Variante

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Variante - requiem for the world
Variante-1.jpg
Cover of the first Variante manga volume
Variante -ヴァリアンテ-
(Variante)
Genre Horror, Mystery
Manga
Written by Iqura Sugimoto[1]
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
English publisher United States CMX Manga
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Monthly Dragon Age
Original run 20042006
Volumes 4
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Variante - requiem for the world (Variante -ヴァリアンテ-?) is a Japanese horror manga by Iqura Sugimoto.[1] The manga focuses on Hosho Aiko, a girl who is brought back to life by the left arm of a "Chimera", a grotesque human-derived species that can drastically alter the shape of their own body parts.[citation needed]

Story[edit]

Hosho Aiko should be dead. To be precise, when she came back home one day, she found her entire family slaughtered by a grotesque monster. The creature attacked and killed her as well, but she finds herself awakening in a mysterious room, taken care of by Dr. Kochigawa. She has amnesia, but when another monster appears before her in her room, she regains her memories and her left arm changes into a powerful weapon, very similar to that of the monster, which she destroys.

As soon as she realizes what has happened, she only thinks to die and reach her parents, but something inside her still wants to live. She learns that the monsters are called Chimera, and that her arm is made of the very same substance as the monsters (a Chimera arm). People from the secret organization Atheos ask her to fight the Chimaira for them.

Unable to cope with this, she runs away to her best friend, Takashima Sachiyo, but terrorizes the latter when her arm kills Sachiyo's dog (on its own initiative). Initially, Sachiyo runs away, only to find Sudo, who informs her of Aiko's conditions. Sachiyo returns to find Aiko and the two share a moment together, before Sachiyo is killed by a Chimera, and Aiko can do nothing more than to avenge her. Aiko initially refuses to fight, rather becoming a guinea pig for Atheos, but with Sudo's help, she understands how much she wants to live and joins Atheos in order to find a place where she belongs.

After joining Atheos, Aiko helps battle the Chimeras, fighting her third one down in a subway, where she shows first signs of being psychologically unstable and had thought herself to have eaten it before Sudo comes to rescue her. Sudo reassures her that she hadn't. After that battle, Aiko asks Kochigawa why Sudo is not afraid of her. Kochigawa relays the question to Sudo, who answers that he is indeed afraid of her.

Sudo remains as the closest person to Aiko, actively taking part in her missions and supporting her. He is alerted by a mysterious person of the existence of a girl named "Nana", about whom Sudo reacts with shock. It is revealed that Nana was a girl Sudo had found sitting before his house and had taken her in, only to discover that she was a Chimera and had killed her. But because of his awareness, he is hired by Atheos at a young age and his sickly mother is kept in Atheos's hospital, serving also as a bargaining chip to keep him in Atheos. Sudo leaves to find the present Nana in Code045, an experimental facility in a rundown hospital in the mountains. On the other side, Aiko is sent there on orders to kill a Chimera, feeling uneasy without Sudo's presence. They find Sudo held by the Chimera, Nana, who attacks them. Sudo asks Aiko to destroy the two together, as to kill Nana would hurt him and to leave Nana would mean in his being devoured, but she pulls him out of Nana, telling him to live. Nana is killed in the process, and Sudo is fired from the case for his actions and is put on house arrest.

During another mission, Aiko reels from a terrible revelation: Chimeras were originally human beings. Although her arm kills the Chimera against her will, Aiko falls into a catatonic-like state, hiding within herself, to the frustration of Atheos. Meanwhile, Sudo realizes that he is followed by men sent by Atheos, but a van stops him in his tracks and he is kidnapped. He finds himself kidnapped by the same man who had informed him of Nana's existence, Yujiro Sera. Sera reveals that Chimera were results from experiments to find an antibody that would be impervious to all kinds of diseases. The bodies rejecting the antibody became violently twisted, resulting in their monstrous forms. Several Chimeras had escaped; therefore, Atheos's current aim is to recover them all. Sera also reveals that Nana had been captured after her "death" for breeding. Atheos planned to improve upon the current Chimeras to transform them into weapons. Sera plans to expose Atheos to the public, and upon Sudo's request for reason, claims that they had stolen "something precious" from him. Sudo realizes that Aiko may become subject to the same fate of Nana and makes a deal with Sera: he will cooperate with Sera's plan, but wants Sera's help with saving Aiko.

