NEPHYLYM VOL 1, DARK EDGE VOL 7,8,9
Written and Drawn by Rei Kusakabe, Yu Aikawa
Published by DrMaster
Part of the charm of manga is its wondrous diversity, illustrated quite well by these two titles from DrMaster. Of course, with diversity, you also get a diverse level of quality, and that is also well illustrated by these two books.
NEPHYLYM teels the story of a young boy named Shun born with the power to give off static electric charges to metals. But as odd as that is, he is visited by a strange winged bird-girl named Air that chooses him to be her “Answerer”- in essence, Shun will act as an avatar for Air’s power in the fight against evil, which takes the form ofg humans and is comprised of a black, crystalline substance. Shun feels lost until he discovers that one of his classmates also has one of these winged partners. But before love can find traction and evil can be battled, he must deal with another classmate who fights the black crystals as well… and who loathes him.
Fun, charming manga set-up. Fairly bland art, but nothing distracting from telling the story. No fanservice. In short, this should feel like a solid book aimed at the younger female audience. The violence is even pretty subdued, not graphic. But…. wow. Just when you think, this book could work and go somewhere, Tsukasa, the third fighter, enters the picture and the book completely derails. This is one of the single most annoying characters in a manga I have ever seen- and you’re talking to someone who owns over 200 volumes. And has read over three hundred. I was so flabbergasted at how awful the character was that I lost my taste for the book completely. Maybe NEPHYLYM will improve as the series moves forward, but I’m in no hurry to find out.
On the flip side, DARK EDGE is an absolutely fine action-horror book. Set in an academy where the occult and supernatural reign supreme, there are vampires on staff, and being sealed in a coffin can make the rest of the world forget you exist, Aikawa has produced a dandy little bit of soap opera as well. DARK EDGE, with its love of vampires, should be an easy sell to the TWILIGHT crowd. But what really jumps out at you is the art, which handles emotion and gore with equal grace. Throw in characters that entertain and entrance, and you have a reading experience quite the opposite of NEPHYLYM.
And that is the beauty of manga.