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Apr. 6th, 2008

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

I have lately been in search of some more manga to read; this can be a bit difficult, since I have a low tolerance for a number of things that show up a lot in manga, for example the notion that it is virtuous to be a doormat. One recent success, however, is 666 Satan, by Kishimoto Seishi (predictably re-titled O-parts Hunter in the US release).

Trivia: Kishimoto Seishi is the twin of Kishimoto Masashi, the author of Naruto. Apparently, when 666 Satan came out Seishi was accused by some of plagiarism, which only goes to show that most people don’t really know what the word means. There are, to be sure, some structural similarities, but fewer than I would actually have expected from siblings who read all the same stuff growing up. The worlds are different, the premise is different, the characters are different, the plot is different, even the drawing style is rather different, though the landscapes have a certain feeling in common. There is a timeskip, but I quite approve of this, because the post-skip characters are hot like fire, and it’s always nice to have some of that.

But back to the review. The story is tight and briskly paced, clocking in at seventy-six issues from intro to Armageddon. The romantic threads are tied up in a satisfying but not artificial manner. The characters are engaging, the action is fast, the fights all have a point, the demons are disgusting, and, if the powerful, adult women tend to be scantily clad and have flotation devices on their chests, the fanservice is sufficiently low-key that it doesn’t make me froth at the mouth.

The story uses the mythos of the Kabbala with a dash of Greek thrown in. While the usual sorts of liberties are taken (think Angel Sanctuary) there is actually a good deal of attention paid to the details, and, unlike, say, RahXephon, it makes a decent amount of sense in the end.

There is also plenty of material for ficcers, as the character relationships are varied and powerful, and there’s plenty of tension splashed around for both slash and het writers to play with. The conclusion is somewhat open-ended, as well, which may frustrate readers who want to know exactly what happens to everyone but should appeal to those who like to imagine how the characters’ lives might have gone on.

In short, it’s a quick and engaging read and, provided the editors haven’t butchered anything too badly, I will probably pick up the English release.

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