By Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara. Released in Japan by Ichijinsha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comic Zero-Sum. Released in North America by Viz.
One of the side-effects of reviewing manga and trying to hit most of the new Vol. 1s is that I get exposed to series that I wouldn’t otherwise pay much attention to. And this one definitely falls squarely into that wheelhouse. Epic fantasy isn’t really my thing, and this is overwrought epic fantasy of the finest order. That said, it’s quite good at what it does, especially since it’s apparently the debut work of both creators (who are female – I’m used to male manga creators collaborating, so this is nice to see).
Teito Klein is your average fantasy bishonen, and indeed there’s more than a touch of the CLAMP influence here. He’s seen as cold by his military academy classmates, who don’t know how much he really feels. He has, however, managed to open up to one kid there, who has become just like family to him. That kid’s name is Doomed. Wait, sorry, no. It’s Mikage. They spend about 40 pages bonding and showing off that they’re skilled fighters, then Teito accidentally hears something he shouldn’t, and suddenly this military school becomes a lot more sinister and evil. Clearly the only thing to do is to run away and end up at a church filled with hot bishops, who are taking out evil wherever they may find it.
Given the authors’ past works (which consist of about 59 million Naruto yaoi doujinshi), I was rather surprised that this didn’t have quite as many BL overtones as I expected. Oh sure, Teito and Mikage have that close bond of friendship, but it actually feels like that. And Frau’s attentiveness towards Teito is somewhat undercut by his constant flirting with everyone and his porn collection. In general, this is about as gay as K-On is lesbian, which is to say that the main cast lacks any real females, so you ship what you can.
There’s a lot of religious symbolism here, with eyes given the names of archangels and discussion of heaven and hell (complete with reincarnation – as always, never let it be said that Japan settles on one religion when it can have them all). I liked the legend talking about the three dreams, which is both suitably epic and nicely sweet. I do note that I feel things went a bit too fast in this first volume. I’d have liked to see more at the military academy before Teito was captured, and we also get precious little of our main antagonist (who seems pretty ambiguous), Ayanami, who appears to have stepped out of the pages of Weiss Kreuz.
There’s a lot of goofy humor here, which helps to relive the tension caused by the apocalyptic events going on with Teito. Clearly he is a messiah figure here, and I imagine things are only going to get worse for him before they get better, which is somewhat sad given that this volume ends with his possessed best friend trying to kill him. Still, if you like CLAMP’s more fantastic titles, such as RG Veda, This should be a good read, and is a nice change of pace from Viz. (I always like seeing series in their plain old ‘Viz Media’ imprint, as opposed to Jump/Beat/Signature.)