animefringe march 2003 / reviews

Seraphic Feather Vol.2: Seeds of Chaos
Format: Left-Right manga / 240 pages
Production: Dark Horse / Utatane Hiroyuki / Morimoto Yo
Comments: Nothing like beautiful fighters with 'Angel Class Augmentations' to keep us interested.
Animefringe Reviews:
Seraphic Feather Vol.2: Seeds of Chaos

In the future, mankind has discovered tiny seeds from an alien culture - each with the power to shape reality and the multiverse. Now, various mysterious factions are vying for possession of these seeds, and existence itself hangs in the balance. Even in volume two of this series, our hero - Oumi Sunao - still hasn't a clue as to what he's facing, but with his newfound friends and in-born psychic abilities, he may just be up to the challenge of avoiding the destruction of the universe.

In general, this is yet another series where a strange power is discovered, and then evil people (who believe they're doing good) decide that the best solution for a morally corrupt planet is to destroy it and then use the power to rebuild a new one. It's been done frequently, from Sorcerer Hunters to Saber Marionette J to X, but there are enough unique twists and interesting characters in Seraphic Feather to allow it to stand on its own.

This is a paranormal science fiction tale, with elements of biological engineering mixed in with psychic powers to an interesting degree. One of Sunao's allies, Miss M-Zak, has been biologically augmented with superior strength and speed. Also, his newly rediscovered childhood friend, Kei, has powers that seem even more amazing than M-Zak's, though we still haven't seen too much of what she can do. While the first two volumes have presented a large dose of expository information, there was also more than enough action to keep me eagerly flipping the pages. As this is (so far) a story-driven manga, I don't want to give away too many plot elements for fear of spoiling the series. Honestly, there's still a significant portion of the story that I'm not too sure of yet, so I'll be able to more confidently summarize the action after I read the next volume in the series - due out very soon.

It seems as if Dark Horse picks only the most elegantly illustrated manga such as Oh My Goddess, Shadow Star, and 3x3 Eyes. Seraphic Feather is no exception, with some incredible linework that emphasizes the characters over everything else. There aren't too many background scenes in this manga - it consists primarily of shots of the characters. Luckily, the character designs are exquisite, in particular the beautifully illustrated women. The writers didn't skimp on the fan service, so you can count on every fight to involve just as much damage to clothing as to people and property. It's fairly obvious that Utatane started out as a hentai author, but the visuals in this series come off as being tastefully sexy as opposed to just plain slutty. Shading is smooth and even, lending more of an anime feel to the manga rather than a hand-drawn look. It's an appealing style that works rather well with this particular series.

The book is a good size (5.75x8.25" and 240 pages) but comes with a rather hefty price tag - $17.95. The most likely culprit for the high price is the thickness of the book, but it is kind of hard to justify purchasing a manga for almost $18 when you could practically get two less expensive books for the same cost. It has been flipped from its original format, though that's to be expected from Dark Horse.

Seraphic Feather is an interesting sci-fi yarn populated with beautiful heroines and engaging action scenes. With more volumes on the way soon, it's sure to get even more interesting, so I'll be waiting to see what's next.