Most of the time, when comparing a manga to an anime, the anime takes liberties that can make it less like its source, and often not as good. 07-Ghost is one of those rare exceptions. The manga started in Japan in 2005 in the magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum, the same magazine that publishes Saiyuki. Eight volumes are available The manga was licensed by Go Comi! here in the states, and there are 4 volumes published. The anime ran from April to Septermber 2009, and went for 25 episodes.
Upon reading the first volume of 07-Ghost, you are often left with a “huh?” feeling. The story moves very fast, as it introduces Teito Kline, the hero, his friend Mikage, three of the priests of the District 7 church of the Barsburg Empire, and the main villain Ayanami and his henchmen. But the story moves too fast, giving little time to get to know the characters, and the reader is forced to assume things implied in just a few frames. The anime fixes a lot of this. Short scenes with Teito and Mikage showing how close they are and how much Mikage’s friendship means to Teito get more attention in the anime. When Mikage arrives at the church, an episode or two is spent with the pair exploring the church, and letting the viewer get to know the priests and their personalities better. Castor and Labrador get a lot more screen time in the anime then in the manga, where Labrador is hardly ever seen.
These little moments that let us get to know the characters better make the more tragic moments hit harder. The viewer has been given time to get to know the characters, and the shock hits harder than in the manga. The anime got some tears out of me that the manga did not. Everything just made more sense in the slower pace of the anime. It is mostly faithful to the manga, with the scenes that were added in only enhancing the plot and not feeling like filler at all. In fact, if the manga had had many of these scenes, it may have gotten a better reception with some reviewers. The anime covers the first arc of the manga, going through the first 5-6 volumes.
The opening is “Aka no Kakera” by Yuki Suzuki and its pace reflects the action that appears throughout the series. There is quite a bit of fighting, either with Teito fighting Ayanami, or Frau defeating a Kor. It’s a good song, and the animation that goes with it flows beautifully. It also shows off the pretty boys that are part of the appeal of this series, for the female half of the fans anyway.
This series has not been licensed, and is only available through fansubs, which you can find some of on Youtube. If you like 07-Ghost, definitely check out the anime. If you didn’t like the manga, I would suggest watching at least the first few episodes and see if it helps the title make more sense. It did for me.