By Dustin Cabeal
The first volume of 7th Garden was devoid of anything new or different. It was a paint by numbers story about demons and angels and revenge. We meet Awyn whose last name is Gardner, who is also a gardener by profession. I wish that were the end of the gardening references, but the story kicks them up a notch in this volume saying that the angels are gardening the Earth and our demon Maria/Vyrde even tells him to use her like a gardening tool. Even worse, the angels call human gnomes… like garden gnomes. This volume concludes the battle of the first volume and in typical fashion, nothing happens, and the antagonists let the protagonists leave. “Surely this will never bite us in the ass,” said one of the angels as they left.
The story takes two afterthought twists in this volume. I call it an afterthought because of how the manga system works: creators pitch ideas and hope the property gets picked up, but rather have they put a lot of thought into the idea. At least not enough to make the story continue forever and ever like publisher wants. The first afterthought is that Awyn’s mother tells him about demons and angels when he was a kid, and suddenly he remembers this. The second is that Vyrde’s companion that was never previously mentioned shows up and apparently knows all about Awyn implying that he’s being played by the demons. It’s pretty safe to assume that he didn’t chance upon a sleeping Vyrde, but was set on a course to run into her.
After they get their shit together, and Vyrde reminds Awyn that she’s in charge, not him, they head to another land, and we get a lot of exposition about angels and gardening. Basically, the earth is a giant puzzle, and there are pieces that for some reason don’t fit, and so they just wipe out the piece and start over. Which isn’t that terrible besides all the death and shit. Which makes you wonder why Vyrde is pissed? She had everything they way she wanted, and they changed it? That’s a bit childish am I right? Let’s just say that her motivation doesn’t make you like her any more than before. In the other city, we get a Marie Antonietta/French facsimile, and that’s as terrible as it sounds.
The story went from average to boring rather quickly. I can vaguely see the appeal to this property, and it’s all in the art and the fighting, which I can get from anything, so it’s just not enough to bring me back for another volume. That and Vyrde/Awyn’s relationship contradicts itself every chance it gets. Vyrde is an uncaring demon, blah, blah, blah, and yet she lets Awyn do whatever he wants. Then reminds him that she’s in charge. She never shows it with her actions, just veiled threats. Even worse is the battle of this volume in which they take a time out to explain that he’s not powerful enough and whatever else it felt needed to be told pointlessly in the middle of a fight to make Awyn kind of look like a bad ass. Plain and simple there’s no consistency to the characters, their journey has too many loopholes, and I’m drained on the “nice Demon” storyline. THE ANGELS ARE THE BAD GUYS?!? Shocking. Never been done before.
The art is fine. I say that with the least amount of enthusiasm possible. It’s good looking, lacks personality and attempts fan service but fails at it. The thing about fan service is that if you just have the character’s clothes explode off their body every so often, which then needs to be censored, it’s not sexy. It’s just a thing happening. The action is also hard to follow because it’s not given enough pages to flow properly and it’s cover with narration that serves as the character’s inner monologue while they’re battling. Something I didn’t need or want while they’re battling. For instance, we cut to the “bad angel” they’re fighting at the end of the volume, and she thinks “oops, I pushed my gnome too far on that one.” Yeah, we saw the building crumble… we didn’t need that. We didn’t need to be reminded that you were there, that’s why the protagonists are there… for you. What a pointless panel to see and read.
If you’re enjoying this manga, then cool. Everyone has their different tastes, but I won’t pretend that this is any good. This isn’t even average which is the worst part. Something else isn’t getting published because this offers just enough familiarity that people are enjoying it. It’s a formula series that’s not adding anything to the formula and worst yet, isn’t very good at the formula.
7th Garden vol. 2
Creator: Mitsu Izumi
Publisher: Viz Media
Format: TPB; Print/Digital