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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/27/2008 Archived Entry: "Manga Review: Red Angel vol. 2"

Red Angel vol. 2
Story and Art: Makoto Tateno
Published by Digital Manga Publishing
ISBN-10: 1-56970-831-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-831-6

Review by I-hsiu Lin

From demons to angels....

That is the premise of the story Red Angel by Tateno Makoto. In vol. 1, we meet Mika, a beautiful girl and Eru, her equally beautiful older brother. Within a few moments, we learn that Eru and Mika is one in the same and as one, they are vampires. That is putting it simply. With red wings and power that sets her apart from her brethren, she travels through cities for the sake of living. With her memories unclear, she doesn't seek her past, but her past finds her. A man with red colored wings, calling her by name. "Hello, Archangel Michael." In the shower feathers, she finds herself.

As a fallen angel. Almost.

Vol 2 opens with people begging to give their blood to Mika. To become 'prey' is their pleasure. Mika has always sucked blood from those she drew close to, though only to feed for the moment and not to kill. To have people throw themselves at her feet is abhorrence to her. Kinsei appears, the man with red wings along with another angel, Belial. Fallen angels. Their actions draw Eru out in an attempt to stop Mika from remembering the past. Kinsei wants her to remember but Eru does not. He does not want her to become fallen as well. Or is there something else?

The following chapters draw on Mika's realization to Kinsei's plans. His longing for her to remember and realize the limitations and expendability of humans. But Mika refuses to accept people as simply that. Even with learning about her past and attempting to draw on the connection between herself, Kinsei and the other angels, she also acknowledges the beauty of humans.

Red Angel is a story marked completely with Tateno Makoto's style of storytelling. The plot of vampires and angels come together in a unique twist along with the presence of both Eru and Mika in one body. Such plot devices are at times overdone, but Tateno pulls them together flawlessly. Mika's past is revealed slowly and even with the realization that she is an angel, the knowledge that she is also a vampire does not disappear. She is not one or the other: she is both. Such a dichotomy may confuse readers (mainly me) but works perfectly in Mika. Drama and angst seems to be Tateno's specialty (and one of my favorite genres from her) so it's to be expected that the story will end somewhat sadly.

Tateno's artwork as usual is beautiful with many dark lines and curves. Her characters have unique looks about them and it's not hard to tell them apart even with so many beautiful faces. As a story about vampires, the style of clothing is very Gothic Lolita: dark colors with flowing skirts, ribbons and lace. Tateno truly puts much attention on the distinctive style of the characters as well as the story.

Tateno fans will love this series, though be forewarned about the high angst level of the story. Although Mika's background is revealed with each chapter, each chapter holds its own story with new characters appearing just for those few pages. This makes the manga easy to read for those who want to read a chapter and wait before reading again. But it's also something that others would want to keep reading to know what happens next.

An additional note. Though it's this manga is from DMP and not part of their Juné line, there are still hints of boys love in it. It's not very apparent since the story is not about two males in a romantic relationship, but the hints between Eru and Kinsei are inescapable for those that want to look for it. For those that don't want to see it, they can concentrate on Mika and Kinsei instead.

You can also check out Kris' review of Red Angel which references the religious aspects of the story.

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