Friday, May 14, 2010

Manga Review: Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian volume 1


Kaishaku has two stories running starring Chikane and Himeko, the protagonists of their earlier yuri fan favorite creation, Kannazuki no Miko. One is a web novel called Himegami no Miko. (English-language summaries of Himegami can be found here.) The other is a manga series that's running in Kadokawa Shoten's monthly Young Ace magazine. (Kannazuki no Miko ran in Kadokawa Shoten's monthly Shounen Ace.) Most of Kaishaku's manga titles have gotten anime adaptations- so there's a fair chance that Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian will receive one also. The Kannazuki no Miko anime was significantly better than its manga incarnation, which will hopefully be the case for ZSSA if it is animated.

So far, Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian is...well...what one would expect from Kaishaku.

Kurusu Himeko is a cheerful, orphaned high school student who works as a nun, along with "Oogami-sempai", the priest in charge of the parish she works for. One day she sees a woman (Chikane) impaled by a sword hanging above the cathedral altar. Because this is a Kaishaku story, Chikane is wearing a shredded school uniform. I chuck any expectations of political correctness out the window, and continue reading. Somehow, Himeko gets Chikane down from way up there and gets a doctor to pay a house call. (Instead of, say, calling 119.) There are three unusual things about Chikane (aside from how she was found): she looks exactly like Himeko's dead "older sister" Chika (I REALLY, REALLY hope that Himeko means "older sister" figuratively rather than literally; that's what I'm assuming for now), she's amnesiac, and the one thing she can remember is that Himeko is her most important person. She almost immediately starts putting the moves on Himeko, but is rebuffed by Himeko after (ahem) a few minutes.

When a flustered Himeko leaves Chikane so she can talk to Oogami, she gets attacked by a psychotic woman who claims to be from the eeeeevil Nine Days organization and wants the "Dragon's Cry" that is inside of Himeko's "sanctuary." (If that sounds like a double entendre, it's intentional- remember, Kaishaku.) Chikane ruthlessly (and kind of awesome-ly ^^ yes, I know that isn't a word) dispatches the woman with a sword- even though she used to belong to Nine Days herself-, and she and Himeko use a charred note the woman left behind as a lead for investigating the Nine Days in Ikebukuro. When they split up, Himeko is bound and nearly raped by a cross-dressing boy from Nine Days who hates women. (I look out of the proverbial window, and see that my expectations have been run over repeatedly by the Kaishaku truck.) Chikane shows up in the nick of time and pulls her sword on him- although he causes an explosion, making Ikebukuro go up in flames.

On another, more peaceful day, a burly man named Date who works for the government shows up and holds Himeko hostage so he can can grope Chikane- but whoops! His mistake- they're technically on the same side, although Chikane won't forgive him.

Himeko returns to her "normal" life at school, until Chikane shows up with a bentou for her in the middle of class, while wearing another student's gym uniform. Chikane wants to be all lovey-dovey, but Himeko tells her to leave. By lunch time, she feels bad, and looks for Chikane so they can share lunch. Chikane is on the rooftop defending herself from another woman from Nine Days (Shizuku), who claims that she's Chikane's ex. o_o (Although that may be a lie.) More fighting, clothes-shredding, and non-con groping ensue. (Most yuri fans who read this chapter were, shockingly, not as upset about Chikane being harassed by a woman as they were about her being harassed by a man.) After being snuggled held by Himeko, Chikane gets her fighting spirit back and defeats Shizuku, who escapes. Chikane falls down in exhaustion and swears to protect Himeko without fail.

If you are a fan of Chikane and Himeko's previous incarnations in Kannazuki no Miko, you will probably be grudgingly hooked on this crappy series. If you are not, you will probably see no value at all in it. That's it.

I actually really enjoyed the first chapter. It was stupid and servicey, but I really liked seeing Chikane and Himeko back in action. My enthrallment wore off in chapter 2, what with that nasty little near-rape scene- but I reasoned that, perhaps, Kaishaku had gotten it out of their system after that. (Never apply "reason" to a Kaishaku manga.) Nearly every subsequent chapter featured some form of sexual assault, followed by Chikane beating up the perpetrator. Even though the perpetrators were always punished, the fact that it happened in every single arc and felt like it was being presented as "service" when it was happening gave this series an icky edge. But then, now and again, through the muck of Kaishaku's pile o' fetishes, there would be a gleaming, worthwhile "moment" between Chikane and Himeko again. (Although at this point, Chikane thinks that Himeko is the greatest thing since sliced bread while Himeko doesn't quite know what to make of Chikane.)

Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian has a plot that could be stronger if it weren't preoccupied with bloomers, bunny girl costumes, and making sophomoric double entendres. ("Little bear"?) At the very least, Chikane and Himeko are cute as a pair (although Chikane's amnesia and subsequent lack of worldliness has put a dent into her "cool" factor), there is no full-blown rape (although Kaishaku seems to be itching to draw one), and the art is easier to follow than it was in KnM. Maybe it is the lack of mecha this time around (the mecha scenes in the KnM manga were a mess), but I never had trouble following what was going on and who was saying what in this volume. The action scenes are slick and energetic and the character designs are appealing- particularly when their clothes aren't being shredded.

