Saturday, February 1, 2020

REVIEW: Glass Wings (manga anthology) by Misuzu Asaoka, translated by Emi Onishi

Glass Wings is a one-shot gothic fantasy manga. I bought my copy used.

This review contains spoilers.


Glass Wings is an anthology containing three unrelated stories, the first of which is the longest.

"Glass Wings"

Hagane is trapped by his own tainted blood, called "death blood." Death blood kills any living thing it touches, which Hagane learned to his horror when he accidentally killed a random girl he met by getting some of his blood on her. Now he lives with Tsubaki, a woman who claims to love him but who keeps him trapped in her home. Tsubaki has another captive, Ruriha, who Hagane finds himself drawn to. Will it ever be possible for Hagane to find love and happiness, or will his tainted blood continue to bring nothing but pain to himself and those around him?

I disliked the whole volume, but of the three stories, this one was probably my least favorite. The artwork was terrible - difficult-to-follow action, badly utilized screentone, a less-than-solid grasp of anatomy, occasionally odd facial expressions, etc. A bit too amateurish for a published work.

The story itself was great big gobs of sadness and suffering that somehow left me feeling nothing for the characters. At best, I felt bad for the bunny (you'd think Ruriha would have known better than to keep a pet around). And I absolutely was not expecting all the incestuous stuff - Tsubaki was Hagane and Ruriha's mother and was therefore in love with her own son, and Hagane was in love with his sister.

I'm not sure Asaoka really thought this "death blood" thing through. If a person with death blood gets injured and falls into a body of water (which happens in this volume), you'd think absolutely everything in the water would die considering how potent the blood is. 


Yuinne needs to eat raw dead flesh in order to survive. After a traumatic incident, he vowed to only eat the flesh of beings that died of natural causes. He escapes the group of corpse eaters he was living with and tries to abide by his own rules but finds himself drawn to Mia, a kind human girl.

I suspect that this story was created after the first one, because the artwork was a bit better. Even so, it was still terrible. Once again, the main character was cursed/tainted in a way that hurt anyone who got close to him. Unlike Hagane, Yuinne didn't have even a single person he could get near without them eventually ending up dead.

The writing was awful. My favorite worst line: "My suffering is exploding pain!" (128)

"Jion Princess"

Soyogi is an orphan who is turned into Yura's yorimashi, a physical double who is supposed to take on all of that person's bad luck and sickness. Yura treats Soyogi terribly, but since Yura is also the only person who acknowledges that Soyogi is a human, Soyogi doesn't really mind. In fact, she cares deeply for Yura, even though Yura refuses to believe it.  Unfortunately, the delicate balance of the two girls' lives shifts when Yura is forced to leave Soyogi's side for a while.

This was probably the best story of the bunch, although the character relationships were deeply messed up. Yura behaved abominably towards Soyogi, and Soyogi's devotion to her was entirely based on the fact that Yura behaved somewhat better towards her than everyone else did. It was abusive, and I disliked that Asaoka tried to twist it into something like romance by the end.

I'm still not sure whether Soyogi's existence actually improved Yura's health in any way, or if it was all a lie on the magical doctor's part. After all, it wasn't like Yura was 100% healthy, even with Soyogi around.

All in all, this volume wasn't very good, and it somehow left me feeling nothing despite its massive amounts of tragedy. On the plus side, at least each story was a slight improvement over the ones that came before it.


A postscript by the author. Asaoka wrote briefly about putting more effort into Hagane and Ruriha's bodies than their faces (which explained some things) and about Tsubaki's background info and shipping her with Hagane (seriously? she was abusive, horrible, and also Hagane's mother).

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