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Manga / World Embryo

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"So I woke up, and the world in front of my eyes was neither heaven nor hell, it was reality."

World Embryo is a manga by Moriyama Daisuke, creator of Chrono Crusade. It was serialized in Young King OURS from 2005 to 2014.

Riku Amami, your average Ordinary High-School Student, receives a message from his long-lost step-aunt, Amane. She asks him to meet her in the hospital he was hospitalized at several years ago, "Please Find Me" she says. When arriving there, he hears a woman scream. Thinking it is Amane, he instead finds a gang of criminal youths who are attempting to rape a girl. Meanwhile, his entrance into the hospital has been spotted by two other young people, Rena and Youhei. They save Riku from the criminal youth gang, who run off. Youhei is revealed to be one of Riku's old friends from the period he was hospitalized.

Suddenly, all mobile phones in the building ring. Riku tries to answer his, but is stopped by Rena and Youhei. The youth gang, whose leader was just phoning for reinforcements on his mobile phone, do move to answer their phones. Just then, their leader's eyes split vertically, the eye halves turning away from each other, while his body is shaking. The other gang members notice this and ask what is wrong.

Cue next scene where a horrible monster with the gang leader's transformed face shows up behind the window behind Riku. Holding the shredded corpse of another gang member. Rena and Youhei see this, and Riku turns around. Seeing the horrible creature, Riku screams in horror and flees, still holding his mobile phone. Youhei tells Rena to deal with the monster, called Kanshuu, and goes to look for Riku. He finds him, but they are attacked by more Kanshuus. Riku flees again as Youhei defends him. Elsewhere in the building, Riku is attacked by another Kanshuu and then finds a mysterious cocoon, which once Riku touches it promptly kills the Kanshuu. The next day Riku wakes up in his bed and wonders if it all was a dream. Then he spots the cocoon sitting next to his bed...

Later that day at school, Riku remembers what happened at the old hospital. Remembering the monsters, and thinking of the cocoon, he realizes it too could contain a monster. He goes home, only to find his step-mother cowering on the table holding a frying pan, because some horrible creature is wandering around. After some hijinks involving his step-mother and the cocoon, he touches it again, and something emerges from the cocoon. Not a monster, but a little girl closely resembling Amane when she was only a kid...

After that, he enters a world beyond the scope of memories, filled with sorrow and heartwarming moments, all leading up to the Embryo.

