Reira Bandou is an ordinary, average college student, until a group of strangers tell her she is the reincarnation of Ashura, the Buddhist god of war and a member of the Hachi Bushu. Demons are invading the world, so the other members must be found, while Reira must learn to control her powers and regain her past life memories. As her memories return, the truth about the past comes to light, which could tear the Hachi Bushu apart just as the final battle with the demons is about to begin.
By Yuriko Matsukawa
Publisher: Digital Manga Guild
Localization: Translated by Todd Gunn; Edited by Angela Eastman; Lettered by Phileas J Fogg
Age Rating: Teen
Price: $6.95 eManga/$7.95 Kindle/Nook/Wowio
Having recently read the CLAMP manga RG Veda, Late Advent, which also features Ashura, the Buddhist god of war, interested me. The first volume started out with a lot of potential, but the rushed ending took a lot of wind out of its sails, leading to a less than satisfying story.
Late Advent started out fairly strong. Reira is introduced as she is in Art History class, learning about the Hachi Bushu, lower gods who came to earth to protect the humans from demons. Soon after, she not only meets Yakuni and Kyoichiro, two guys who claim to be reincarnations of the Hachi Bushu, but that she is one as well; the Buddhist god of war Ashura! She doesn’t believe it at first, until the demons start to attack and she transforms in her “deified” form for the first time. Sanoji, and Kujack, who is in the form of a myna bird, are conveniently found at Reira’ s university,and Koyuki is quickly found nearby. So are the last two members, Koichi and Murakami, but at the same time the demons become more powerful and more dangerous.
This volume introduces the characters and their mission; to stop the demons and close the gate they are coming through. There is plenty of action as the Hachi Bushu fight off steadily stronger demons that are trying to stop them from gathering all their members. Most of the focus of this volume though, is on Reira trying to recover memories and gain control over her powers. She can’t transform at will like the others and most of the time she when she does, it’s because someone she cares about is in danger. Then there is Yakuni and his belief that he and Reira are destined to be lovers since they were in their past lives. This story line was played more for comedy that serious romance, as Reira is more concerned about the demons and doesn’t take Yakuni’s overtures seriously.
The second volume starts with an introduction to Kyoichiro’s family, and we see what the hardships of being one of Hachi Bushu can be on those around them. We also start to get glimpse of Reira’s past life as Ashura. It starts to feel like there will be some real character development when the story suddenly rushes into the final battle, the Hachi Bushu start infighting over events from the past, a powerful demon releases “Dark Ashura”, and it’s nearly the end of the world before a sacrifice saves the world and the book ends. It’s an abrupt end to a volume that had a lot of promise.
Late Advent really could have used at least one more volume. It needed more time to develop the Hachi Bushu, such as the chapters Kyoichiro and Kujack got. But what really needed more time was Reira’s past and what Ashura wanted in the past. It’s the key to the whole series and it’s ending, and we are only given short glances, requiring the characters to explain it all to us. I was really disappointing to be thrown into the final fight when there was so much more that could have been told. What was executed better was the theme about fate and that the Hachi Bushu now are not the same people they were in the past. They were not fated to relive events from the past, good or bad.
I started out liking Late Advent, but the rushed ending killed some of the enjoyment for me. The local adaptation team did a good job with the title. It read smoothly with nothing weird in editing or lettering to distract from the story. The art was okay, but I don’t really care for the style that uses the big lips and huge eyes. The characters could look a little awkward as well, especially Yakuni. Late Advent is a decent read, but not something I would want to keep.