07-Ghost Volume 1
By Yuki Amemiya & Yukino Ichihara
Publisher: Go! Comi
Age Rating: 16+
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Teased unmercifully for his past as an orphan and a slave, Teito has only his best friend Mikage to ease his days to the elite Barsburg Academy – and his mastery of the magical art of zaiphon! But even that will not be enough to save him when he discovers a horrifying secret behind the ruling empire. Trapped in an ancient battle between a wicked god and Seven Ghost, guided by three mysterious priests, Teito discovers a power that could save the world…and shed light on his own mysterious past.
A first read through 07-Ghost can leave you feeling confused. A lot of information and characters get thrown at you with little explanation of what’s going on, who anyone is, or why they are important. This can leave a bad taste in your mouth if you’re not willing to let it sink in or give the book another read. Of course, you shouldn’t have to for a book that isn’t heavy on plot. But, if you give this title another chance, you’ll find and intriguing story and some really fun characters.
The plot of 07-Ghost seems difficult to find at first. The story moves a breakneck speed, not allowing the reader to digest all the information they got in one chapter before throwing more at them in the next. In the first chapter we meet Teito and Mikage as they are going into the final exam. We see zaiphon in use, but there no explanation of what it is. By the end, Teito has been arrested and escapes with Mikage’s help. In the second chapter he is taken to the Church where the rest of the volume takes place. Now the reader has a whole new place to learn about that has a deep background that has to all be taken in including the Kor and the 7 Ghosts. Cursory explanations are given along the way, but the next action sequence comes along and keeps you from really understanding. A second or third read through can help dispell the confusion.
The characters of 07-Ghost, particularly the priests seem to owe a lot to Saiyuki. Not only do Frau and Castor look a lot like Sanzo and Hakkai respectively, they also share a lot of personality traits. Frau is far from what you’d expect a priest to be like, just like Sanzo, has a violent nature, smokes, and doesn’t like to show his feelings. Castor, glasses and all, has the laid back personality of Hakkai that he often must use to keep Frau in line. He’s also more understanding toward Teito. But that’s where the similarities end. Frau is far from the serious and more reserved Sanzo, acting more like an overgrown delinquent, frequently hiding or being chastised for his porn collection. Castor tends to be the one doing the chastising, losing his patience with Frau will trying to keep a kind face for other. The third priest, Labrador, we don’t see very much in this volume, but seems to have an affinity to flowers.
Teito Klein himself is an melodramatic teen, though in some ways he’s justified in his feelings. He lost his family and much of his memory of them, and with the way he was treated growing up, it’s no wonder he wouldn’t trust a hand of friendship so readily. But once he finds it, he holds on with all his might. He can be compassionate, as he shows in the final exam in the first chapter, and doesn’t want to cause problems for others. But tragedy seems to follow him, as his memories return and the truth behind Mikage’s arrival at the Church becomes apparent.
And the one thing all these characters share that makes them appealing to their target audience is…they are all bishies. Frau, Castor, Labrador, Teito, even Mikage with his cross-shaped scar, are all hot looking guys. The guys all have the tall, lithe looks to them, dressed in flowing clothes and this hair that is always falling into their eyes. I’ll admit, it’s this aspect of the volume that made me give it the second and third chances. At time the action is cluttered, and like the story can be difficult to figure out, but can also be sorted out with later readings.
Overall, I enjoyed 07-Ghost and will continue to read it. I really like the characters, especially Frau with his bad boy attitude. But I’m also intrigued by the mysteries presented in this first volume. Who is Teito Klein? What is the Eye of Mikhail? Who or what is Ayamiya, the man that pursues Teito, and Who are the 7 Ghosts? All of these questions hooked me enough to keep me coming back for more.