Sat, 23 August 2008
Manga review of Tetragrammaton Labyrinth Volume 3 by Ei Itou. Translated by Kenji Komiya. Adapted by Shannon Fay. Originally published in Japan by Wani Books. Published in US by Seven Seas under their Strawberry yuri imprint, $11.99, Rated Older Teen 16+.
As Meg and Ann continue their mission to Germany by train, we flashback many years ago when Meg and Ann first met in Nepal. At that time Meg was just a child and traveled with her father, a missionary preacher set on seeking out unbelievers to convert them to Christianity. His wanderings had taken him to Katmandu in Nepal where Ann is being worshipped as the earthly incarnation of a local goddess. Unknown to him, some of the natives had begun to grow resentful of his presence and felt threatened by his new religion. Some of the angriest decided to take matters into their own hands and deliberately sabotaged a tall wooden pillar so that it fell and critically wounded Meg. When he learned what really happened, he snapped, completely lost his faith in God, and sought out a darker power to save his daughter and take revenge. Coming back to the present, Meg and Ann are attacked on the train by Prelati, the high ranking demon that showed up last volume, and this time he isn't alone. Thankfully, neither are Meg and Ann as some old acquaintances show up to give them aid and new weapons.
First up, this manga should definitely be rated Mature 18+ because it has some pretty graphic violence. There are scenes of dismemberment and even bodies torn in half with their guts hanging out. Even though the title is marketed by Seven Seas as yuri, it has practically no girl on girl entanglements or romance. So if you're into that sort of thing exclusively, you should probably skip this book. The relationship between Meg and Ann is one of friendship. Very intense friendship, but not romantic. Both girls need each other not because they lust for each other, but because they need companionship. In the last volume, Meg was complaining that there were no "normal" people in the organization that they work for and Ann had to put her in check by replying that Meg herself was not normal. The true extent of that statement is fully revealed in this third installment. The fact is that the two girls cling to each other because each is a bulwark against solitude and loneliness. Tetragrammaton Labyrinth's style is more like that of Bleach or Chrono Crusade without as much humor and a better feel for horror. In fact, the author acknowledges his debt to Crusade and even recounts a conversation he had with the creator of that series, Daisuke Moriyama, and got his ok that his own work wasn't a ripoff. Moriyama even contributes a drawing of Ann for this volume. While I enjoyed the first half of Volume 3, the second half has me worried. When two characters from previous volumes show up to help Ann and Meg, it almost plays out like an American superhero comic, and the work suffers for it because it loses its hardwon sense of creepiness. Hopefully, volume 4 will get the series back on track.
My Grade: B+