Broken Angels Manga, Volume 3

May 22nd, 2007

Back in February of last year, guest reviewer Sean Gaffney had brought to our attention a series called Broken Angels. I read Volume 1, but did not follow the series closely. A few weeks ago, I ran into an unguarded copy of Broken Angels, Volume 3, picked it up and began to read. Bear in mind as you read today’s review, I have not read any other volumes but 1 and 3. But, based on those two volumes, I definitely can’t call this a Yuri series. In fact, it’s almost anti-Yuri in the sense that with every single chapter I’ve read a female character *seems* to be in love with or to desire another woman (who usually is a crossdresser) but is, in every case, really in love with a guy with whom she is incapable of communicating. In a sense, her apparent desire for the girl is a beard for her real desire. All much too confusing for me, honestly. The fact that all the women who apparently want our crossdressing heroine Sunao are broken, while being true to the title, puts me off no end.

In this particular volume, Sunao is jumped by crazy beeatch Saya who, after Sunao lives up to her name and doesn’t resist when Saya attempts to molest her, (Sunao in Japanese translates to something like meekly obedient) comes to realize that she doesn’t want Sunao, she wants the guy who treats her like a goddess, and whom she treats very badly.

The second story arc I found uneccesarily confusing and random, as Sunao, joined by her guardian and the crazy Student Council President, travels to some town for NO REASON to help fix the next Broken Angel, a girl who, in a brilliantly unique storyline, appears to be in love with a crossdressing girl but is really in love with a guy.

After two volumes (because of course I have not read Volume 2) I know exactly these things about Sunao: she wears boy’s clothing “for her own reasons” and she has a supernatural control over water. Oh, and she has the personality of a dishrag. None of the above have been explained in the two volumes I have read. Perhaps in a future volume they might be – OTOH, as the other crossdressing female character is said to wear boy’s clothes “for her own reasons” (and no, I’m not exaggerating – the sentence was exactly the same both times, which actually made me laugh out loud) I’m not too hopeful that any details will ever be filled in.

So, in this case the crossdressing, like any Yuri, is played entirely for titillation/service. The girls wear boy’s clothing “for their own reasons” none of which are ever explained and their gender identity is never really established, or even considered. It’s basically just “chicks in suits look cool.” Which is absolutely fine, but not enough to make me keep reading the series. The broken angels’ stories are far too much like a broken record for my taste.

Ratings:

Art – 6 It’s pretty, but the panels layout is a train wreck (to quote someone’s comment on Chi-Ran’s book here.)
Characters – 6 There are three character types who just keep appearing over and over with different names
Story – 6 Same as above
Yuri – 5, all service
Service – 5

Overall – 6 (Which, to clarify for my wife, means “I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it”)

I think I’m just too old for this series. The angst of “I like this person, but ‘fill in some absurd reason’ so I can’t be with/tell him” is just too exhausting for me.

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