DN Angel 13

Yukiru Sugisaki – Tokyopop – 2009 – 13+ volumes

I reviewed this volume for this week’s Manga Minis column, so you can check out my review over there.

It was still kinda blah, but we do finally get an explanation for Dark/Krad after all these years, and the current storyline is mercifully put to sleep at the end of the volume, so we have the possibility of something more interesting when next we convene.

There hasn’t been a new volume in Japan in awhile though, so I fear that it may be another couple years.  High fives to Tokyopop for keeping D.N.Angel and I.N.V.U. alive through years of infrequent Japanese/Korean volumes, though.

D.N. Angel 12

Yukiru Sugisaki – Tokyopop – 2009 – 13+ volumes

Amidst all the news of dropped Tokyopop series (my poor GetBackers!!!), here’s a volume of a series that they’ve resumed publishing after three years now that new volumes have started coming out in Japan again.  I’d say that bodes quite well for the future of other such series.  Now let’s all cross our fingers for the next volume of Immortal Rain.

Anyway.  I reviewed this volume for the weekly Manga Minis column at the Manga Recon.  You can check out the review over there.

Yeah… those characters are still pretty bland.

DN Angel 11

I decided not to save this one and to just get it out of the way while I was reading the rest of the series anyway.  I wound up liking the storyline a bit better here.

There’s still mostly just a ton of exposition and no action, but we do get a few interesting details thrown our way.  If the pure emotion of love summons Dark, can Dark also be summoned by hate, and if he can, what would that do?  Are Risa and Riku naturally linked because they are twins, or is it a spell?  Everyone seems to be getting very serious in this volume, including Daisuke’s parents.

We get very little in the way of concrete explanation, but there is a possibility of a Krad/Dark merge, and I kind of like that, if it ever happens.  We’ll see.  I would like to see more of this series, honestly.  I didn’t like it very much, but I’m sad to see it end in the middle of a story arc which has built itself up so intensely and hasn’t even gotten to pay off this buildup with action yet.

DN Angel 10

And here, we just get the results of the Dark/Risa and Daisuke/Riku date.  Of course, Daisuke’s entire family is helping him out, and of course lots of wacky and funny situations arise, and lots of romantic almosts and perhaps some embarassing moments!  Oh no!

If you read the review of the last volume, you’ll know how much I enjoyed this one.  No action, once again, and I still don’t like the characters enough to forgive the series for  this kind of thing, though the end does promise some payoff next volume.  Lots of veiled hints are given about Dark too, and they’re the kind I think you’re just supposed to memorize because they’ll keep bringing up names and attaching them to characters who already have names.  If that made any sense.

It feels like this storyline may bring the series to a close, but I may also say that because… I don’t know why.  I still have volume 11 to read, but I have a feeling that the buildup for this storyline is going to be slow and we’ll never see the action sequences, so I may just save it.

DN Angel 9

Yeah, as cool as “The Second Hand of Time” was, it was not so cool to see it end in this goofy and embarassing way.  Daisuke seems so much the same.  It seems like Dark was the one who got all the character development.

Anyway, it’s weird that the third story doesn’t get a title.  What’s also weird was that after the awesomeness of the past two volumes, this volume was no good.  The focus was primarily character-centric this time, and as I said earlier, I don’t particularly care for the characters.  There’s an awkward date setup with Risa, Riku, Dark, and Daisuke where one body will have to cover two dates at once, and much preperation and discussion was spent on this.  Actually, 3/4 of a volume was spent on this.

Really, perhaps I’ve just outgrown this type of relationship manga.  This is a girl’s series, and I like romance comics, but I need more gratification than just awkward moments and hints of hand-holding in nine volumes of the same characters chasing each other.  There are plenty of series I read that are like this, but this one… I dunno, it seems like it just misses the mark.  The action means that I don’t peg it as a series for younger kids, and the relationships aren’t quite cute enough to get away with how little is going on.  Plus, Dark is not meant to be in a manga where as little goes on in the relationship as it does here.

DN Angel 8

This volume was pretty epic.  It was more or less the climax of the “Second Hand of Time” storyline and featured more action than I ever remember seeing in this series.

So the painting goes all black, Freedert might not be all bad or all good, the folk tale that everyone knows isn’t the real version of it, the Hikari family seem to have their hands in everything, and everything runs to the epic side this time around.

I hated all the veiled hints at the plot forthcoming.  Not just because it sounds like things might get a lot more complex and that’s the last thing this series needs, but because these things will never come to be since the series is stalled.

My favorite scene in the volume was when Satoshi asked Dark how he let the painting get so bad, and then simply repainted it for him.  It was cute and pretty uncharacteristic of the creepy little boy.  I didn’t really enjoy Risa and Riku’s meddling beforehand, but I did like Freedert’s good form and how Daisuke became such good friends with her.   I also liked the cute little personality Dark developed in this volume.  Well, actually, this is probably the best volume the series has offered up thus far.

The one thing that I’m still kind of confused about is what exactly caused the painting world, and how it ended.  I’m sort of clear on how it happened… kinda… (though if it took time and gave it to someone, the time wasn’t lost, it’s still there, why couldn’t it give it back?) but what happened in the end was a real mess.  I really didn’t understand what was going on at all.  It didn’t seem to matter too much though, because it brought things to a tragic end.

Unfortunately, this story comes to kind of a stupid conclusion in the next volume.

DN Angel 7

I think it was a good idea to take so much time off from this series.  I remember just loathing it, and I dreaded going back for the rest of the volumes.  Plus it’s stalled indefinitely, so I knew there wasn’t going to be a resolution anyway.   But after marathoning both this series and Hana-Kimi, I really think reading in chunks is the way to go.  It certainly pulled this one’s ass out of the fire.

