Reading the manga finally makes it very clear to me that Hitoshi is as conceptual as everyone makes him out to be. As a kid, when I first saw Alien 9 it was hard to understand, and my initial thoughts were that he merely made the story, just to get the awesome borg concept out of his head. That was it for me, it was all about the cool borgs. But soon Alien 9 faded away.
A year or two, or three, later, I thought about Alien 9 again. I eventually dived into concepts, theories, essays and other ideas and thoughts. I understood then what people were talking about, and understood where they were coming from. But I never "felt" it for myself. Because I never felt it for myself, sometimes I had doubts, like what-if the original artist just intended for it to be just a story, and they're all just going too deep into it. I believe my initial thought as a 13 or 14 year old kept me from feeling more about it. But I wanted to feel what they were feeling, because I wanted people to do the same for me when I made a deep, conceptual manga.
Finally having the mangas in present time, though I'm still waiting for no. 2 to come in, I can finally say that I feel it. The biggest thing I feel, instead of in the anime, was not Yuri's fear, but of the pressure of society on children. I feel it big time. I might even get more out of it with no. 2 comes in. But so far, I'm really getting it.
I guess the manga format is easier for me to understand, and maybe because I'm old enough now to come to more conclusions than something is cool. But also, it helped me move away from the recollection of older thoughts and ideals from when I watched the anime. I showed the anime to everyone I knew, friends and acquaintances, at least 30 people, and each time I thought of it as just a show with cool borgs. So it was hard to move away from that, because I watched it each time without the intention of feeling more for it.
Going back to the, "what-if the original artist just intended for it to be just a story, and they're all just going too deep into it." It is now beyond a doubt clear that was his intention. For everyone to interpret his work. During an interview he was asked about the theme of symbiosis appearing in all of his works. He replied that the readers will interpret it in different ways, and he didn't want to comment on it, or else he would limit them. I'm impressed, not only did he mention that people will interpret it differently, but the fact that his word on it, would change everything. It would become official, if he mentioned anything about it. Also, the fact that he didn't participate in the animation is very fascinating. Many times manga artists would just check in now and again, some would over look everything, while he just wanted them to interpret it themselves, entirely.
Can you just imagine if you were a manga artist and a company comes to your door and they offer you a deal to over look the animation of your story? I'd be like, heck yes, I'm gonna' make sure you do it right. I want the voices to sound good, I want this scene to look this way, etc. etc.. To give someone your story, something that is yours entirely, and hand it over to them to give them artistic freedom, is absolutely, genuinely, crazy.
That is, unless the intention from the very start was just that. To allow people to take from your story, imagination, taste, opinion, ideas, concepts, and to turn it into something entirely their own. Making it very different for each reader who picks it up, it means many different things to different people. From just super cool, to growing up, to social pressures, to emotional turmoil, to friendship, or to everything and more. It is just a brilliant piece of work, and for some people it takes more than just one look to realize it.