Book Review: Angel Sanctuary Vol. 01

Source: Goodreads

Bleach Vol. 3 is still checked out by someone at the library (who takes two weeks to read a manga that is maybe 150 pages?). Luckily, my personal library is stocked with many great titles which I am more than happy to share. Since Bleach is Shōnen, a type of manga aimed at boys that is typically includes a lot of fighting, I wanted to share a Shōjo manga I loved in high school. Shōjo is typically aimed towards girls and tends to focus mainly on romance.

Angel Sanctuary vol. 1 was first published in Japan in 1995. The English translation was first published in 2004. This is significant because the storyline of this volume revolves around a ‘floppy disk’ which is linked to many unusual deaths.

This first volume is one giant set up, leaving the reader with a million and one questions and no answers. The heart of the story revolves around Setsuna Mudo, a high school student who seems to be a bit of a delinquent. Since his grandfather is English, he sports blonde hair which makes him a target for bullies (Ichigo of Bleach had the same problem with his orange hair. Does Japan have an issue with people who have uncommon hair colors?).

That’s far from his biggest problem. Setsuna struggles with confusing feelings for his younger sister, Sara. For this reason, the divorce is almost seen as a blessing because when his mother moved out, she took his younger sister with her. He blames himself for the divorce and wishes to avoid his sister, protecting her from his sinful feelings.

Other characters emerge as the book continues, including the release of the angel, Rosiel. He knows a secret about Setsuna unrelated to his feelings for his sister that are sure to turn his already difficult life upside down.

What I love about this book is that it is not hesitant about anything, and it deals with extremely controversial subjects. Setsuna and Sara aside, there is also talk of a war against God. It’s thought-provoking as it positions Heaven and Hell in a completely different light.

I also love this book because my parents had no idea what I was reading when I was 14. They were just ecstatic that I loved reading. How were they to know those weird Japanese comics I was reading depicted a story about rebellion against God and a brother sister romance?

Lastly, I adore Kaori Yuki’s artwork. This, and my affinity for winged creatures such as angels and dragons, is what first attracted me to this manga. Out of all I’ve ever read, the art of Angel Sanctuary is my favorite.

Angel Sanctuary vol. 1 is a great setup, making it obvious there are going to be many threads to this story. After setting up all the mysteries, little room was left for actual story in the first volume. It has to get points for doing enough to motivate the reader to pick up the next volume, but it loses in terms of story complexity. I’ve read this series before, so I know it gets far better than this. That is why I give Angel Sanctuary Vol. 1 the following rating:

Rating: 3.8 Stars

Glossy Blonde
Yuki, Kaori. Angel Sanctuary, Vol. 1. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media LLC, 
2004. Print.

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