by Fuyumi Soryo
Published in the U.S. by Del Rey Manga
Slugline: A mind-controlling man going by the name of Ryosuke Akiba meets Mine Kujyou, a woman scientist who he can't control.
Since I got serious about reviewing manga, there haven't been many titles that I'm genuinely looking forward to further volumes of -- Gunslinger Girl, and now Eternal Sabbath. (I've been reading Blade of the Immortal since Dark Horse began collecting the graphic novels.)
Volume 1 introduces us to "Ryosuke" and both his mind-altering abilities and his lack of self. Then we meet Mine, who is one of the most accurately portrayed female scientists that I've seen in manga. Then they meet each other, and I really enjoyed that a) she didn't fall for him b) she applies logic, reasoning and an open mind to figure him out, c) she's more curious than frightened, and d) doesn't launch a crusade against Ryosuke. Then, someone from his past arrives and supplies some background and a more direct plotline, namely that Ryosuke is one of two specimens created in a genetic engineering lab.
I judge manga by the same standards as any fiction -- its quality of plot, characterization, dialog, and worldbuilding. Soryo-san hits all the marks without invoking manga stereotypes, and no wonder: this is the author of Mars, one of the few romance series that I've actually finished. In this new series, the characters are clearly defined, the dialog is good, the background was filled in (but not overexplained) and there's the beginning of a plotline. So many manga need more than one volume to accomplish these things that it's practically normal... and what does it say about a writer that can't communicate such basic elements in the first hundred pages?
Eternal Sabbath sets a new quality benchmark for Prospero's Manga, I'm glad to say. I hope you readers give it a try.