The Executive Board of Atheos desires to take Aiko for purely researching intentions and frames Director Okuda as the one responsible of all the attacks on public property (actually done by Chimeras). Aiko is revealed to be the child of one of the previous generation of test subjects; her father had fled the facility and transformed into a Chimera, killing her human mother without meaning to. His body returned to normal and, after Aiko's adoption into the Hosho family, desired to wish her a happy birthday. However, he'd lost control and killed the family. His left arm that had torn off merged with Aiko, reviving her. Aiko feels a sense of comfort, realizing her father's left arm had been protecting her all along. Meanwhile, Sera and Sudo put their plan into action, sneaking into the facility where Aiko is located. They find her in a room with Chimera samples and her body on an altar. Sera tells Sudo to take Aiko while he stays behind to gather data, but is interrupted by an armed Kochigawa, who tells Sudo to wake Aiko now. She finds herself too at gunpoint by Sera, who reveals his true identity as Yuji Oumi, an ex-member of Atheos's intelligence division. Sera intends to shoot Kochigawa to save her from her sins, but is interrupted by armed forces and Director Okuda, who tells Sudo to wake Aiko. He had realized that Aiko cares for Sudo and tortures Sudo before her eyes, but she does not respond until Director Okuda informs Sudo of his mother's death and Sudo cries out in shock.

Okuda reveals his intentions to use Aiko to give birth to a "Goddess" who will renew the human race. His hate for the current human race was spurned by his father, who was a scientist of war; enemy soldiers had broken into Okuda's home and killed his mother before his eyes. His father gave up his part as a war scientist and began to research an antibody, which resulted in the creation of Chimeras. Sudo criticizes Okuda's scheme and Okuda shoots him, but Aiko's Chimera arm intercepts the bullet, before telling Okuda that she will kill him if he proceeds to steal anything precious from her (referring to Sudo). The Executive Board sends in an army at this moment to destroy Okuda's plans, giving Sudo and Aiko a chance to escape. An explosion takes place and Sudo's chief saves Sudo and Aiko from falling, before explaining to Sudo that his mother had simply died from her disease. They proceed to escape together towards the surface. Kochigawa and Sera, on the other hand, remain in the room where Kochigawa reveals the Goddess to be her sickly mother whom Okuda had given Chimera treatment, and Okuda to be her father who had killed her mother, though planned to resurrect her. The first human Okuda hated had been his father, and she tells him ironically, that the first human she hated was her own father, too, and proceeds to shoot him. She traps herself in the room, telling Sera that she'd set the facility to self-destruct and that she plans to stay with her dead father, who couldn't bear to be alone.

Sudo, Aiko, and the Chief escape to the surface, but encounter Chimera soldiers who shoot Aiko. However, Sudo takes the blows and dies in Aiko's arms, shortly before he tries to kiss her. Aiko goes berserk, killing the soldiers as the Chief holds Sudo's body, watching. The building self-destructs, and Aiko loses consciousness. She wakes up alone, having lost her left arm and both legs. The story ends with the public informed of Atheos and the Chimeras, and Aiko in a heavily populated area. Someone calls her name, and she turns around with a smile.