A character sheet is in the works.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Ultimately subverted. The fate of the world seems to rest on the Jinki users being used as pieces in what's basically a board game, but it turns out to be part of a different plot that hinges on gathering all of them together.
  • An Aesop: "The lies you tell end up hurting someone. And someday, they will come back to you."
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of Tougo's brother. He was trapped for years within the collective memories of death spilling out of the Embryo for trying to cut the cocoon out of Amane. Even though Arisugawa's master surrendered her Jinki to keep him alive, his mind experienced death constantly for years until it broke and his brother had to Mercy Kill him.
  • Berserk Button: Takao was the very picture of The Stoic; he fights and murders without the slightest change in expression. However, once Youhei asked him for a spare Jinki core to save Riku, he completely loses it. Since it would mean wasting his mother/Julie's life.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Riku's weapon changes into one after getting a second Jinki core. The sword guard detaches from the hilt and can be used as a dagger.
  • Big Sister Attraction: Riku thinks of his step-aunt Amane as an older sister and everyone who knew them considered them to be siblings. Riku confessed his feelings to Amane, and she told him she would decide what her answer is after she had done what she had to do. Which never happens due to her disappearance.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Japanese, Cage is written as Keiji. The characters used to write keiji have to do with the sphere of consciousness that resonates within a person.
  • Covert Pervert:
    • Shizuru, starting with Riku and Neene's shower scene: after suggesting Riku might be a paedophile, she suddenly bursts into the bathroom when Riku throws water over Neene's head, suggesting she has been listening at the door the whole time.
    • Ms. Suzu, Hayato's maid. She blushes when talking about Hayato's bath, and has some other little slips when take care of him.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-universe example: Takao. He reportedly killed seven people on a train to try out his new sword and killed fifty of his schoolmates during his graduation ceremony... and he's extremely popular among the netizens and the teenagers.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes a hell of a lot of work, and he ends up becoming an enemy to the world for a time, but Riku manages to save both Neene and Arisugawa at the very end of the series.
  • Foreshadowing: Whenever Neene has dreams of her ascending some stairs, Amane pulls her back. Similarly, when Ende tries to deny Neene's access to the embryo, Amane appears, and Ende is visibly shocked. Cue chapter 72, with the revelation that Amane is the third, true Coffin Princess.
  • Freak Out:
    • Being betrayed by Takao is the last straw of Shirou Karasawa's mind; he decided then that all Humans Are Bastards and begins his plan to destroy Hatsumi Island.
    • Years later, Shirou returns the favor by framing Takao as a murderer, ensuring sure that the poor boy won't be able to lead a normal life ever again, leading Takao to freak out.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Rena blushes and panics when Ms. Suzu notices Rena is holding Riku's hand in Volume 3 and say they appear to be good friends.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rena has one when she sees Yohei's mortal remains. Cue attempt to choke Riku, who had to kill Yohei after he turned into a Kanshuu after transferring his Jinki to Riku.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted when Hayato hacks into the NEFT's network. It takes time and the data download is not completed.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon:
    • Riku's Jinki is a sword which would put Ichigo to shame - combined with a chainsaw. Then it combined with another Jinki core, turning it into a sword and tonfa combination.
  • Clara's weapon is a go-kart/helicopter flail.
  • It's All My Fault: Riku never says it aloud, but he realizes that almost every bad thing that happened to his loved ones is his fault and goes into a Heroic BSoD.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Riku figures out that Evil!Nenee needs him alive in order to be able to access the power of the Embryo, so he takes advantage of this by bartering with his own life.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After a 9-chapter-long flashback, one character complains, "Feels like you've been telling that story for at least 9 months."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Karasawa only wanted to revive Ende in order to reunite with Sayoko. He ends up killing countless civilians, turning people into Kanshu, and inducing Lost Rebound in their relatives to do it.
  • Obliviously Evil: Grown-up!Neene doesn't really understand the consequences about taking people's Jinki's core. To make it worse, it seems that the entities that communicate with her this whole time is only concerned about reviving the embryo, consequences to humanity be damned.
  • Refusal of the Call: In actuality, there are many more Jinki users than the ones at NEFT; it's just that they chose to remain indifferent to the Kanshuu. The risk of being hunted down by Takao may also be the reason.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Kyuukis, or Coffin Princesses. Born by imprinting a dead person onto a cocoon, they grow into a clone of the said person that grows quickly and gains memories of the people they copied by eating other people memories.
  • Reunion Kiss: Neene forcefully kisses on Riku upon reuniting with him in her adult form. Unlike most examples, this is played for squick value, especially since she has yet to switch to Amane's mentality by that point, and Riku and the audience has come to think of the relationship between the two as that of father and daughter.
  • Ship Sinking: So you've started shipping Riku/Yui? Too bad Yui turns out to be a Takao Fangirl. Started shipping Takao/Yui? Too bad she ends up dying...
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cage (shield) resembles an AT field from Neon Genesis Evangelion when it deflects a hit.
    • Later on, Neene is watching the anime version of Daisuke Moriyama's previous manga Chrono Crusade on TV.
    • Some of the Kanshuu shown in the background of Riku's story attempt at diverting Yui from Takao (which backfires spectacularily) ressemble Ultraman characters.
  • The Singularity: What Amane-nee's goal was. Gather everyone's memory from all over the world and ascend to the embryo before the world is flooded.
  • Super-Senses: The cage essentially provides additional sight outside the Jinki user or Kanshuu's body.
  • The Dreaded: Takao as the Jinki Hunter. He has a great deal of the 30+ Jinki Users too scared to leave their homes.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor Riku. A classmate dies as a result of his lies, which gets him to start doubting his actions and lose control of his emotions. Then Neene disappears in front of his eyes, protecting him and Rena, just as he realizes how precious she is to him, not as a means of bringing Amane back but as Neene herself. After that, Karasawa indulges him in a little information via flashback - that he and Riku were pretty much identical to each other. This breaks him even further, compounded with the grief from having lost Neene. He bounces back a bit after returning, though, in which he then gives up on Amane and decides to embrace his present, especially the people important to him now. Nanami, the one who made him have that realization, then dies, and he and Rena arrive on the scene just long enough to see her body disintegrate to dust, save her decapitated head. Intent on having his revenge, he chases after the Kanshuu responsible, only to stumble onto a very much alive and older Neene - who is then taken over by Amane, and is revealed to be a Coffin Princess. Even worse, Amane reveals to him that everything up until that point was thanks to Riku's actions after having received Amane's text message calling out to him - and because of that, indirectly or directly, he was responsible for all the deaths and destruction that have occurred. Poor kid just can't catch a break.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Neene and Kanshuu/Jinki Riku's ears. The first time anyone at NEFT mentions Neene's extra ears is when she's stuck in an MRI machine, but they're obvious any time she isn't wearing a hat. This is especially bizarre considering NEFT was scrambling to figure out the source of infection when Riku was still a Kanshuu-thing, when he and Neene had the same peculiar ears on their heads in the middle of a heavily monitored anti-Kanshuu safe room. Probably working as intended, however, as it has since been revealed that Neene can make you forget that you're looking at her while you're staring at her.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Invoked. The chief gives Riku a lecture on how the non-Jinki users also have names and faces, and asks him to remember their sacrifices.
  • Yandere: A rare male example: Riku, concerning Amane. A classmate who spoke bad of her ended up in hospital after Riku had a Heroic BSoD.