The thing I remember most was that I absolutely could not deal with the characters.  I still think that both Risa and Riku are cardboard cutouts with no personality, but I at least got a great deal fond of the others.  I think the main thing that saved this series was that I jumped right back into “The Second Hand of Time” story right as the action took off and all the boring character stuff was out of the way.  I actually do like the plot of this series, but the thing I disliked was that it was always sidetracked by really stupid character interaction.  But here we get quite a nice and ethereal action sequence where Dark has to enter a painting with Riku to try and save Daisuke.  The fact that Dark is told outright at the beginning that he is never getting Daisuke back by the creepy, creepy Satoshi also adds an extra incentive to the story, because you kind of do wonder if the two will be separated.

This is sandwiched in between the school play rehersal stuff where we learn a bit about the legend the entire story arc is based on, plus we get to see Satoshi play Dark and Dark (as Daisuke) dressed in drag.  Neither seem to like this, and a lot of these types of scenes are pretty funny due entirely to Satoshi and Dark, who are both probably the best characters.  Dark gets quite a bit of development over the next couple volumes, and it made me like him a lot more.

There are definitely still some romance elements that are played up A LOT.  Dark and Daisuke have swapped women, and everything’s a lot more serious.  I kind of prefer this to the comic hijinx of what was going on in earlier volumes… or maybe I just forgot that it was always like this and I’m being more tolerant now.

At any rate, I did enjoy the series quite a bit more after reading this story arc.  It continues in the next volume!

DN Angel 6

Okay, and I liked this volume better. I think maybe it was the last storyline. The end of it was really really good, if a bit out of nowhere. So far out there, in fact, that I thought it was a dream one of the characters was having for quite awhile. But I like this new Dark ability. The very end of the story didn’t fail to live up to the shittiness of the rest of it though, because both Dark and Daisuke said a slew of cryptic remarks that I don’t really understand other than to say the story is veering off in directions that I don’t want it to.

The short story on Risa and Riku, well… Riku and Daisuke, was really cute. This is coming from someone who says the characters are stereotypes. It was just a really adorable story, and I thought it was touching. Shut up.

The new storyline, “The Second Hand of Time,” is gearing up to be awesome so far though. The fact that Dark is stealing from a museum that is empty is intriguing, the genderbending school play was awesome while it lasted, and the note the volume ended on was also good.

Are the characters getting better? More complex? They are certainly getting more and more cryptic. But the side story did make me like Riku a little bit more… but I still think she’s not much different personality-wise from Risa, which is sad. Also sad is that no other characters outside Riku/Risa/Daisuke/Dark/Satoshi have any sort of personality or presence whatsoever.

DN Angel 5

Maybe it’s because it had been so long since I read volume four, and it’s not really my favorite series… but what the FUCK is going on in pages 16-17? Krad really wasn’t explained that well in the last volume (as far as I remember, anyway), and they hadn’t really used the term “tamer” before, so suddenly there’s about four people talking in two bodies with speech bubbles floating all around, etc etc etc… and does Satoshi love Daisuke all the sudden? Maybe that wasn’t a sudden thing?

But goddamn, this volume sucked. I don’t like this series that much, and this volume didn’t do that much to raise my opinion of it. Maybe it is just because it had been awhile since I’ve read the other volumes, though. I found the mirror world kind of confusing and vague (suddenly he had such and such number of feathers after he had just started collecting them? why feathers, why was dark losing his memories, what is going on? why were they with girls, and why was the last one where it was? was Dark even IN the mirror world? what the hell?) Toto kind of confused me too, but that could also be an element I don’t remember from the last volume. Maybe. WAS Toto in the last volume, or was she just randomly inserted in the story?

The characters just aren’t all that interesting anymore either. Daisuke’s heroic, Satoshi’s mysterious and possibly noble, Dark’s a playboy, Riku and Risa have basically the same personality except one’s slightly tomboyish and one’s girly. DO SOMETHING WITH THESE CHARACTERS. SOMETHING INTERESTING. It’s not like a series about a little boy who turns into an ancient playboy art thief can’t be interesting, but it’s failing miserably. The interesting plot is being abandoned in favor of these terribly done character interactions, then when it turns back to plot it goes off in these weird fucking directions and ruins the relationships and interactions that are turning out interesting (Dark and Daisuke, Satoshi and Daisuke).

Ah. DN Angel, you disappoint in so many ways. Shame on you. I did like the next volume better, though.

DN Angel 2

This one just makes me cry. I was so excited about this series getting licensed, after all, it had a huge fanbase and I’d been hearing about how good it was for years. I don’t know if it just takes awhile to get good or what, but thus far, I’ve been terribly, miserably disappointed with it. Volume 4’s about to come out, still need to buy volume 3, and the thought of doing so is rather depressing because I know I won’t like it, but I need to keep up with it anyway.

So there’s still this weak, lukewarm storybook romance between Daisuke and the twins. Of course, things are complicated by the two twins, Daisuke, and Dark changing their minds about who likes who. There’s some cases that Dark gets to solve, but those aren’t the focus anymore, which sucks because that’s what I liked. Satoshi is still there, and I still like him, which is okay. This series just… really pains me. It has the potential to be so cool, what with the alternate personalities and winged bishounen and phantom thief with nemesis, etc. Those are the makings of a great story, but for some reason this is a romance, and a terrible one at that. Get your act together, Daisuke. Right now.


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