As anime fans, we’ve always had that feeling of when we wanted more of a story, right? Especially when an adaptation of something ends too quickly for us or we are left with a massive cliff hanger and we never get more? Well, elDLIVE was definitely one of those for me. As you can see right in this link, I watched elDLIVE way back in 2017 and found it pretty fun. It’s not every day that you get to see a space based shonen battle series come to life because there hasn’t been one since DBZ. It wasn’t the best, but there was enough interesting things going on that I wanted to know more about. When I saw that the elDLIVE manga on the shonen jump app, I knew I had to read it eventually. Well, it happened. I did it. Can you tell how excited I am? You would be wrong.
elDLIVE is manga about Chuta Kokonose. A young boy who has been traumatized since a young age ever since a major incident happened while he was playing with his friends around a mountain. He lost every single one of them, or so we think, in a major accident. Plus, a voice in his head suddenly started talking to him all the time with no stops. This is the real point where Chuta starts losing any friends he’s ever had because no one else can hear the voice he can. Chuta quickly gains a reputation as a person who is creepy and only talks to himself. This major incident really seemed like it broke him. It’s pretty interesting and powerful material which really drives you into being on Chuta’s side when the whole world seems to be against him.
We start our journey quite a while after that major incident happened. You know, when Chuta is a middle schooler without any major friends because of his continuous voice and talk pushing people away. One day, Chuta is invited by alien to join the space police by a blue alien and his life changes a lot. For starters, the girl he has a crush on with the bad attitude (Mizusu Sonokata) is also working for the space police. Also, the voice that was talking to him was an alien (surprise). Rare alien called the Monitalien (whose name is Dolugh) that most people can’t connect to. Something that rarely talked to people making Chuta feel special in a unique way. There was a lot of solid character writing here which made elDLIVE feel interesting and somewhat unique to other shonen stories.
With all that said, I think the most interest parts of the manga were the parts the anime covered. You know, the portion where Chuta is introduced into the galactic space organization, has to learn how he has to merge with Dolugh to use abilities, and introduce a fun cast of people on a space ship. Chief Lain and his troops seems like interesting and unique people with fun character designs and quirks who we can learn to really like. Plus, we see the effects of him having this job on Chuta’s mental health at school by gaining friends. I should also mention the hook of his friends actually being alive and the appearance of an enemy group, Demille, who our protagonist has to fight while Chuta has a contact with someone on the inside of that group. A lot possibility was presented for the series could have been and should have been.
The sad part of the second half of elDLIVE (plus, possibly a little before that) is that the manga isn’t interested in anything it established in any way. You know about the organization that I mentioned, Demille? Yeah, most of them get eliminated off screen/page. You know about Chuta’s friends? Chuta never meets with them after one meeting and they all seem to be at the right moment at the right time to help out. There was something here that caused a major course change that I didn’t like. Almost like the manga just becoming harder and edgier because of a time crunch or something. All of that resulting in a lot decisions that I honestly hate because they had no actual weight to them at all on any level.
The cast of the ship we were presented with were “killed off” and pushed to the side for the rest of the manga until the ending epilogue where they just sit in front of space computers. It’s really hard to care about a cast that you barely knowing anything about except basic things. Same with our characters just getting stronger. A lot of elDLIVE’s world and powers revolves around SPF or smells. Our tortious training arc was people mentally fighting for their own life before opening up an organ that allows them to become stronger. That SPF Organ. Something that doesn’t mean much because even the lovely cast that follows Chuta around get pushed to the sides anyway. elDLIVE runs through the standard shonen gambit of lessening the important people and training in a very quick amount of time. It’s really frustrating. I haven’t even talked about everything that bothered me.
I do have to say something about the art behind elDLIVE. The manga is from the character designer behind Psycho Pass, Akiro Amano was this manga’s mangaka. It’s crazy to look at a lot of this manga because an evil version of Akane Tsunemori except not really because not many of them have that much characterization behind them besides evil and flirty towards Chuta. That’s it. The manga does look ok and has some cool action here. Plus, there are aliens with different sorts of abilities and designs all around here. Then there are also the different species that look human, but have to get undressed to use their abilities got fanservice. Gah, at least make them more unique? Sigh. It didn’t seem like Akira Amano really cared about this product, creativity, or anything when it came to her drawings.
So in the end here, I think elDLIVE is a manga that had a lot of potential for the shonen jump series, but completely failed on developing any sort of promise. It had space so our crew flying around on space ships could have provided some interesting plot elements and aliens to meet and explore. Same with everything attached to Chuta, his back story, the aliens, the space police members on the ship, and everything else. It’s pretty clear here that something happened to push this manga in a different direction or the mangaka doesn’t know how to build on anything they developed? Cool alien designs and space ship battles aren’t enough for me to give this any sort of good rating. It’s a bad and I don’t give those ratings lightly. Don’t read this, just watch the anime and admire the potential that was there before it all fell through a black hole into nothing.