License request day: 7 Seeds

While composing this week’s final installment of The Josei Alphabet, I was shocked to realize that I’ve never formally requested Yumi Tamura’s 7 Seeds. This is one of those situations that must be rectified as quickly as possible.

The series launched in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi, a shôjo magazine, before moving to josei anthology Flowers at some point during its still-ongoing run. Betsucomi has always seemed like it skews a little older than the average shôjo magazine, so this was probably a fairly easy transition. Flowers is one of those anthologies that seems positively fecund with license-request fodder. It’s home to the much-loved Kaze Hikaru (in glacial current release courtesy of Viz’s Shojo Beat line), and it had the privilege of publishing Moto Hagio’s “Iguana Girl,” one of the many highlights of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. It was also the serialization home of Hagio’s much-praised, much-wanted Otherworld Barbara. So basically, if psychologically complex fantasy is published in Flowers, chances are good that the I-want-now factor will be high.

And 7 Seeds certainly sounds like Tamura isn’t stinting on the psychological complexity. It’s about Japanese youth who were placed in cryogenic suspension by the government as they prepared for the imminent, potentially apocalyptic collision of a meteor. Groups of teen-sicles were planted up and down Japan to ensure that the population would be able to rebuilt when the Earth’s environment was once again fit for habitation.

But, you know, humans in general and teens in particular rarely behave in ways we might expect, especially when we leave them a to-do list that we aren’t around to enforce. Our survivors, or “seeds,” have dramatically new circumstances to manage and old baggage to tote, which is bound to make survival and repopulation fairly complicated, wouldn’t you think? (The series is at the 20-volume point, so I’d hope things would be complicated.) The cast seems fairly huge, which is always a good sign, and the general nature of the series seems to be dramatic-episodic, combining lots of emotional nuance with neat, speculative world-building.

You knew without me having to tell you that it’s being published in French, right? Pika has slowly made its way to the 10th volume, and while a slow release schedule isn’t ideal, I always feel it’s better than not getting a series at all, which is where we are right now. And Pika allows you to see gorgeous sample pages from the first eight volumes.

Tamura is hardly unknown to English-reading audiences. Viz published her 27-volume Basara. That series is frequently described with dreamy fondness by its partisans, and I’m sure 7 Seeds would engender the same kind of fondness and loyalty if someone is kind enough to publish it already.