Mayumi Azuma – Tokyopop – 2010 – 18 volumes
On one hand, I’m happy to see any of Tokyopop’s old series, and it makes me happy that they not only were able to return to publishing, but that they were able to continue what were hopefully some of the best series they had to offer. But because this is the internet, and I am an entitled fan, I just have to ask: Seriously? Elemental Gelade?
Obviously I’ve been reading since the first volume, or I wouldn’t be picking up volume 11. But it’s been a long time since 10 came out, and this volume isn’t very good, so the sour grapes are creeping in. When you have people with gibberish names that have gibberish job descriptions at organizations with gibberish titles, and your volume is full of this as exposition, there’s nothing you can do except wade through the crap and hope that the main characters can pick you up at the end of it all.
And they do. The main characters in this series are at least likable, and a little romance is beginning to pick up between Cou and Ren (in that Cou is beginning to get jealous of the thought that Ren might have someone waiting for her in Edel Garden). The four main characters wind up in another interesting fantasy future-city, and split up to comb the levels. Lots of the city, its culture, and the wackiness of the characters are on display here (especially with the Arc Aile agents), and those are really the best of what this series has to offer. The fact that we had to face the bad guys again, and we moved yet another link up the chain to find out the old enemies were really just henchmen for a greater evil… well, I get tired of it.
There’s also a fight scene at the beginning. With all the changing forms, singing, type matches, stuff blowing around, half-synchs and whatnot, it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s happening.
I’m sorry, Elemental Gelade, you just aren’t very good.
More points to Tokyopop, though, for the lengthy summary they had in the beginning of the volume. I was happy to see it after the long break, and I think it’s necessary in a series like this that feels the need to make up words to describe everything.
I reviewed this one for this week’s Minis column at Manga Recon, so you can read my review over there.
This is in case, you know, you were feeling a little overwhelmed by all the shoujo over here lately and felt the need to know about the newest volume in a shounen series I kind of hate.
Tomorrow I’ll throw in some random Shounen Jump Advanced volumes for some variety.
Well, this volume was slightly more interesting than the last. The characters run into a cowboy-type festival in the next town. The doctor that helped to cure Ren gives them all festival-appropriate costumes, which are all cowboy themed. Except for Cisqua, who has to wear a really weird cow suit.
More stuff with the forces working to kidnap Ren come forward, except the explanation is either too general, too bland, or not in depth enough. I see that the bad guy from last volume reports to a woman, who sends out another bad guy of equal rank that the characters tangle with here. And then the leader goes to meet with another leader. They all have names, and they all clearly are interested in Ren. But they make for bland villians.
The guy they send out in this volume is okay, though. He collects Edel Raids, and is trying to get one of each type. He then goes on the explain strengths and weaknesses among Edel Raids, stuff like fire types are weak against water types, etc. It was sort of interesting, but also sort of made me want to play Pokemon instead.
Anyway. He seems to know Cou well enough to know that his weakness is bunny girls, so he dresses all his Edel Raids up in this fashion and ambushes Cou. I’m… not entirely sure why Cou’s weakness is bunny girls. Maybe it’s just bunnies. He doesn’t seem like he has any sexual attraction to them or anything… he just sort of likes them.
He and Ren do get to fight together, which is nice… but again, I’m not a big fan of the fight scenes in this series. Even with all the explanations flying around, it was still kind of boring.
Sigh. I don’t really like this series. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it though, so I’ll give it another chance with these next few volumes.
I actually did like this volume a little better, but only because the old lady Metherlence was awesome. There should be more old lady characters who can defeat anyone in combat. She also kept yelling at Cou, which I approve of.
There were a couple action scenes, one with a Viro and one with a Viro boss, who was an Edel Raid user. I’m not a fan of the action scenes since it’s sort of difficult to tell what’s going on and they’re often situations where anything goes and there could be random limbs and weapons generating from anywhere. I’m also not a fan because they all, inevitably, turn into a battle royale. In the fight with the Edel Raid user, there’s a fight between she and him, that Cou then enters, then some random guy appears to fight, then Cisqua appears from nowhere, etc. I just don’t like them. And there’s a lot of them. So there’s why I don’t like the series.
A plot twist was thrown in near the end where the elder Metherlence advises strongly against going to Edel Garden. I can see that going some interesting places.
Also, there’s some character development when we figure out how the other Arc Aile agent feels about his fight last volume. He has Very Special Moments with a few of the characters. I kind of like him, but these scenes were terrible. Way too over-the-top.
I’ve got two more volumes, so let’s see if there are any more hard old ladies or if the Edel Garden thing goes someplace interesting.
I think it’s safe to say that this is still one of the most boring action series known to man somehow. It doesn’t do anything particularly poorly, it’s just really, really generic.