Story: D
Art: B
Overall: C <--- Retrospective edit: Wtf was I thinking? F

It isn't good, but it isn't pretending to be. But...that doesn't really help.

10 comments:

Shinra said...

Yeah... I totally agree that the manga ain't tat good.... compare to other yuri mangas like Sasameki Koto.

For some reason, i want the author to change the characters rather than just copy paste them frm KnM in to a new story. Story n designs ain't tat bad... but the characters?? @_@

(but the Yuri DOES improve a tiny little wee bit)

Katherine said...

@ Shinra- lol I agree, this series is no Sasameki Koto. :)

I don't mind Kaishaku recycling their KnM characters as long as they do it decently. (But, argh!! I especially don't like what they're doing with Chikane.) They don't have any reason not to re-use Chikane and Himeko, because doing so will "make" suckers (like me) who are attached to the old characters follow the new story.

Hopefully it will improve- since I plan on reviewing it until it finishes. *crosses fingers*

Sheldor said...

Oh Chikane... what have they done to you. Haha this review was awesome, I thought you went a little easy on it but you did point out everything awful about it so that’s good!

I can only pray this doesn't get an adaptation but you're right it's chances appear to be high.

Kaishaku fails for not appreciating who his fan base is. Surely he must realise it's yuri fans reading this, why would yuri fans want to read this type of manga? Oh, that's right they don't.

I think Zefiberyl's dropped it now anyway. RIP Zettai Shoujo Seiiki!

Zettai Shoujo Seiiki makes Candy Boy the manga look good. Nuff said lol.

Katherine said...

@ Sheldor- lol Thanks. :)

And yeah...compared to how well Kaon and Himiko were portrayed in Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, I don't know wtf Kaishaku (which is a two-man team) is doing with this series. (Chapter 8 sounds...ugh. Can't blame Zefiberyl for dropping it.)

If we're lucky, Himegami no Miko will be animated instead, since it sounds like a better, more humane story.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%, truly.

Grudgingly hooked IS the right term, unfortunately...

And here I thought getting rid of the annoying mecha was a superb idea, Kaishaku managed to f*k everything up.

K-On faces on Himeko along with shameless "ikkitousen-like" service on chikane killed it for me.

But do you have some info on himegami no miko? Seems Kaishaku is doing two different storylines at the same time. It looks way better than ZSSA

Katherine said...

@ Anon- Lethe is posting English-language summaries of the Himegami no Miko chapters on her blog: http://forgettingriver.blogspot.com/

Uetake Sumio (who did the series composition and most of the script for the Kannazuki no Miko anime) is writing Himegami, while Kaishaku is drawing the illustrations. (I would think that Uetake needs to get whatever he writes for Himegami approved by Kaishaku, though, since he's writing about their characters.) From what I've gathered so far, Himegami is a much more satisfying story.

Since the Himegami website links to TNK (the studio that animated Kannazuki no Miko and Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora), I'm not-so-secretly hoping that Himegami will be animated instead of ZSSA. :)

Anonymous said...

Well i like the fan service this manga has. Its supposed to be ecchi so if your looking for an A list story your looking in the wrong place lol. The purpose of the manga is to mix fanservice and good story telling. For your info i like the bunnygirl costume :)

Katherine Hanson said...

@Anon- This series isn't good or sexy. The "story" is a flimsy excuse for Kaishaku to draw a sequence of sexual assaults.

Lena K. said...

Ok I guess I'm a little late with my comment but who cares?
Since Zettai Shoujo Amnesian or how I call it "Kannazuki no Miko 3" was just licensed in my home country I wanted to see how other people liked it.
First of all your review was hilarious, I can't agree more with you when you say that this is a really crappy manga.

But then again what can we do? As a devoted Chikane lover I just had to read it (and even enjoyed it)
Even though Chikane was a little too ecchi and big brested, she was still awesome, but I think my love for her really affects my judgement of this manga, because let's be honest, it was confusing, perverted and stupid...

Katherine Hanson said...

@Lena- "confusing, perverted and stupid" Yup, sums it up in a nutshell. I wanted to like this series, but... grah, Kaishaku.

Quite wonderfully/amusingly, Kaishaku had to disable commenting on their blog because they got so much negative feedback there over this series.

If you want, here are spoilers for Amnesian's ending, as reported by folks who sloughed through the entire series.

SPOILER
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Amnesian's Chikane isn't really Chikane, she's a goddess or something who took on Chikane's appearance for some reason (like Kaishaku taking a half-assed stab at addressing some of the backlash against them)- hence her personality being utterly different from the Chikane we know- and winds up with the dude who's Souma's expy, and Himeko dies and winds up in heaven with the real Chikane.

END SPOILER

Dear Kaishaku,

For the love of yuri, leave Chikane and Himeko alone. Just leave them alone. You really suck at milking your own franchise for all it's worth, because you suck at writing. The KnM anime only resonated with people as much as it did because the people adapting your story ideas (especially Uetake Sumio) managed to transmute your characters from a molding pumpkin into a pretty carriage.

Sincerely,
Katherine