Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seimaden Volume 6 bu You Higuri

Hilda is a simple dancing girl who can't remember her past, but in truth, she is the reincarnation of a woman named Ellis, who long ago was loved by a man named Laures. When Ellis's life was threatened, Laures did the unthinkable to protect her- he sold his soul to hell to protect her and became a demon. Now, hundreds of years later, Laures has risen to be the King of Hell, and Ellis's spirit was reborn in Hilda.

Laures wants Hilda/Ellis to return to him, but he has been serving as the protector of the mortal Hilda. At first, she thought he was just as human as she is. but recent events have revealed his true nature to her, but she can't see past the fact that he has been protecting her for years and still has feelings for him.

Recently, Roddrick, an Azelle, a race thought extinct, which have immense magical powers, showed up looking for her. Roddrick is apparently some sort of peasant hero, and travels with an annoying young man named Rabby. But it turns out that Hilda somehow has the Sword of Azelle in her body, and that if Roddrick gets it, it can increase his powers many times over. Hilda is somewhat attracted to clean-shaven Roddrick, but she also loves Laures.

Having recently, survived an attack by one of his own henchmen, Laures is wounded, but alive. He's found by a young girl named Iria, who tries to help him bu keeping him locked in ice. And Rodd has taken shelter in town. With his new magical power, he tries to save Hilda, only to be overwhelmed by the cries for help from the rest of the townspeople, all wanting him to heal them. Rabby, now taken over by the spirit of an ancient Azelle priestess who has very definite ideas about what he should be doing with his powers. She sets him up to be taken over by the God of the Azelle, who Roddrick is able to push away for now. But how long will he be able to resist the pull of Kaimei?

Roddrick does heal Hilda, and she recovers some of the memories she lost. She remembers being with Roddrick, and how they were always together. But the man he met turns out to be Karon, Lord of Hades and brother to Iria. Karon invites Laures to be a guest in his home, but when Iria irritates Laures by trying to read his mind, he lets her see what he is feeling, and Karon imprisons Laures with the use of one of the plants of Hades, a dream flower.

But after his wounds are healed, the despair and love that Laures feels for Hilda makes Iria free Laures, and he returns to the human realm to find Hilda. Meanwhile, the spirit possessing Rabby reveals that she has let a demon named Kaimei possess Roddrick, because that is his fate. but when the man attempts to fight the Priestess, Roddrick comes to her rescue. Laures and Hilda reunite, and she tells him she hates him for what he has done to her memories, but she still has feelings for him.

But when the confrontation between Laures and Rodd causes Hilda's wound to reopen, not even Roddrick's power can save her. Kaimei, or Karon as he is better known, tells Laures he can save Hilda, for a price. He wants to be King over all the demons, and if Laures will just serve him, he will save her... But his actions begin a war between humans and demons, and also between Laures and Roddrick. Will Laures be able to save Hilda? And can he save himself from Rod?

I wasn't all that impressed by this manga. Yes, the art is pretty- very pretty, but the story is a confused mess that just made me shake my head in confusion. Things happen for seemingly no reason, like during the attack on the human church where Hilda is trying to heal, Rodd heads out to fight the demons, but doesn't find any, leaving him racing to get back to the church in order to get there in time to stop the demons attacking it. The idea of his character being unable to find demons is fairly ludicrous, and in reality, I was extrapolating for why he went riding off during the middle of the attack. All the survivors are already in the church... why not just stay there?

Like I said, the art is pretty. Too pretty. In one of the earlier volumes, Laures tries to shield Hilda from seeing his demon form, with the excuse that he doesn't want to frighten her. His demon form? The same as his human form, except he now has two bat wings sprouting from the back/sides of his head. And that leaves me scratching my head. Weird? Yeah. Frightening? Not so much. And once she sees him like that, he pretty much goes around in that form all the time, and nobody else seems to regard him as immensely frightening or run screaming from his presence. So why does he think sprouting bat wings is gonna freak Hilda or anyone else out?

The bad parts of the story can be summed up in one sentence: Too much happens with little or no explanation. Not that everything needs to be telegraphed, but a little explanation would be nice. As it stands, Rodd is being screwed over by the spirit of one of his own people "because it's his fate". Are they trying to tell us that his people were evil and/or malevolent? I have no clue and the story doesn't explain, which leaves me and the other readers in the dark.

In short, this series is fluff. Pretty fluff, but fluff, and darned frustrating to read. If you picked it up in the middle, as I did, or with this volume, feeling confused is going to be a way of life for you. If you are looking for characters with reasonable motivation, this series doesn't have much to offer you, based on this volume alone. And I found it frankly rather ridiculous. You might want to steer away from this one.

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