What happens… well, the group is walking off the beaten path since it’s almost impossible to travel with Cou, who doesn’t have the equivalent of a passport. After building up some stuff with Viro, who is the creepy, suspicious girl that had been following them around for awhile, the biggest event in the volume is the unveiling of who she is and the appearance of a new enemy. There’s a fight with edel raids towards the end of the volume, but it was somehow lousy compared to the edel raid fights in the past. Plus Ren and Cou didn’t really get a chance to fight, which is what I want to see most. Afterwards, there’s a big sad scene with Viro that I just couldn’t bring myself to feel anything about.
That’s right. Elemental Gelade is the king of bland.
There wasn’t even all that much action in this volume other than at the very beginning, when the battle with Greyarts was finally settled. The rest of the volume has the characters stalled in a large country and growing more and more suspicious of Viro.
There were about three things in this volume that I liked. One was the creepy way Viro started licking Ren’s Elemental Gelade (located on her forehead). The second was that this new country had mail delivery via squirrels. The third was that, in order to hide from guards after smuggling into the country and becoming a wanted man, Cou camouflaged himself in front of his own wanted poster by striking the exact same pose in the photo.
The rest of the volume? Eh. The series still doesn’t seem to be going anywhere save for towards the Garden (eventually), and while new stuff with bounty hunters trying to take out Cou has been introduced, it just doesn’t feel all that interesting. It’s possible some fun stuff will happen with the bounty hunters later though, so here’s hoping.
I just… it’s still not my thing. It’s an action-y series with fairly shallow characters aimed at boys. You can tell it’s aimed at boys because there were lots of jokes about the main character and various girls, and he is accused of being lecherous without actually talking, looking at, or touching anybody. Also, in this volume, there is a long scene where all the characters visit the pool. In case you wanted them to be at a hot spring instead, hot springs are discussed as an alternative. Or something.
On a totally different subject, because I don’t really have that much to talk about for this volume, I nearly forgot the teacher in Urusei Yatsura’s name. I’m not sure how this is possible, because his name is printed all over his clothing and person. It took me around a half hour to remember: Onsen-Mark.
Anyway. The fighting tournament finishes up in one of the most predictable ways possible. As the team boards a cruise ship bound for a new destination, a new enemy attacks. I wasn’t very impressed with any of this really, and nothing new was revealed about Ren, what may possibly occur once they reach their destination, what will happen with the Arc Agents once they get there, or really anything at all. What I did learn is that there is a powerful bond between a pleasure and an Edel Raid (which I already knew, and was boring the first time around), and that everyone is after Ren because she is a very rare Edel Raid, which is something that was established as soon as she appeared.
I don’t fancy it much, honestly. It seems powerfully mediocre to me.
So. We get a volume about training and building the relationship between Cou and Ren. At the end, we get to go back to the fights they failed spectacularly at last volume. There is some slight plot involved as the characters try to free a pair of sisters, but mostly it’s just explained and hinted at, then the resolution is carried over into the next volume.
While the fighting is much cooler and there is more information about the Edel Raids and how they mesh with Pleasures this time around, it’s still just… not my thing. It still feels really shallow, even with all the development we got here. Plus, not much happened to advance the group to the Garden they need to wind up in. A few more volumes like this… well, I don’t know who I’m kidding because I never give up on series… but a few more volumes like this and I’ll really, really want to give up on it. It’s really just not for me.
This volume is where things start to get better. There’s a bit of a riddle here as a craftier class of thief goes after the Edel Raids. His sidekick is pretty cute and also crafty… and also annoying, but I forgive her because she’s faithful.
The Arc Aile agents once again put up a pretty awesome fight here, and we even get to meet more agents. Cou and Ren still aren’t fighting that well, but that’s to be expected I guess, since it helps development, you see. All the characters are still kind of annoying stereotypes, but I was at least somewhat interested in the story at the end of the volume, which ended on a cliffhanger in a fighting tournament.
Yes, a FIGHTING TOURNAMENT. Please spare me, Elemental Gelade. I can’t remember if it was in volume 2 or 3, but there is also a hot springs scene. We don’t need both a generic fighting tournament and a hot springs episode within the first three volumes. Oh wait, we’ve already got a robot weapon girl and outspoken girls who tag along unwelcomed, so I guess the others aren’t hurting it too much.
That had a bit more venom than usual. It didn’t dip that far below mediocre, and I’m sure there are a lot of people that like it (apparently the anime was very popular), and I’ve certainly read and enjoyed much worse, but I guess it’s just not my thing.
I’ve got a PILE of manga to talk about, but Elemental Gelade is the oldest. I kind of want to cut my losses, because I’ve got… 10 volumes that I need to talk about, and I don’t have time, but I’ll get around to it. There are gems in those volumes. Gems like Pon-chan. Gems like JOJO.
Anyway. This volume is mostly about the gang stopping a bad guy who’s kidnapping the Edel Raids. I liked this volume a bit better, because we got to see different Edel Raids all in action, and that was pretty cool. I also kind of like seeing the Arc Aile agents in action, because they can be cool… but mostly they are annoying stereotypes.
It starts to develop the characters a bit more, but they’re still pretty shallow, and mostly annoying stereotypes.
I don’t know. I read this one almost a month ago, so I don’t have any further opinions to offer. Still not all that great.