June 8, 2011
Minoru Murao – Digital Manga Publishing – 2010 – 5 volumes
There was a two-year gap between volume 1 and 2 of this series, which is bizarre. I have no idea what the delay was, but I’m happy we got to see volume two after it was cancelled initially. Volume one had some interesting themes going for it, including racism (the main character is black, and wears a mask to avoid comment) and anti-religious themes (the church is burning innocent women as “witches” mostly so that priests can be promoted to sainthood). The main character, Mist, usually intervenes at the burnings in several episodic stories in the first volume. The second volume is a little different.
I was a little disoriented, at first, because I had a hard time remembering the details of the group that Mist is currently working with, the identity of the girl that is apparently after Mist but falls into the hands of the Dominicans (who are, hilariously, the bad guys), or what the politics behind the Dominicans vs. the other group was. It doesn’t matter too much, because after a chapter or so we get a straight-out fight between a former enemy and the Black Knight, along with some amusing background and face time with a new ally, the “carpet knight,” so named because he is usually on the carpet talking up the ladies. The Carpet Knight is an interesting character, someone who used to serve the church, but suddenly realized he was killing innocent girls for political gain and decided to put a stop to it. He’s also some much-needed occasional comic relief.
Mist’s companion (a self-proclaimed real witch) still puzzles me. She’s on the cover, wearing an outfit made out of what appear to be cloth arms that are covering her less than any costume I’ve ever seen. It’s kind of impressive, actually, given that this series has so little fanservice otherwise. She’s a neat character save for the costume and also the fact that she appears to have an orgy with the bad guys here in order to distract them from Mist. I don’t even know what to make of that.
The scattered bits of the story collect themselves by the end of the volume, when we get to see Mist debate over whether or not to compete in a jousting tournament.
I do like the European setting and the traditional fantasy themes of the story. This volume was a little more bland and scattered than the last one, but I’d love to see more, because I think once the story stabilizes, it’ll do fine as a 5-volume story. It’s kinda like a lite version of Berserk, in a way, except not quite as impressive as that sounds. There are similarities in tone and theme, though, that’s for sure. It’s definitely an unusual story, and I do hope that DMP finds a way to release the other three volumes. I’d like to think someone at the company is a fan, given the fact that the second volume came out at all.