Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Burst Angel, vol. 1

Story and Art by Gonzo and Minoru Murao
Published in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline: When is a sequel a prequel?

Jo and Meg are freelance troubleshooters in a near future Tokyo where violence is common. Even in Takeru's private school, far from the dangerous parts of Tokyo that Jo and Meg live, there is violence in the form of school bullying. The two types of violence converge as Jo and Meg's pursuers (who were trouble they had earlier shot at and now were interested in returning the favor.) discover them hiding in a randomly chosen apartment, which just happens to be Takeru's. Even after Jo and Meg leave Takeru's life (after causing a lot of property damage in the apartment's parking lot) he cannot forget them, and after some other cases manages to catch up to Jo and Meg, just as someone from Jo's past also catches up with them.

From some poking around online, it seems that this manga is a prequel to the animated series. It focuses on two characters from the anime, Jo and Meg, with a recurring role for Takeru, a student who is bullied often. Takeru seems to be counterpart of Kyohei in the anime, the ordinary guy drawn into the world of violence that Jo and Meg live in. Considering that later the threats that they face are more epic in scale, here the array of thugs and enforcers that are the majority of the opponents of the volume don't really seem like a threat. About half of the volume have chapters that Takeru appear in, as he tries to understand the world he has been drawn into while the episodes that feature Jo and Meg show off their relationship, dysfunction and all. Some of the fight scenes are a little muddy, especially the ones that feature opponents that Jo actually have trouble with, so it is hard to compare the intensity of the fights. Jo has the standard thousand yard stare/PTSD symptoms that so many of the 'tough' women in manga/anime have. Which makes me wonder what is/was the source of the yuri undertones between Jo and Meg, since I doubt Jo is mentally capable of reaching out to begin one. It is also sad the only way that I could determine that this was prequel was from wikipedia, not the actual book itself.

Burst Angel, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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