It’s a wonder there isn’t more manga or comic books about angels and demons that strays a bit from traditional Christian ideas. Maybe it’s fear of creating anger from religious folk, or maybe it’s because the creators just don’t feel comfortable exploring it. That said, Viz Media has a new demon-centric series out this week!
7th Garden Vol. 1 (Viz Media)
So what’s it about? The Viz Media synopsis reads:
Awyn Gardner will do anything to protect the beautiful mistress of the equally beautiful estate gardens he lovingly tends—even enslave himself to an also beautiful demon bent on world domination! The high-pitched battle is on between powerful angels, sexy demons and innocent people to dominate a world rife with political intrigue…and to win the heart of one hapless human man!
Why does this book matter?
Though this series uses angels and demons from a religion called Quoristianity, I think it’s safe to say this is a safe way of not offending Christian people. There’s a Pope ruling over everything and the religion is the most prominent in the land. Plus the series takes place in a time when electricity hasn’t been invented and life was simpler. In a way this is a historical fiction, but with some crazy demon action that involves a giant black blade. How manga of it!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Pretty opening pages. Note that the rest of the manga is in black and white.
Mitsu Izumi writes and draws this series and overall it’s a good one. The protagonist is not your typical naive and nervous male, but a teenager who’s a bit of an outcast with an edge to him he’s unaware of. He’s a gardener named Awyn, taken in by a rich family, but one day he comes upon a demon who changes everything. She’s got her eyes set on him, partly because of the vengeance in his heart (his family was unjustly destroyed by supposedly good forces), and together they form a bond in this volume. Quoristianity angels are attempting to kill him and the family that took him in for unknown reasons and it’s with the help of this demon that they can stay alive.
Of course, he’s reluctant to help this demon but is forced to do so to save the girl that he loves. Over the course of this volume we witness some interesting character developments for Awyn. It’s interesting to see how he slowly grows to hate Quoristianity and it’s the angels that are showing him the truth. At the same time we learn more about the demon, who’s more of a misunderstood good guy than an actual evil demon.
Sweet blade dude!
Which brings us to the mythos outlined in this book. It’s somewhat as you’d expect, with angels dressed in white with large wings and the demon harboring some horns, but in actuality good and bad isn’t very clear. Take for instance a scene where poor people are demanding less taxes as they are starving. What does the “good” guy do? Blow them all away! Plus angels and demons seem to have equal powers which is an uncommon thing in most religious fiction like this. Fans of fairy tales, folktales and the like should dig the subtleties of this series.
The art is also fantastic. Izumi uses the typical manga tropes here and there (cutting to a cartoony version of the characters for comedic relief for instance), but the pace and layouts of the pages feels unique and cleverly designed. The costumes and environments are fantastic, and it’s quite easy to follow the action when it kicks into gear. Bad guys have a genuinely scary demeanor too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Izumi does draw some crazy breasts though. The angels and demons in particular have some outrageously large breasts that are so big it’s comical. There are also quite a few nearly-nude panels of our demon main character that are way too sexualized for their own good. Sex is fine in comics, but when there’s a random shot of a demon bending over for no good reason you have to wonder what it adds to the book. Plus there are panels of said demon with her mouth agape drooling, and we all know the purpose of that. Considering how intriguing the story and characters are you’d think Izumi wouldn’t need to bring this down to porn levels.
Intriging historical elements flesh things out.
Is It Good?
If you’re a fan of a unique take on angel and demons, 7th Garden is an action-packed delight.