Sci-fi
Replay Comic Review

30 November 2017

I just started reading this comic called Replay, a manga with excellent color art about a young couple in a demon apocalypse. It’s quite nice, so don’t take the following as criticism. Take it as a lesson in storytelling.

You see, the premise appears to be that in a version of our world where magic actually works, somebody summoned unstoppable demons into the world, and they’ve been ripping society apart, both literally and metaphorically. It makes as much sense as a zombie story, and indeed it is one with the serial numbers filed off – somebody knows their Japanese tropes well. That’s just a detail. Except…

In this world magic works, and it’s not exactly a secret either: people practice it semi-openly. You mean to tell me it’s not in the least regulated? How come demons didn’t overrun the world centuries ago? But never mind that; you might ask the same question about nuclear war in the real world. Question is, now that it happened, and physical weapons can’t stop demons, how come nobody (except the story’s protagonists) has thought to study the same kind of magic that was used to summon them in the first place? Depending on how magic works in the setting, this could yield a variety of different solutions:

  • banish them back;
  • confine them;
  • kill them;
  • create safe havens;
  • move people to another plane of existence.

Instead, most people in the setting seem to settle for firing the same guns they’ve seen fail many times before and wringing their hands. The few exceptions we’ve seen so far (who are at least getting creative with things that go boom), only seem to strengthen the rule…

At least Replay, unlike most post-apoc stories, offers a plausible reason why society hasn’t already reorganized around the threat, so it makes that much sense. And hey, it caught me; I’m willing to go with the flow. But still.

Having plot holes in your story is excusable. But having a glaring plot hole as your story premise? Please think harder before you start writing. :)

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