Manga Review - Earthchild (地球 の 子)

I'm once again surprised to find how accommodating Shonen Jump is to the aging comic book reader. I'm not sure what I expected when I picked up Earthchild (Chikyuu no Ko), but I wasn't expecting a charming family dramedy. 

Earthchild's near triple sized first chapter depicts the romance of a super hero girl and the completely ordinary man who's life she saves. Kareri is an Earthchild. She was born with superhuman telekinetic abilities. She is employed by a shadowy government organization that sends her off on various missions to save the world in secret. She has a memory wiping device that is supposed to prevent anyone from witnessing her heroics, but when she saves Reisuke and wipes his memory he eventually remembers her and thanks her. 

Again Kareri wipes Reisuke's memory and again he remembers her. Kareri can't help but enjoy Reisuke's praise, and Reisuke can't help but admire Kareri's strength and commitment to saving the world. Their romance is a whirlwind montage that skips us ahead a few years. We see the two date, and eventually marry. They have a son together, and neither of them can imagine being any happier than this. 

You probably see where this is going. 

Earthchildren seem born to die. They sacrifice themselves to save the Earth from a cataclysmic threat, and then somewhere out there a new one is born. Kareri would seem to be no exception, but something strange has happened. Kareri's son Mamoru is also an Earthchild. This isn't supposed to happen. As far as anyone knows there is no record of an Earthchild siring another Earthchild. It is not a genetic trait. Mamoru is also very strong, even by Earthchild standards. As an infant his telekinetic abilities are incredible.

Perhaps most surprising of all, Kareri survived her final mission, though she is trapped in space, frozen in stasis in a piece of the asteroid she destroyed. 

Space debris threatens to destroy Kareri, and makes rescue with any available space craft impossibly dangerous. There's only one hope to save her: Her painfully ordinary husband and her super powered infant son. As if that weren't struggle enough, Reisuke must contend with the shadowy organization who would very much prefer to wipe his memory and raise Mamoru themselves.

Can Reisuke be the father that Mamoru needs? Can Mamoru learn to control his powers well enough to save his mother before time runs out? 

At the time I'm writing this, Earthchild has released 13 chapters. The pacing is surprisingly fast and I'm honestly not sure where the story is going. I wouldn't be surprised to see them save the mother and then transition into a story about trying to raise Earth's next savior to be a well-rounded human being. There also seems to be a subplot brewing that the curse of Earthchildren dying young can be broken, and the organization responsible for their management can be reformed to be a bit more humane.

This is not your standard Shonen manga. This is a shift into family focused drama, action, and comedy that follows in the footsteps of Spy x Family. It could just be my mid-30's talking, but I think this is a refreshing direction for Shonen Jump to move in. Even my horror blackened heart craves the occasional healthy relationship.

While it is not quite as good as Spy x Family, there is room for another wholesome family comedy on my manga shelf. If you feel the same way, I recommend checking this one out. 


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