Every now and then, when I’m browsing for new media to enter my brain hole, I come across a title that has managed to capture my interests by just viewing the cover art. This creates enough intrigue from a single piece of artwork that I subsequently purchase and commit to the whole series. Although I have sometime despised purchasing in this superficial manner, I have often come across new media that have since become my favourites. I feel the latter point is true with Soul Liquid Chambers.
What Is It?
Soul Liquid Chambers is a post-apocalyptic action horror manga, written and illustrated by Nozomu Tamaki, most known for his bestselling series Dance in the Vampire Bund. The story follows a young girl with prosthetic limbs and a tragic past who wanders a zombie-ridden 23rd century earth now known as ‘Death’s Amusement Park’. Overrun by monsters, the post apocalyptic wasteland is the last place a little girl should call home, but she has developed a unique coping mechanism.
What Did I Like About It?
Soul Liquid Chambers has a beautifully stylized story. It paints a very vivid depiction of a post-apocalyptic landscape, the struggles of living inside a densely populated city and the impossibility of traversing the wastelands where the undead roam.
Classism is a common theme throughout the story: while zombies are at the top of the food chain, the surviving population is forced to desperately subsist in the few remaining towns with power and defences. The rich and influential have laid claim to this infrastructure as their own, leaving the remaining few in a state of poverty and hunger. Death and brutality are commonplace in this world savaged by the undead.
The introduction of Soul Liquid is an interesting concept on the age-old trope of eternal life, it has a intentionally sci-fi feel that is fitting to the story but still feeds into the human greed that is associated with it in other media. While the elite live an life of secure luxury, the unfortunate are forced to live in the outskirts of town with less defences, often forced to scavenging zombie meat just to keep themselves from starving to death.
Soul Liquid Chambers has a delightful cast of unique characters introduced over the series, they all have their own individual style and charm but Luise is standout from the rest. She is very reminiscent of other strong female characters in media, one example that comes to mind is Remi from Black Lagoon. With their fiery attitude and maniacal bloodlust, they share similar characteristics to each other. The manga artwork gives these characters a unique look which is easy to follow throw the carnage it portrays. With some characters having disembodied voices, the use of stylised text boxes helps to emphasize this and doesn’t lead to any confusion.
What Didn’t I Like About It?
Soul Liquid Chambers‘ story moves at a break-neck pace, minimal breathing room between big action scenes. The story would have benefited from being slowed down with more character backstory and a clearer look at their place in this wasteland. This would orchestrate a more pleasant structure and require less of a need to dump exposition on the reader.
Without divulging spoilers, the ending isn’t definitively conclusive in the finish and is consequently open-ended. This should conclude that Nozomu Tamaki is planning to continue this story, but with over five years having passed since the release of the last volume, there is no mention of work continuing on the story. Although Nozomu continues work on his other projects, it is unknown whether the story will be continued or left in the current, ambiguous state.
Where Can I Find It?
All three volumes of Soul Liquid Chambers were released in the West by Seven Seas Entertainment and are available on their website or via conventional online outlets such as Amazon (no affiliate link).
Soul Liquid Chambers is a kaleidoscope of colour and violence – incredible, saturated cover artwork and an unnerving approach to the brutality displayed. This manga still deserves to be enjoyed despite its open ending. Amusingly presented with humorous characters, witty back-and-forth dialogue and plenty of pop culture references throughout, I can only hope the author will come back to the story and give it a more satisfying conclusion. Even with the story shortcomings, this is still a great series to start if you enjoy post-apocalyptic settings, lots of violence sprinkled with dark humour.