Manga-ka: Makoto Tateno
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: September 2008
Synopsis: “Innocent Mika is puzzled by the number of people approaching her and willingly offering themselves up as prey! On her question for answers, she stumbles upon a mysterious silver shop and soon discovers that Lucifier himself may have a hand in the madness. With her twin persona Eru guiding her from deep within, Mika must slowly a untangle a web of secret alliances, street violence and bloodletting… but her hazy memories may rise to the surface and interfere with her true calling.”
Volume two of Red Angel takes a significantly different turn than its predecessor. What was once a somber tale of vampires living their lives among humans, spirals into a disarray of lost memories, fallen angels and tormented souls.
Admittedly I was disappointed with this second, and final, volume of Red Angel. I had really enjoyed the first which was a low-key, introspective look at a pair of twin vampires sharing the same body. In this book, Mika and Eru are constantly finding themselves at odds with a character introduced in the previous volume, Kinsei. He’s determined to have them remember their pasts while Eru remains firmly opposed to the idea, choosing to keep what he remembers from his other half, the curious Mika.
While Mika and Eru’s role in the story as leads was something I enjoyed in the first book, here I was actually bothered by the story turning to deal with them exclusively. Gone are the stories that took time to delve into the lives of others through the pair’s gaze and I mourn the loss of that third-party interaction. Even the interesting vampire element is a thing of the past as a relatively cliched story of archangels, Lucifer, God and holy wars replaces the consistently uprooted lives of the day-walking vampires. For the first half of the book, I also had trouble keeping track of what was happening and who the new characters were (each having ulteriour personas of sorts as well), which did nothing to aid in my cool attitude towards the plot’s deviation. Fortunately the pacing evens itself out a little better by the end and the story eases you out in a way that’s thankfully easier to follow.
Makoto Tateno’s art style is still attractive and I think suits the material here well, one trait that atleast carried over well from the first book. Mika inparticular remains a beautifully drawn character with her classic gothic style clothing and flowing black hair. The whole book is treated well by DMP overall with the usual full colour cover slip and larger cut size. There was a moment of inconsistency in the book regarding the spelling of Mika’s name, and I did find the book’s back to be very visually cluttered. However, these were small quips in an overall decently handled release that doesn’t do anything new but does continue with some well-expected quality.
With a change in plot that did more to hinder than help, volume two of Red Angel fell short of my expectations as a follow up to its darker, more unique first installment. Fans of the first will likely still like reading it, but may find themselves off-put by the sharp change in direction and find rereading volume one will offer the best method to enjoying the same charm.