Bride of Deimos Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Release Date: Friday, November 01, 2002
Writer/Artist:Story: Etsuko Ikeda / Art: Yuho Ashibe
Translated by:Sahe Kawahara
What They Say
This is a dark and brooding yet tantalizing anthology filled with passion, mystery, despair and one lovesick Demon. Long ago, a brother and sister lived happily on Mount Olympus until they fell in love. The gods were so angry about their forbidden affair that they exiled them from the mountain, transformed the brother into a demon, and imprisoned the sister at the bottom of a vast ocean. As her body rotted under the waves, she asked for her demon brother to find a girl that resembled her exactly so that she could possess a new body. However, once this unsuspecting bride-to-be is found, the sibling's tawdry affair begins to crumble.
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This shoujo anthology, originally published in 1975, mainly revolves around two characters. One is beautiful Minako Ifu, a carefree high school student from a wealthy family. The other is Deimos, a demon. The first story opens with Minako being visited in her dreams by Deimos, who tells her she is to be his bride. The death of a girl who is chosen to be a prima ballerina and the disappearance of her boyfriend shows her that Deimos is real and very dangerous. The next story concerns a young man and the terrible sin he committed five years earlier. In the next chapter, Deimos puts an evil spin on the classic tale of Kaguya, the moon princess, found by a bamboo cutter inside a bamboo tree. Minako then travels to a remote island where she learns that not all the evil in this world is Deimos' fault. Finally, we learn why Deimos is persuing Minako. Once, Deimos and his sister Venus lived on Mount Olympus with the rest of the gods. However, when Deimos and Venus fell in love, the gods punished them. Venus was sent to the bottom of the ocean, where her body rots, and Deimos was exiled and turned into a demon. Now he looks for a woman who looks just like Venus, so that she may take that body as her own. Minako is that woman. But after finding her, Deimos' will is beginning to waver. His pursuit of Minako may now be in earnest, which does not please Venus. The final two chapters involve a possessed Nou mask and the manipulation of the wife of an auto racer.
Bride of Deimos is a unique choice of titles for ComicsOne to license. There are almost no manga from the '70s being sold in English, so this makes a very welcome addition to the market. The horror aspect of this shoujo title makes it even more unique. Etsuko Ikeda's tales of betrayal and pettiness as well-told, even if it gets a bit campy at times. The hubris, greed and jealousies that mark our everyday lives get twisted by Deimos, who constantly tries to prove to Minako that there is no use in defying him. Minako is a strong opponent for him, though, as she continues to seek out the good in people. Yuho Ashibe's art is a delight to the fan of old school manga. There is very little screentone used. Instead, impressive use of shading and hatching add depth and dimension to the art. A slight Osamu Tezuka influence is visible, though Ikeda puts her stamp on the way the pages are laid out and the wide, almost glittery eyes.
The art reproduction is fine, though when screentones are used, there is considerable moiring visible. However, detail in penstrokes, especially in the women's hair, comes through quite well. Sound effects are unretouched, instead they are translated right on the page. The English adapation is good, though it can be a bit melodramatic at times. Considering the subject matter, that may be unavoidable. The cover is an image of Deimos standing in front of a bookcase, holding a book in his hand. It's a surprisingly quiet and contemplative image, considering the horrors inside. The title is in English, and tends to disappear against the background. A little more contrast in color would be helpful. The bottom of the front cover is a simple white band with the volume number and the artist/writer info. At first, it looks a bit unimaginative, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. It adds to the feel of understatment and elegance that the cover painting evokes. The back cover has a small image of Venus, collapsed in what looks like a shimmering pool of blood, against a black background.
I'll admit I'm a fan of old school manga, so Bride of Deimos was a welcome surprise. I enjoyed the art and the story quite a bit. If you're a fan of shoujo manga and want to see where the genre was 30 years ago, or even if you're just looking for something unique and fun to add to your collection, I'd strongly recommend Bride of Deimos.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: C+
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ComicsOne
Orientation: Right to Left