Cagaster Vol 1 by Kachou Hashimoto
This story begins in the year 2125, years after a strange plague called Cagaster has broken out and wiped out 2/3rds of the human population. This plague turns infected humans into giant, human-eating bugs. Kidow is an exterminator, tasked with killings infected humans and bugs alike. On an expedition, Kidow stumbles upon a father and daughter who had been attacked by bugs. The father is past saving, but he makes Kidow promise to take his daughter back to the city, E-05. Kidow gets Ilie a job at the boarding house and restaurant where he stays, and the owner, Mario, quickly takes a liking to Ilie’s positive attitude. Mario sends Ilie on an errand that has her tangled with the Mouse Brigade, a band of orphans-turned-pick-pockets. Meanwhile, a dark and mysterious stranger is targeting exterminators and killing them in brutal ways, and Kidow might be the next target!
This was an interesting story to read in the middle of a pandemic. The intro world-building said that it took 2/3rds of the population to die before the human race decided to take action, which given the current state of tensions in the U.S., would be plausible. The kid gang is straight out of Oliver, and it's a little cliché. Kidow is the typical I'm-too-young-to-be-this-good hero, but he's more interesting than Ilie, and yet this volume focuses mainly on her. One character I did appreciate was Mario, the proprietor of the boarding house. In this futuristic world, trans people seem to not be ostracized, as Mario leads a successful establishment, and his patrons don’t seem to care about his appearance (other than one aside about “the cross-dresser”, but that was more for means of identification than used as a derogatory phrase). The illustrations are a little unpolished, but special detail is paid to character’s faces. Surroundings are a little under-drawn. Overall, the world has an interesting premise, but I'm not entirely sure what the main point of the story is going to be.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher.
Publisher: Diamond Books
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
ISBN: 9781950912070 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Action Adventure, Dystopian, Science Fiction
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