For most of the inconsequential things I reviewed up to this point they fall into the major categories of Shonen and Seinen. Genres where I'd be considered the periphery demographic but love none the less. So today we are taking a walk on the girly side with Glass Wings. This is the 2003 debut of Misuzu Asaoka better known for...nothing else really, moving on. This is a short anthology series containing 3 stories: the titular Glass Wings,Firefly and Jion Princess. They are all connected with the theme of love conquers all. For a change of pace we'll dissect art before everything just so my comments don't become redundant when talking about the stories.
The art here is actually pretty nice: the characters look nice and the backgrounds are beautiful. However they are in a constant war to out dazzle each other and as a result everyone loses. Scenery blends together in ways that shouldn't be possible. Speech bubbles pop in like an annoying kid brother trying to see what's going on. It makes the first story an incomprehensible mess and muddles the other two stories. Which is pretty sad because the character design is very pleasing to the eyes with good looking characters and nice if elaborate costumes. That's all I'm going to say about the art for now. Moving on to the stories;first on the chopping block, Glass Wings itself.
Glass wings to put it bluntly is a mess that makes the remaining chapters seem better by comparison. To sum it up in short: A boy(Hagane)with deadly blood is abused by his mother (Tsubaki)and falls in love with his sister(Ruriha). They escape and are assaulted by a kid whose sister Hagane killed. They kill him then are back with Tsubaki and escape again while she sets their home on fire... I think. Everything is so abstract and confusing that it's like an episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena written by an idiot. It doesn't help that the first chapter explains very little and nothing else gets explained much later. The chapters flow with the grace of a dead swan,so good luck getting your head around it before it changes settings again. The main leads are decent in a traditional sort of way,drawn together by their cursed blood. Tsubaki is fairly sympathetic and I did feel a little bad for her at the end. Overall this story feels like it could be so much more but cripples it self at the first hurdle. Moving on to Firefly.
This story fairs somewhat better than its predecessor but only slightly. This one is much less muddled and doesn't feel like I started reading halfway through. The plot concerns a demon(Yuinne) fleeing his clan and living in a village. Sadly it doesn't take clairvoyance to figure out that this plan goes south quick and people try to murder him for being a demon. It works for the mot part however the romance in this one is pretty weak. It wants to focus on our lead brooding than giving him a decent romance. Which when your wanting to convey true love,is a bad thing. Yuinne and the girl(Mia) share about 3 panels before she's killed off in the mob scene about 20 pages later. The designs are again nice and the demon tattoos are cool. The climax does drop the ball hard enough to kill though mostly because of the art. The mob tries to kill Yuinne but somehow Mia takes the blow then his old boss shows up. It happens so fast that I'm left with whiplash trying to figure out where the humans went and what Aion from Chrono Crusade is doing here. The ending is lovely even if Mia sucks. So overall a story about true love redeeming marred by a shitty love interest,time for some yuri.
The final story is Jion Princess, the best of the three. It's about a girl (Soyogi)whose a magical net for a princess'(Yura)bad luck and sickness because they look alike. The eventually fall in love and then tragedy strikes. The main girls are actually pretty interesting and their relationship is realistic. It tackles proximity love and self worth in a interesting way. It's also one of the rare times I've seen a lesbian tsundere so that's neat.The art has reached a truce here and flows well.There is a scene with the two in dresses that just looks really nice and emphasizes how alike the girls look.If I have to bitch and I will,it's that somehow Yura gets sick at one point despite Soyogi being a barrier to catch that. It's still mediocre but looks better in comparison to the previous two stories.
Ok overall we have muddled stories that are trying to say something but the art is too busy having a civil war to let that happen. It has potential and the stories did keep getting better to the point of making sense. The book is bad but the little nuggets of good really do shine. Still if your going through the used bookstore and see this avoid it. Try to find Skip Beat instead, a much better series.
The book did get me interested enough to check out her other work. So next time, we'll keep on with Asaoka's work and look at Gata-Pishi.
As always comments,criticism and death threats are welcome.