The first seventy-two pages of this volume have something you don’t normally see a lot of in manga: COLOR. Artist Kenji Tsuruta painted these pages himself and they look pretty great. It’s a lush vision of a rural mountain area which has an inn and a pond nearby. It’s by this pond that Atsushi, who looks to be barely into his teens, encounters Emanon. Naked. He winds up stripped in short order as well, subsequent to falling into the pond after thinking the title character is a kappa. If a woman and a boy hanging out together naked sounds a bit creepy, rest assured that Tsuruta plays this as clean as he can. I can’t quite say that it’s wholesome, but even if we see a lot of Emanon without her clothes in this opening section it never comes off as the kind of skeevy pandering fanservice that series like “Murcielago” and “Prison School” always traffic in. Which is all the better for enjoying the lush mountain and forest vistas the artist conjures up.
What’s the story of this first section, I hear you ask? Emanon has come back to pick up some seeds. She also tells Atsushi about herself and how she’s carrying the memory of millions of years along with her. So yeah, it’s a good thing the art in that section is nice enough to hold your attention because the story won’t be doing that. In fact, the main narrative of this series is only marginally better compared to the first volume. That’s down to what we see in the first part of “Emanon Wanderer ‘67” as the title character comes face-to-face with her brother. She’s wondering why he exists when she’s never had one in all the previous generations. So she winds up being pretty straightforward and frank with him about her circumstances and what happened to their mother. To say that her brother doesn’t take this well would be an understatement. It’s bad news for Emanon, but good news for the reader as her brother’s anger signals a spark of life in this otherwise listless yet good-looking series.