Manga Mondays: Trapped in a Terrible Manga

A week ago, I dragged my three Dazzle manga with me to work to read in my downtime. I had just finished A Storm of Swords, and I figured they’d be much lighter fare than that dreary, death-filled tome. I’ve read them before—I’ve had them since high school. So why did it take me this long to realize how terrible they are?

Main character Rahzel is perfunctorily kicked out of her house on the first page—her father sends her on her way before she can even get seconds at dinner. He wants her to go out and see the world. So she does.

Very shortly after departing, she meets up with bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold Alzeid, a former child soldier looking to avenge his father’s death. Because of… reasons, she decides to hang out with him as he looks for revenge. What follows is a series of basically unrelated episodes of them taking odd jobs and getting in and out of trouble as they wander around. Later they run into some of his old army buddies, including the dubiously-named Baroqueheat, a bishounen who is rape-y levels of on-the-make. Throughout some random dude (I didn’t read far enough to find out who he is) follows and menaces Alzeid about his dark history whenever Rahzel isn’t around.

Here’s the thing: this manga sucks, and I don’t know how Rahzel manages to be such a fun, strong, arguably feminist character when surrounded by all these terribly two-dimensional characters and hackneyed plot twists. There’s magic in this world, but it doesn’t seem to follow any sensible rules; the tone of the manga is oddly self-aware but doesn’t seem aware of how bad it is; there are mentions of real-world locations but no sense of where or when the story is supposed to take place; and there doesn’t seem to be any point to certain episodes—Alzeid literally gets bored and walks away from one kidnapping scene. Furthermore, Baroqueheat is super-rapey and constantly sexually harrassing fourteen-year-old Rahzel. Rahzel is unafraid to kick his ass and assert her right to not be groped pretty constantly, but he never lets up or learns his lesson.

The drawing style is also pretty messy. Rahzel is often freakishly tiny compared to Alzeid, and when he picks her up (which is rather often) it looks like she doesn’t weigh anything. Also, for a girl who was basically kicked out on her ass, Rahzel seems to have an inexhaustible supply of cute lolita-y outfits.

The thing that boggles me most about this series, though, is how I managed to read the first one and then go buy two whole more.

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About Lady Saika

"We lead frantic lives. Filled with needs and responsibilities, but completely devoid of any actual purpose. I say let’s try to enjoy the simple things. Life should be like a basket of chicken wings: salty, full of fat and vinegar, and surrounded by celery you’ll never actually eat, even when you’re greedily sopping up the last viscous streaks of buffalo sauce from the wax paper with your spit-stained index finger. Yes, that is as life should be, Night Vale."