Wolf God vol 1

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By Ai Tenkawa ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Supernatural ♦ $12.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

Kyounosuke will have to become the alpha of the Inugami clan unless his older brother Kokuyou returns. Believing his brother is more deserving to lead, Kyounosuke follows his scent to Tokyo where he meets Koyuki, a girl with no direction for her life, who helps Kyounosuke and unwittingly has a connection to Kokuyou. Kyonosuke will stop at nothing to find his brother, no matter the cost to him personally.

The most remarkable thing about Wolf God, is how unremarkable it is. It’s a lesson in clichés for a supernatural series. There is very little new or original going on here. Kyounosuke is typical for a male lead. He doesn’t believe he would make a good leader, and looks up to his older brother, who he already sees as alpha and thinks it’s only a matter of finding him and bringing him home. To that extent, he refuses to believe anything to contrary, even the possibility that he is dead. Koyuki, the female lead, finds Kyounosuke when he is sick and takes him in like a lost puppy. Like your typical female lead, she isn’t troubled about bringing a strange boy home, and she has a connection to Kyounosuke’s brother; her older brother knew him. So there can’t be anything random about their meeting. And she isn’t freaked out about any of Kyounosuke’s abilities. Other clichés thrown into this parade is Kyounosuke losing his supernatural strength and sense of smell due to human medicine used to treat his fever, and having a cousin from a minor house that is in competition with Kyounosuke. He believes he’d be a better choice for alpha, and Kyounosuke is only getting it because he’s from the main house.

Wolf God wasn’t a bad read, but neither was it really good. It became predictable very fast, making the story rather dull. The characters were just as dull, with nothing to make them interesting or stand out, other than how average they were. Newcomers to supernatural shoujo titles might find this interesting, but readers of the genre will find nothing new.

Fafner: Dead Aggressor vol 1

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By Xebec, Mikami Akitsu ♦ Digital Manga Publishing ♦ Teen ♦ Mech ♦ $9.99
Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Kazuki Makabe was living a peaceful life on the small island of Tatsumiya until it was attacked by the Festum; a giant being that starts blowing up the island. Kazuki is forced to pilot a Fafner, a mech designed to fight off the Festum to defend the island. Before long, he is joined by many of his schoolmates, putting their lives on the line to stop an enemy they know nothing about, but who the adults seem to know all too well.

Fafner: Dead Aggressor is a manga based on a light novel, that was an adaptation of an original anime. Already this title has points against it, as most adaptations of anime to manga are rarely any good. I had hoped this would be an exception. I was wrong.

The title starts with Kazuki in the middle of a fight with a Festum, and then jumps to before the attack to show the events that lead up to it. This is a story telling technique I don’t care for. The story then rambles on like a big truck that doesn’t care who gets caught under the tires. The characters are brought in with next to no introduction, and no time is given to develop them. Information is dropped in the dialog, but with characters coming and going so fast, there is not time or reason to care about them. There was a girl who had a crush on Kazuki, but she gets killed in battle before she can confess. There is no emotional impact in her death since you never really knew who she was. Scenes go by very quickly with little explanation, and leave the reader wondering what’s happening. It feels like the manga expects the reader to already be familiar with the context and characters, and this is just illustrating the scenes.

Fafner: Dead Aggressor could have been a good title. Yes, the story is very similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be good. The story is far too rushed and the characters too undeveloped to make it though. It reads more like a storyboard, with lots of scenes, but nothing to really connect them into a coherent story.

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