Level E: The E stands for ‘Alien’

The title of this post is not a joke; Togashi meant to call this Level A(lien), but his command of English was such that he thought ‘Eirien’ began with E.

Although most humans remain blissfully unaware of it, aliens have been coming to Earth for many years, driven by everything from a desire to commit illegal activities to a wholehearted devotion to the sport of baseball. For those in the know, the most infamous of these aliens must surely be Ouji, First Prince of the planet Dogra, a man as twisted as he is brilliant. From his long suffering bodyguards to the various humans who get caught up in his web, everyone would agree that life is certainly more interesting when Ouji is around, but it also tends to get a lot more complicated.

Yoshihiro Togashi is best known for his long-running Shounen Jump series YuYu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter, but between the two, he delved into the realms of sci-fi comedy for this brief series. As a fan of HxH, it seemed only natural to give this series a chance, but unfortunately, it proved to be something of a disappointment.

Level E’s main trouble is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be- in early chapters it seems to be aiming to become either a horror or mystery series, but in the second volume it makes an about-face and starts telling the tale of an unwilling sentai team who end up playing in a real-life RPG not too dissimilar in setting from the Greed Island arc of HxH. Throughout the series, this odd mixture of serious and comedic themes persist, and whilst variety must be applauded, it shouldn’t really be employed to the extent that you end up feeling as if what you have is a scrapbook of different series pasted together instead of one coherent whole.

Naturally, the result of this is that series never really picks up any sort of flow and momentum, and thanks to this, it ultimately lacks the development needed to pull it out of the realms of mediocrity. You may find yourself just getting into a particular storyline and its characters, only for the next chapter to force you to find your feet in a whole new situation. As a result, Level E is dominated by shallow personalities and abruptly concluded storylines that ensure that the series as a whole is largely forgettable. The only thing that does stick in your mind is how crude it can be, with no shortage of distastefully blunt language and even some sights that no one wanted to see, such as a hairy and muscular baseball player dressed only in a tight pair of boxers.

When it comes to the artwork, the series seems equally inconsistent; in early chapters, Togashi seems to be aiming for a more realistic (and less attractive) style than he usually attempts, but as the chapters progress, he lapses back into his usual simplistic characters with non-existent backgrounds. In some ways, however, this lazier style is actually quite welcome, since it isn’t as off-putting as the ugliness of the earliest chapters.

Final Thoughts
Although it has its good moments, the jarring changes of focus that dominate Level E only detract from the series as a whole, ensuring that it is largely average and even tiresome at times. It may only be three volumes in length, but even fans of Togashi’s work should think twice before spending precious time on this lacklustre series.

Essential facts

Volumes: 3 [complete]

Creator: Yoshihiro Togashi


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1 Response to Level E: The E stands for ‘Alien’

  1. Asmodeal says:

    It’s been a while since i last read level E, but it left me with a better impression than you.
    You wrote “you have is a scrapbook of different series pasted together instead of one coherent whole”, i think that’s exactly the point, if you like japanese subculture references you will like it.

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