Nippon Manga Rebyu: Metroid

Hello everybody! This week I am looking at the often unknown official manga based on the popular Metroid video game series, simply called Metroid. Metroid was written by Kouji Tazawa and drawn by Kenji Ishikawa. This manga tells the origin story of Samus Aran, the main character of the Metroid series. The manga shows the events leading up to the game Metroid: Zero Mission.

The manga begins with Samus returning home from a mission and Samus falls asleep in her bed as she reminisces about her past, starting with her life as a child on a mining colony with her parents. The colony they lived on mined the mineral required for all space traveling ships to even take flight. Samus is off in the woods trying to catch some kind of rabbit-like creature when her friends appear and tell her a Chozo ship arrived at the colony.

Ignorant, she is, to her future as the object of many Metroid fans' wet dreams.

While trying to ask to borrow a large supply of the mineral from Samus’ father, Samus accidentally runs into a Chozo elder. Samus is at first scared at the strange bird-like appearance of the Chozo, but the elder explains that though they look different, they all have the same “heart”.

That is so deep, man . . .

Samus quickly becomes friends with the elder, named Old Bird, but after Samus’ father turns down their request, the Chozo leave the colony. Shortly after the Chozo left, a group of Space Pirates, led by Samus’ future long time nemesis Ridley, attack the colony. The Space Pirates massacre everyone in sight and in the chaos, Samus meets Ridley face to face.

The first encounter in one of gaming's greatest rivalries.

Samus tries to become friends with Ridley the same way she became friends with Old Bird, but Ridley would rather kill the little girl instead. Before Ridley could strike, Samus’ mother appears and Ridley instead kills her with his his mouth beam. Samus’ father sneaks aboard Ridley’s ship where the Space Pirates have stored some of the mineral that they have stolen. The only weapon he has is a torch used for repairs, but that is enough as the mineral is highly explosive. He sacrifices himself by blowing up the mineral and setting Ridley’s ship ablaze.

You didn't leave your stove on, did you Ridley?

The Chozo return to the colony to find everyone dead except for Samus. As a result, the Chozo adopt Samus into their culture and raise her as one of their own, while at the same time splicing their DNA into her’s so she can survive the harsh environment of the Chozo homeworld.

After Samus properly learns how to use her trademark Power Suit, Old Bird tells Samus that she should leave the Chozo so she can become the true protector of the galaxy. Samus decides to depart from the Chozo and join the Federation Police, a group created as a response to Space Pirates raiding ships. We see Samus in action as she and her partners are on a mission to arrest a group of Space Pirates using humans as slave labor.

Who wouldn't agree to receiving protection from you?

Meanwhile, back at the Chozo homeward, Old Bird has gathered several other Chozo, and reveals to them one of the greatest evils left in the galaxy, a parasite called X that makes a perfect, but evil, clone of its host. He then shows off their weapon for countering X, a creature of their own creation, the titular Metroids. Suddenly, their planet is attacked by a Space Pirate mothership helmed by none other than Ridley.

Overcompensating for something, Ridley?

While interrogating the Space Pirate prisoner from their last mission, Samus and her superiors are informed that the Chozo are under attack by Space Pirates. This causes Samus to leave for their planet, when she is stopped by General Adam Malkovich, only for him to give her 48 hours before the Federation Army assaults the planet.

Thinly veiled threats of violence always get people what they want.

As Samus boards her ship, she is surprised by her partners, who agree to join her in rushing to save the Chozo. When they arrive, the find a hologram of Old Bird informing the viewer of the message that the Chozo willingly surrendered the planet to the Space Pirates and that the Metroids have failed as a viable weapon and that Samus will now be the one to inherit the “will” of the Chozo. When Samus runs off to look for Mother Brain, the central computer of the planet, she discovers that Mother Brain and Gray Voice, a young Chozo, have betrayed the others, deciding to side with the Space Pirates and tries to recruit Samus to their side as well.

Samus retaliates by firing at Mother Brain and is attacked and easily captured by Ridley, as seeing him made show signs of PTSD. With the help of Gray Voice sacrificing himself by fighting Mother Brain and Ridley, Samus and her partners were able to rescue the elders that were being held hostage.

The rest of the brief series takes place during Samus’ “zero mission” in the game Metroid: Zero Mission. The series’ total length is 16 chapters split into 2 tankobon volumes.

As a Metroid fan, I love this manga, as it visually shows Samus’ past. There are a few inconsistencies with the plots and characterizations shown in the Metroid games, such as Ridley being able to talk to in the manga, but these are easy to overlook. I highly recommend that any Metroid fan should read this manga at least once.