Angel Sanctuary Volume 1: A slow beginning

A while back I looked at the Angel Sanctuary OVA. Initially, it was my plan to start looking at the Manga with the point that the OVA left off. However, when going through the manga again I realised just how much it leaves out. It basically goes through more than three volumes of material in three episodes. As such, I’m going to start the look at the manga at the beginning. With the first volume.

Story:

We open with Kurai and Arachne who have just fought their way through angels to get to Earth in order to seek out the reincarnation of Alexiel. We quickly skip to where the OVA started, Setsuna in a fight against a group of thugs. He’s doing well until he catches a glimpse of blood, and starts feeling faint. He’s eventually rescued by Sakuya and his sister arrives to berate him for fighting. She’s with her shy friend, Ruri. Meanwhile, a strange game named after the title is causing players’ heads to explode. Ruri is given a copy by a strange fellow before Setsuna can intervene, driving the guy away. The chapters cover the purpose of the disc and Setsuna’s initial encounter with Kurai and Arachne, including the revelation that he’s the reincarnation of the organic angel Alexiel. It also covers his disturbing feelings towards his sister.

On the negative side, it is really slow going. Which is the opposite problem from the absurdly fast-paced OVA. Honestly, most of what happens in the first volume is build up for things that are coming later. Which is fine, but it really could use for build up that’s more interesting in its own right. On the positive side, the premise is interesting and the setup, though it could be better, is good enough that it makes you interested in finding out what the payoff is going to be.

Characters:

This is one of those series where the secondary characters are more interesting than the protagonists. Setsuna doesn’t develop much of a personality in the first volume. He has feelings for his sister but doesn’t want her to know and experiences angst over it. His character may develop more later, but at this juncture there’s not much reason to give a damn about him. In fact, the only character you really get a good sense of is Kurai since you see her back story, how it ties into what she’s doing and get an idea of how it’s impacted the character she is at this point. Katan also has some interesting elements to him and you get some sense of mystery for Rosiel, Arachne and Sakuya but it’s all buildup at this point.

Art:

The art is pretty strong. The action sequences are well sequenced and there’s some really good imagery. The violent scenes are pretty damn brutal too. You’d almost think that Yuki Kaori has a thing for dismemberment.

Ho-yay:

There’s a bit. It’s shown that Kurai was in love with Alexiel and that she’s disappointed over her reincarnating as a man.

Final Thoughts:

Angel Sanctuary volume 1 is pretty decent. It gives the readers some intrigue to start things out and some compelling mysteries to encourage further reading. But it suffers from being slow and a lot of the characters are under-developed at this point. For this volume, I’ll give a 6/10. I’ll look at the second volume at a later point, maybe next week it depends on the response to this one, and we’ll see if it improves.

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