Our priest, sorcerer, knight, and summoner are ready to save the world! Wait, when did this become a story about saving the world?
Writer/Artist: Yun Kouga
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Adaptation: Christine Dashiell
What They Say
So what's a girl to do with the power of an immortal god? It's a tough decision, especially with the fate of Ouri's homeland at stake. She and Father Olivier are going to fight an ancient battle all over again, and if they win? It just might mean that everyone--from the gods all the way on down to Olivier himself--will find what they've been searching for. If they don't...well, one way or the other, their journey is coming to a spectacular conclusion.
Here we are, the final volume of “Gestalt.”
Ouri summons her courage and decides to come clean to her father about her venture into the cave when she was a young boy, and the “thing” clinging to her head beneath her kerchief. The thing is actually a small, winged woman and, contrary to what the readers and Ouri believed, not the Great Beast, but the truth isn’t far off and it basically serves the same purpose.
Ouri’s father isn’t exactly what I was expecting either, though it’s easy to see where Ouri got her personality (and hair) from.
Olivier has been fighting his own battle against the being inside him, the God Titania. We see exactly who it was that Olivier killed in the past as he struggles to come to terms with loosing Father Messiah. Meanwhile, Salsaroa has possessed Father Messiah’s body and pursued them all to the Land of G to lure out Gestalt and end the world. (Salsaroa’s motivation for wanting the world to end isn’t well explained, maybe being crazy doesn’t need a reason.)
Ouri’s father explains what she must do if she wishes to protect the world and her friends: allow Gestalt to possess her and use his power to banish Salsaroa. The big surprise is that Titania, the bane of Olivier’s existence, is now Olivier’s greatest asset. The final battle comes down to Olivier against Salsaroa, with Shazan, Suzu, and Ouri’s father trying to help.
The almost one-sided battle drags out until Ouri arrives on the scene, powered up, in a ridiculous outfit and, well, she doesn’t actually do much except deliver Gestalt to the battle. Olivier is able to protect the others till the gods sort out their conflict and depart in a surprisingly anti-climatic and sudden conclusion.
The denouement is so short and sweet it almost screams for a sequel, but there is none and this is the ending we get. There is a brief, extra epilogue, which the author suggests may or may not be what happens after the curtain closes. Remember Sakata and the others from the previous volumes? We never find out what happens to them or the curse Roxanne put on Ouri. It’s as if the author completely forgot about that plot line in the rush to finish everything else.
“Gestalt” is a highly unbalanced manga. Starting as an RPG-styled fantasy series, it evolved into a character-driven fantasy series, but it never shook the scatterbrained feeling of the first book. Over its eight-book run, you can see Yun Kouga evolving in her art and storytelling. The final book’s artwork has far more polish, reflecting the comic’s original nine-year run. If the manga had a planned finale from the beginning, it doesn’t show. Too many dropped plot lines are left dangling. The ending does provide some closure, but the conclusion happens so fast the effect is sadly muted. While the manga says that this is Ouri’s story, it’s actually Olivier’s. It’s his journey and he’s the one who gets the closest to a resolution at the end.
It’s hard to recommend this series to anyone but nostalgic Japanese RPG game fans and Yun Kouga fans. If you read the first book and couldn’t stand the characters, stay far away from this series. It’s just too much of a hectic mess unless you adore the characters and their interactions.