Aimless Wanderings 28: Your mom’s a justicar.
HOLY CRAP EVERYONE! I’VE BEEN AT THIS FOR OVER A YEAR NOW! YES I’M JUST REALIZING THIS! NOW ON TO BUSINESS AS USUAL!
WHY AM I YELLING?!
Kazehaya Kamito has received a summons to present himself before the headmaster of the Alessia Spiritual Academy, a facility with a sprawling campus where the noble young women of the land are taught in the art of making contracts with spirits to serve as their familiars. Due to the size of the school grounds, Kamito gets himself lost and accidentally stumbles upon a student bathing in a forest pool. After clearing up the misunderstanding calmly (it wasn’t) and with only minor levels of violence (the forest was nearly burned to the ground), Kamito implored the young lady to direct him to the school building (she didn’t do that). She, calling herself Claire Rouge, is hunting for a powerful spirit said to be sealed within the forest so she can form contract with it. Not knowing the way out, Kamito follows and they stumble upon a cave, within which a sword is sealed, and that means powerful spirit. Claire attempts to form a contract, but fails due to a sword flying at her face, and Kamito is forced to step in and form a contract with the blade before it can kill them both. He succeeds. This is a significant event due to the fact that male spirit contractors are extremely rare, with only one other being recorded in history. The problem is that this one other went by the title of Demon Lord and he ruled the world with an iron fist. People tend to be a little wary if a male contractor shows up for some reason…
If you’ve watched Zero no Tsukaima, I’m sure you’ve noticed some similarities between it and Seirei Tsukai no Kanbu; tsundere girl with a whip, magic academy, familiar creatures, etc. The fact is, so far, it’s basically the same except told in a different way. Doesn’t change the fact that I very much enjoy the series, mostly due to its few differences. For one, the male lead most likely knows a hell of a lot more than he’s letting on and is extremely powerful, but with very little in the way of work ethic (in this case it seems to be to avoid standing out and attracting the wrong kind of attention) and for some reason, I really like those characters. Another notable difference is the almighty grey area which, if you have read some of the past articles I’ve written, you know that is something I adore in a story, although is too often flubbed. I’m looking forward to big things from this series.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a new manga adaptation of an old series of novels, old being 1986, then a manga, then an OVA series, and is now a manga once more. The story is set in the ancient kingdom of Pars during the war against their neighbours the Lusitanians. King Andragoras of Pars demotes his most trusted general, Daryoon, on the advice of another general because Daryoon refused to lead his men into the upcoming battle, given the thick fog that had descended on the field. His only role now is the protector of the crown prince and son of Andragoras, Arslan. The fog has concealed treachery most foul, set up by the very general who pushed for Daryoon’s demotion(naturally), and the Pars forces are decimated. It now falls to Daryoon to protect the crown prince and re-take Pars from the Lusitanians, all the while having obstacle after obstacle put in their way.
I’ll be honest, despite the interesting story, the only real fact that this one is here is because Hiromu Arakawa is in charge of the art. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well written and an entertaining read, but there’s not really anything that sets it apart from all the other stories with variations of the same story. And that’s why you piggyback on the fame of a well known mangaka, kids; to get talked about on a small site in a dark corner of the internet.
I’m not sure how well this will turn out, since discussing this manga is a road into mindfuck city and filled with spoiler land mines, but here goes nothing. Shirasaki is a normal high school student(aren’t they all?), and he’s getting a little sick and tired of the daily grind. One day he takes notice of the resident odd girl in his class, Kamimura Yuuka, and finds himself paying more attention to her than to anything else, and she notices him noticing. After brief introductions, she explains that she is literally the only real, flesh and blood human, and everyone else is a robot. Yes, including Shirisaki. No, he didn’t know this beforehand. It also explains why nobody else ever reacts to her antics at all, and basically ignored her existence. It now seems that Shirasaki is hurtling headlong into… something. But whatever it is, it’s linked to Kamimura Yuuka in some way.
For a series that starts off as a fairly normal slice of life high school story, Classmate Kamimura Yuuka wa Kou Itta takes a sharp left turn pretty quickly. And then a right. Then it spins in circles for a bit, then digs a ditch, then starts to fly- you see my point. The manga gets somewhat eclectic at points, but it just seems to work for some reason. Perhaps it’s representative of how Shirasaki is disrupting the order of things by hanging around with Kamimura, I don’t know, but one minute they’re sitting in a normal diner, then the tachikoma tank (watch Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, people), ie. giant spider robot, shows up to obliterate them. It’s weird, and with the memory wiping (did I not mention that?) it turns into a Matrix, Momento, GitS:SAC combination. Whee. Check it out.