wait, that’s 2 quotes in one! (Source: Heart Gear ch. 1)

Maybe I just exaggerate my feelings when I’m in the middle of consuming a piece of media (anime/manga included, and especially when potential husbandos are involved), but Heart Gear – this new Manga Plus series I found – is really cool.

Basically, Heart Gear stars Lu, the only human in a world full of androids, Zett, an academic robot who resembles Baymax, and Chrome, a mysterious combat ‘bot. After Zett encounters a ginormous “Insane Unit” (which is exactly what it says on the tin) and is wrecked for his troubles, Chrome and Lu set off to restore him.

That sounds kind of simple, but it’s actually not. For one thing, it’s deep but not dense enough to lose the reader with questions of why we exist on this earth and what it means to be human, with the occasional shoutout to Asimov’s three laws. Since the work is set in a post-apocalyptic world and starring a girl, it’s worth drawing parallels from it to Girls’ Last Tour...but it obviously has more action and dudes, since it originally hails from Shonen Jump Plus.

Sidebar: I’m going to trial the “highlight for spoilers” thing that’s done on Anime News Network in the next section since this is really meant to act like an ad for the series, so please tell me if you don’t like it for whatever reason, okay?

Speaking of dudes…well, I did mention potential husbandos, right? After an early twist (if you really want to know, highlight here -> he has a much bulkier form at first, but then discards it for the more humanoid form), Chrome is revealed to be quite the looker, with hair that kind of makes him look like Decim from Death Parade. Lu herself is on the moe spectrum and overall the action is polished, with breathing room in panels for large canyons, towering opponents and lots of shiny detail contrasted with intricate linework. That last one’s basically no surprise, coming from the creator of Black Torch (Tsuyoshi Takaki) – Black Torch‘s forte was undoubtedly how it dealt with how Rago looked as a cat mononoke, with the black fur dissolving into smoke-like wisps. The colour pages are when you really get spoilt though – the eye for detail and the large panels must be a pain for the mangaka, but they’re a treat for the eyes when you see Lu contrasted against a giant, ruined robot for the opening spread in chapter 1, for instance (see image).

Arguably, all these connections I’m making to other works mean Heart Gear runs the risk of losing its lustre real fast in exchange for the real deal. Furthermore, we don’t actually know what “Heart Gear” means in the context of the series yet, although all the talk about what it means to live (and in the robots’ case, be programmed) for a single purpose…or even the talk about humanity and instinct…suggests it has something to do with that.

So, did the spoiler thing work out for you guys? Have any of you checked out Manga Plus, by the way? I feel like I’m the only one reading these series each week, so it feels kind of lonely…

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