Book Review: Angel Sanctuary Vol. 02

Yesterday was exhausting. I told myself it was from lack of sleep, but as the day went on, I knew that wasn’t true. Lately, I’ve stayed up later than usual and eaten poorly. Long story short, I was over extending myself and, if I didn’t do something, I was going to be bedridden for 24 hours. So, I skipped rock climbing for snuggling with D, catching up on The Walking Dead and reading Angel Sanctuary Vol. 2.

We start in Sara’s perspective as she agonizes over hateful words her brother has told her. She can’t believe what he says is true and admits to herself that she loves him beyond the love of siblings. While this realization makes her feel tainted and sinful, what truly tears at her heart is the idea that Setsuna hates her.

Angel Sanctuary plays with a lot of biblical themes, so perhaps this is intended to call out the story of Adam and Eve, where the woman is often credited with tempting the man into sin with her. In this case, the sin is incest. Sara does not seem remorseful for her feelings, although she is still hesitant to act on them.

Her mother, suspicious of Sara’s feelings, plans to take her to England.

The demon Kurai looks on Sara’s suffering and has this powerful thought:

“They made the barbed wired fence called morality, and they use it to spill their own blood”

This is why I love this series. It makes you think. How much suffering do we endure in the name of human-created morality? Even morality based on religious texts is up to question due to error in human interpretation.

Kurai and her brother Arachne know well what it is like to be condemned by Heaven simply for being who you are. They prepare for war and search for a way to do so without awakening Alexiel. Setsuna, Alexiel’s human reincarnation has been stubborn. Little do they know, more inhuman forces are at work in Setsuna’s life than just them

I don’t want to tell you who says this quote, but I had to share. I love it all the more because it was said by someone holy to someone humanity would write off as evil and wrong.

“You don’t have to believe in God or demons… Just believe in that light. Move toward it. Trust your own strength”

Throughout the book, we learn more about the different plans these inhuman creatures may have for Setsuna. Already, good and evil are muddled. There is no simplicity. Even Heaven and Hell can’t be separated by good and evil at this point.

______

One topic that repeats itself in this book is the idea that women are beautiful in part because men protect them. The idea seems to be that a woman who is strong enough to fight, and does so, is less beautiful in comparison to the maiden who men fight for. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be another Biblical reference or not. Regardless, I don’t like the assumption. Obviously a woman should be free to defend herself and fight, all the while still being beautiful. When you look at Alexiel, there can be no denying her beauty. This concept must be less related to physical beauty and more to a man’s desire.

Don’t worry, though, this is not an idea that is dwelt upon. It hardly takes away from the story. In context, I even understand why two characters say this.

Alexiel is a warrior. She fights hard for what she believes. Her hands are callused from wielding her sword. These are not traditional feminine traits. Perhaps she struggles with her female identity as she fights on in war.

Setsuna wants to protect and hold his sister, but can’t. He knows his feelings are wrong and does what he can to avoid acting on them. His way of protecting her is staying away, and yet, doing so only makes him long for her more. I can see how it makes sense for Setsuna’s character to associate needing protection as a beautiful trait. It is not that he condemns women who can defend themselves, but that he is thinking of his sister, who he loves and who needs his protection.

Angel Sanctuary Vol. 2 improved upon the first book, expanding upon the plots of all the characters we originally encountered. Already, it is becoming apparent this story is about far more than Setsuna and Sara.

Rating: 4 Stars

Glossy Blonde

Yuki, Kaori. Angel Sanctuary, Vol. 02. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media LLC, 2004. Print.
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