Angelic Runes Vol. #01 -

Manga Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1569701225
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Angelic Runes

Angelic Runes Vol. #01

Angelic Runes Vol. #01 Manga Review

By Erin Jones     March 02, 2010
Release Date: August 05, 2009

Angelic Runes Vol. #01
© Digital Manga Publishing

A likable cast helps make up for a sometimes meandering story and poorly-defined setting.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Makoto Tateno
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say
A traveler in search of his father chances upon a pair of twins about to be buried by their village. The villagers claim the two are cursed, but he rescues them. He soon finds out what makes the villagers fear them: the siblings have the power of angels and demons! But he has his own secrets as well...

The Review!

The packaging for Angelic Runes is, to put it lightly, feminine.  The front cover features a simple shot of Sowil with Allu and Eru behind him.  All three are framed by a complex pattern of vines and flowers, and set on a pink and blue gradient background; the usual "DMP border" around the cover image is purple and pink with white sparkles.  The back cover has a small version of the color page for the first chapter, which is printed in black and white inside the book.  The bright fuschia text is a little harsh on the eyes, but it's been set on a pale blue background that at least keeps it easy to read.  Like several DMp releases, it's been presented in a larger trim size; perhaps because of this, the font size used inside seems a little small.  The translation is solid, though honorifics have not been retained, and sound effects have been subtitled.  Print and paper quality is solid, if unremarkable.
Tateno's art is also decidedly, heavily shoujo.  Male characters are invariably handsome with the same basic sets of features: broad shoulders, flowing hair, and thinner eyes than their female counterparts.  The women don't make out badly, either, but there are fewer of them and they just don't look as pretty as the boys do.  Eru and Allu are both adorable, and their expressions manage to convey emotion while remaining mostly blank.  The fight scenes, though drawn in the same light, sure hand as the rest of the art, are bland.  Sowil's use of runes to attack doesn't lend itself to exciting scenes filled with movement, but that's more of an excuse than a valid reason.  It's the world the characters are living in that suffers the most in terms of art.  After an entire volume, it's still not clear what the surroundings look like either in terms of architecture or nature, which prevented me from being fully "absorbed" into the story.
Our story begins with a bang: two children are about to be buried alive by the members of their village, when a young traveller named Sowil intervenes in the nick of time and saves them.  It turns out that the villagers believe that the children are cursed, and with good reason.  They are both oracles, with the young girl Allu communicating with demons, and her male twin, Eru, with angels.  Many different angels and demons speak through them, offering advice to Sowil that is often on the cryptic side.  As their journey progresses, Sowil reveals his unique form of magic, unknown to both the angels and demons, that uses runes to call forth different elements.  He is searching for his father, whom he inherited these mysterious powers.
It's a straightforward adventure/quest plot, and like many of the genre, spends too long filling each chapter with a different "demon of the week" sub-plot instead of focusing on the main events.  Eru and Allu stay in the background most of the time, occasionally speaking up to offer advice to Sowil.  Yet despite this, the main trio of characters is a lot of fun to watch interact.  Sowil is truly a nice person, which is why the story gets sidetracked so often--he can't resist helping out a person in trouble.  And while the twins don't have any direct interest in much of what happens, the demons and angels often speak up and offer conflicting advice.  Neither set is inherently good or evil, so watching Sowil decide whether to follow Eru or Allu is always a treat, as is seeing it work out in unexpected ways.  His quest to find his father is just put off too much in favor of fighting demons to be compelling as of yet.  Once the story stops wandering in circles and refocuses, it ought to get quite a bit more exciting.
In Summary:
Looking at it objectively, Angelic Runes doesn't offer too much in terms of original storytelling or depth.  However, Tateno knows how to craft a set of likable characters, and uses that to its full but intangible advantage.  While I might not be on the edge of my seat awaiting the next volume, I am interested to see what's in store for the cast of characters.  Fans who like their fantasy with a western vibe and don't mind a story that takes a while to develop should definitely give this one a look.


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