Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Angel Densetsu by Yagi Norihiro

The story is of Kitano Seiichirou, a very kind and pure-hearted young man, with a horrifying, monstrous face. People being what they are, they think he's a terrifying delinquent, and there are plenty of chance misunderstandings (coupled with Kitano's convenient inability to understand what's happening around him) that propel him into the position of "school guardian", a.k.a. head thug on campus.

Alternative Names

エンジェル 伝説
Legend of an Angel
The Legendary Angel


Sites for reading online (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Angel Densetsu
Now, usually when I see the word angel in a manga title I become a little wary. And with good reason, as far as I'm concerned. Usually you'd get beauty, charm, wings, a love story and some sappy boy or girl wondering how a love between an angel and a human is going to work out. In this case I was immediately relieved to note that the angel in question was rather less beautiful than expected and from the blurb I read that he wasn't really an angel at all. It is just a name in this instance, there to denote the fact that this fearful character is a good guy at heart.
This manga is all about not judging people by their appearances and giving people a chance before boxing them up according to stereotypes. So, in this instance I'm not sure if the above reaction to the title and cover was what was desired or the polar opposite... Either way the story's main message is simple and openly expressed from the outset. There are other messages in the story, including ones on loyalty and working as a team, supporting one another, accepting differences and so on. All of the messages are good for the young to read and there's none of the horrid tackiness that often comes along with school drama mangas. Also, for those readers with more violent tendencies or a hope to be strong and capable in such a way, there's plenty of fighting and illustrations of how to escape fighting throughout. Not to mention just what actions can be misinterpreted as aggressive.
Some of the stories in Angel Densetsu seem a little repetitive but this is mainly due to the constant bouts of fighting that occur and the fact that few who approach Kitano or his parents have a good impression of them straight away. Only those with clear eyes and an uncomplicated heart seem to be able to see them for who they are. Otherwise, Kitano is relentlessly bombarded by those who see his features as those of a thug and believe him to be the most fearsome guy about. Not to mention believing his father, a salary man, is in the mafia. But where the repetitive nature of some of the stories may wear you thin the characters of the story are boldly written, make you laugh and pull you along because you just want to find out what happens to them next. There are few who could be said to be truly nasty people, most just needing to see past their own blinders.
The illustrations of Angel Densetsu are clear and concise, with a fairly even balance between dark and light. Kitano has a somewhat unbelievable Joker-ish smile at times but otherwise there isn't much to throw a reader off. There were instances when some of the more Gothic and spooky styles found in teen mangas are used and to be perfectly honest I wanted a little more of that. Otherwise, the illustrations were rock solid and then provide a good start to understanding manga illustration styles for anyone yet to give mangas a go.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this manga. It took me back to earlier if not simpler days and left me feeling happier about it all. I greatly enjoyed the fighting scenes and the Gothic touches. I also really loved that Kitano's looks actually grow on you as you read on, almost as if you were one of those meeting him too. I also liked the fact that while Angel Densetsu has Kitano as its main character the rest of the cast is fairly evenly split between boys and girls when it comes to those Kitano befriends and fights, or avoids fighting, with. This aloud me, a female reader, to identify with some girls as they fought while also identifying with Kitano's situation, even if I don't have a Joker-ish smile.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone who's ever had an inkling they were oblivious to what's going on around them, vilified for no good reason or weren't the picture of pretty and popular when at school. Otherwise, anyone with a love of underdog stories. This is suitable for when you're a little unhappy or for when you're in need of a lazy weekend read that's heartening. Angel Densetsu is likely to appeal mostly to boys and girls of school age but I'd say that anyone who wants to feel a little younger and happier should have a read of this.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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