When I was preparing to read Giga #1, with my notebook out and pen in hand, I thought that I was probably the wrong person for it. The giant robot that I am most familiar with is probably Optimus Prime; the giant monster that I am most familiar with is Clifford the Big Red Dog. I have not watched a single episode of a mech anime in my life. I thought I would be totally out of my depth.
For the record, I was wrong. Giga is a comic that, yes, has giant robots, and make no mistake, giant robots are a big part of the comic. But it’s not really about giant robots (and, so far, there have been no giant monsters.)
But what Giga is really about is religion, and faith. It’s about symbiosis and cooperation, poverty and stratification, and the way that mechanical creations and nature co-exist. It has the trappings of a giant robot story, to be sure, and they are very cool giant robots. But the giant robots are so far just set decoration.
Giga is set in a world where, in the distant past, a series of giant robots unsurprisingly called Gigas went to war with each other. Having mostly killed each other, the giant robots shut themselves off, and humanity, with the permission of said robots, set up cities in the ruins of the robots. Knees and legs became apartment buildings, heads became temples, and a whole scavenging economy began around looting the corpses of dead giant robots. A theocratic government known as the Order rules from the main city.
It’s a world that feels, to use an overused term, lived in. Even with the very much fantastical nature of the world, and the obviously unrealistic premise of the setting, it has a serious sense of verisimilitude. And, even more importantly, the emotional resonance between our main character and the people he meets feel real.
It seems, actually, very reminiscent of another Vault book, No One’s Rose. Once again, just an absolutely fantastical world, with some really high concept science fiction baked in to the premise – but the real core of the book is some serious, very real-feeling emotional bonds between the characters. The art, too, strikes a very solid middle-ground between realistic and manga-inspired.
I am really interested in where the book goes next, and I strongly encourage all of you to pick it up.
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