Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: 7th GARDEN Volume 1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

MANGAKA: Mitsu Izumi
TRANSLATION:  Tetsuichiro Miyaki
LETTERS: Susan Daigle Leach
EDITOR: Annette Roman
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8721-9; paperback (July 2016); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
236pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

7th Garden is a shonen dark fantasy manga from creator Mitsu Izumi.  The series focuses on a gardener who finds himself caught in the middle of a struggle in which angels, demons, and humans fight for control of the world.

7th Garden, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 4) opens in the Age of A.N. (Annu Nuntius), year 78.  It is set in Exive, one of the seven great continents, specifically in the village of Karna.  There, Awyn Gardener protects his beautiful mistress, Mariphiel “Marie” Fiacre, and lovingly tends the beautiful gardens on her estate.

However, there is a female demon hiding in the garden.  Named Vyrde, this demon is bent on world domination.  In order to save Marie and the village, Awyn makes a deal with Vyrde and gains the ability to wield a powerful demon sword.  But there is much about Vyrde that is unknown to Awyn.

The 7th Garden manga is a comic book full of beautifully-drawn art.  In some ways, it reminds me of the art featured in the shonen fantasy series, Rosario+Vampire.  7th Garden is like a black and white paperback art book with page of page of manga illustrations that dazzle the eye.

From a story perspective, 7th Garden Volume 1 is slow to develop.  Honestly, I don't care for its internal mythology at this point because it seems like just another angels versus demons concept.  It takes about 200 pages to suggest otherwise; by then, we have to wait for the next volume.  I wonder if creator Mitsu Izumi was quite sure where she was going with this narrative early on.  She teases a lot of intriguing plot lines and subplots, but the best stuff seems to come after the last-page cliffhanger.  I think 7th Garden has possibilities, but those will become obvious in future volumes.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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