Innocent Bird Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Patricia Beard
Review Date: Thursday, May 24, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hirotaka Kisaragi
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
Part of the angelic bureaucracy, Karasu is sent to earth to retrieve a demon living among humans. However, he's surprised to discover that Shirasagi only wants to throw away his heritage and his powers and live as a human - and a holy human at that! A priest working out of a bar in the city, Shirasagi teaches children and is generally an all-around wonderful person. But Heaven and Hell both want him back and will battle to retrieve him...

The Review
A demon living with a vow to God and an angel who is willing to risk everything to allow him to keep it.

Packaging:
Autumnal colors predominate on the cover with Karasu holding Shirasagi in a protective embrace. The print quality is acceptable overall, the exceptions being many of the former color pages now poorly printed in black and white. Particularly regrettable is the condition of the inside double page reproduction of Karasu and Shirasagi, certainly printed in color in the original Japanese volume - part of it is covered with blotches. One hopes that this is confined to this particular copy, but this speaks to the lower quality that affects some of the BLU titles. This volume also contains a short story, "My Sweet Darling". There is one page of author postscript and many pages of advertisement for BLU titles.

Artwork:
The attractive artwork at the start of the volume is somewhat rough, but becomes more confident and assured as the story progresses. Character designs are distinctive and display a variety of emotions and mental states. There is also a surprising amount of action that is easily decipherable and supported by a dynamic panel layout.

Kisuragi has a particular style for her alphas and betas that she seems to apply consistently. Her betas can take on a dreamy facial cast that is distinctive - a combination of wistfulness and self-reflection that comes off the page as sensuality. Her alphas are quite action oriented, their dramatic actions focused outward rather than inward as with the betas. Alphas externalize their strength and confidence.

Environments are mostly limited and depicted perfunctorily. Shirasagi's "church" is without characteristic, and what we get to see of heaven is a single panel of the depiction of a corporate office. Hell is a bit better defined visually. Kisuragi depicts it as a strife-filled war-zone with the residence of demon ruler archduke Beelzebub that is a cavernous area which dwarfs the figures in it. Kisuragi often shows it in exaggerated perspective that emphasizes the isolation, despair and inhumanity of the place.

SFX/Text/Translation:
There are few Sfx and they are not translated. There are no localizations. The text reads clearly and distinctly for each character.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Karasu, a "powers" from heaven, is assigned to convince demon Shirasagi to comply with his deportation deadline to leave earth before more harsh methods are enacted. What Karasu finds on meeting Shirasagi is a demon who has taken on the role of a priest, running a church out of a foreclosed bar, and teaching children who would have no other education save for his efforts. Shirasagi tells Karasu that he is looking for God's help, he wants to live as a human. He is sure that God will recognize and reward his efforts.

Karasu, a bit of a maverick, is fascinated by this demon who seems to have more faith than he does. He is witness to the harassment that Shirasagi and his flock are subject from the minions of Beelzebub, who will stop at nothing to get his favorite toy, Shirasagi, back to hell. After Karasu assists Shirasagi in helping a demon, who wants nothing more than to grant a wish to a dying woman who had given him unconditional love, he confesses to Shirasagi that he wants to live freely, not as an angel, but as a human with Shirasagi. However, this assistance has caused Karasu to be suspended temporarily from heavenly duties and he no longer has heavenly powers at his disposal.

Harassment from hell continues and, in order to save the powerless Karasu, Shirasagi agrees to return to hell and to Beelzebub. But the powerless Karasu, warned that God's voice cannot be heard in hell and that he will run the risk of becoming a demon, travels to hell to save Shirasagi.

Comments
Those readers looking for a more unusual story (and more story) than one
often finds in BL titles may enjoy this three volume series. It is the
story of two misfits who become traitors to both heaven and hell in
order to find their freedom with each other. This is more romance than
graphic BL, so those who like things on the softer side should not be
offended. This is given a "Mature" rating largely for the scene in hell
where a female human "clay puppet" performs fellatio on Beelzebub before
he throws her to some large human eating monsters. (Well, it is hell,
it's not supposed to be nice.) It's one panel and not obvious.

I especially enjoyed the short story, "My Sweet Darling", a very
touching story of how three boys become a family. Kisuragi has a gift
for creating poignant dialog and the pictures to go with it.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Released By: Blu
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1598168310
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left