Angelic Layer Manga

Angelic Layer Manga | Readterest.com

CLAMP

• Tokyopop (2002–2003)

• Kadokawa Shoten (Monthly Shônen Ace, 1999–2001)

• Shônen, Science Fiction, Action

• All Ages (mild violence)

“Angelic Layer” is a tournament in which mind-controlled robot gladiators battle in futuristic arenas—sounds like pretty typical shônen manga fare so far, right? But this is CLAMP we’re talking about—their first shônen series and they’re already breaking all the rules. For one thing, the main character, Misaki Suzuhara, is a girl. And not a sexy girl or a grim, determined bad-ass girl, but a nice, Angelic Layer Mangasweet cares-about-her-neighbors kind of girl. Perhaps even more shocking, the heroine isn’t determined to be the champ or to prove herself to anyone. Nope, she just wants to do her best and have a good time. It’s a sports manga about sportsmanship—a rare beast indeed! While this tournament may not run on testosterone, that doesn’t mean it’s not full of heated competition. The battles are intense and well choreographed, made vivid with art that departs from lead artist Mokona’s previous styles, using coarser inking and fewer tones than usual. Fans of CLAMP’s baroque attention to detail might be disappointed by this, their most cartoony work, but the style fits the material perfectly. (It is also, in many ways, the precursor for their current shônen hit Tsubasa.) The fights and training scenes are punctuated by frequent comic interludes with mad scientist Icchan, Misaki, and her friends, who sometimes transform into super-deformed “squid people.” Angelic Layer won’t win any awards for originality, but it’s got heart to spare and is a brisk, entertaining read for boys and girls of all ages. (MT)

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