Tuesday, December 30, 2008

St. Dragon Girl, vol. 1

Story and Art by Natsumi Matsumoto
Released in the US by Viz

Slugline: Every good town has to have a teenage demon removal service...

Momoka is a hard charging kenpo student, daughter of the master of a martial arts school, whose childhood friend Ryuga Kou is a Chinese sorcerer who often deals with the demons that plague their town. Momoka is secretly in love with Ryuga, well, not so secretly. Apparently everyone in town, including Ryuga, is fully aware of it but she refuses to acknowledge it. Even when Ryuga gets in over his head with a demon and is forced to summon a dragon to possess him, Momoka insists that rushing in to take the blast of magical energies herself is just a show of friendship. Still, that means that she is possessed by the dragon and when the dragon is not bound, she can be very powerful. That can attract all sorts of attention from demons that Ryuga has to help her with, and with her dragon derived powers she can help him with his own duties chasing down demons.

Reasonably okay story, but there is no romantic tension at all here. She knows she loves him, he knows she loves him, the neighbors down the street know that she loves him, and while he hasn't said anything (typical boy) it is pretty clear he is at least fond of her and there are no obstacles in their way. That is all that is needed for true love nowadays in most manga, so what is the point of dragging it out any further? True, he binds her dragon powers for no readily apparent reason so that he controls whether or not she is powerful, but when is that ever a problem in manga? Sure, most real people would have problems being forcibly constrained in such a way, but as manga misogyny goes, that is relatively mild. But those two in combination, and the lack of anything really interesting going in the plots, drags this title down to two stars.

St. Dragon Girl, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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