Characters[edit]

Hosho Aiko

The protagonist of the story, a 16 year old girl who is murdered but revives to find herself with a strange left arm. She initially wants to die and join her foster parents, but is convinced by Sudo to live and find a new place where she can belong. She constantly depends on Sudo for support during her missions and feels unsafe without him, as is implied during the mission to destroy Nana. Although she hated her left arm for being a Chimaira, she finds out in a dream later that her left arm belonged to her father, who had been given Chimaira treatment. Feeling comforted, she emboldens her resolution to not become a monster and uses her arm only to protect what she feels is precious. Throughout the entire story, she maintains a close relationship with Sudo and it is heavily implied that they care for one another. She and Sudo betray the organization later and she lives through the self-destruction.

Sudo Hiromi

A member of Atheos initially with a band around his head. He is not very deeply informed about Atheos's goal but proceeds to work there, as his mother is being treated at Atheos's hospital in return for his job. He has had previous experience with Chimairas, the first one he meets being Nana. Unaware of what she really is, she tells him that she is being chased and he vows to protect her, though he goes back on that promise when she awakens as a Chimaira and he shoots her. Deeply passionate in what he does, he supports Aiko from the moment he meets her, seeing a bit of resemblance to Nana. However this passionate support changes into protectiveness and finally to love. Sudo is always wanting to see her smile, making a promise with her just before his death. He is always there for her during her missions and finally there to block her from a rain of bullets. He seemingly attempts to kiss her before falling limp in her arms once more but appears again when she wakes up near death and ruffles her hair.

Kochigawa

A member of Atheos and one of the masterminds behind the entire Atheos project. Aiko first encounters her in her Atheos room under her care. To Aiko, Kochigawa first appears as a cold hearted woman with only her goals in mind. Ruthlessly sending Aiko on life threatening missions, Kochigawa only analyzed Aiko based on convenience and usefulness. When Aiko became useless to the Atheos organization, Kochigawa turned her in to Director Okuda. It turns out much later that Kochigawa's mother was Director Okuda's wife and was administered Chimaira treatment. However when her mother evolved into one, she was killed by Okuda. Since then, Kochigawa has hated her father and desired to revive her mother, together with Okuda, thus using Aiko for that purpose. When her plan was realized by a close associate, Yuji Oumi, she ignored his pleas to flee with her, which resulted in Oumi's being killed, although this was later proved to be false. Having met Oumi again changed her perspective on things and she sided with the protagonists, killing her father and committing suicide, shutting herself in the self-destructing facility.

Director Okuda

One of the Executive Board members and a mastermind behind the entire revival project. Okuda is often described as a heartless man, which is proven with his aggression towards Aiko when she becomes reclusive. He hates humans, the first human he ever hated being his father, as he blames him for the reason that his mother was killed. Okuda claims to only care for two people in the world, his mother and Kochigawa's mother, which was the reason for his obsessive desire to revive her. For this reason, Okuda is willing to use Aiko in order to revive her, but his plan is foiled by his own daughter who shoots him before committing suicide.

Chimaira

Originally humans who were administered Chimaira treatment. Director Okuda's father was the reason behind their existence, as his wife was killed for his having developed nuclear weapons, he became determined to create a foil of such, which were omnipotent antibodies. However his own plan failed when the tested human bodies rejected the antibodies in such violent manners that they became monster-like. Aiko first encounters one in her foster family's house, though she discovers much later that it was actually her father, who had fled a long time ago along with several others from the Atheos facility in an unexplained explosion.

Reception[edit]

In Jason Thompson's online appendix to Manga The Complete Guide, he regards the protagonist's "emo and paralyzed by doubt" nature as being due to the influence of Neon Genesis Evangelion on manga and anime.[2]

  • [3] Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  • [1] Retrieved February 13, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gifford, Kevin. "Variante Vol. 1". Newtype USA. 6 (10) p. 103. October 2007. ISSN 1541-4817.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Interview: Iqura Sugimoto". Anime News Network. 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  2. ^ "365 Days of Manga, Day 16: Variante". Suvudu. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  3. ^ Variante Volumes 1-4 at Popcultureshock.com

External links[edit]