Saturday, August 15, 2020

REVIEW: Gestalt (manga, vol. 1) by Yun Kouga, translated by Christine Schilling

Gestalt is a fantasy series. It's licensed by VIZ Media. I bought this volume used.

This review includes slight spoilers.


According to the creation myth of Salsaroa, when the world began there were eight gods. Salsaroa commanded the other seven, and they all shaped the world. It was a happy time, until one of the seven gods, G, betrayed Salsaroa and was banished to a remote island along with his few human followers.

In this world's present, Father Olivier is a young priest who has left the Order (which he's not actually allowed to do) to seek out the island of G in the hope of getting his wish granted. Suzu, a dark elf, is sent by Father Messiah (lol) to bring Father Olivier back. However, by the time she tracks him down, Father Olivier has acquired a traveling companion, a mute slave named Ouri who he was reluctantly forced to accept as a gift. Ouri turns out to be sorcerer with some pretty big secrets, and she has become utterly devoted to Father Olivier.

I got this entirely because of Yun Kouga's name on the cover. I only really have experience with Kouga's Loveless, which is beautiful but, in terms of character relationships, extremely messed up. I thought it might be fun to try one of Kouga's other series. This one ended at around the same time Loveless began, and I can definitely tell that Kouga's artwork has changed over the years - the cover art is in her newer style (which I generally prefer, but those abs and hips are awful), while the interior art more closely resembles Earthian than Loveless. My tastes lean more towards Loveless' artwork, but this wasn't bad, despite occasional confusing moments.

So far, I'm not sure what to make of this. It looks like overarching story is going to be about the reincarnated seven gods and their eternal battle, but I'm not sure who's who or why they're even fighting. At first, I thought Ouri might be G, but at one point Father Olivier spoke to G in his dreams, so I'm not sure that's really the case. But if Ouri isn't possessed by G (or a reborn version of G), then what's going on, and why do Soushi and Takara want to kill Ouri?

There might also be some sort of "corruption" thread running through the story. Father Olivier seems to have taken a vow of chastity or something, and yet Ouri keeps throwing herself at him. She's kissed him several times and tried to get him to let her into his bed. Add in the new development at the end of this volume, and it looks like Father Olivier is going to spend a lot of time struggling to stay good and virtuous.

I'm glad that the series' RPG-like elements quieted down after the first few chapters - every character was introduced with a basic stat sheet, and every new spell that was cast included an info box explaining how much MP it used, what it did, and its weaknesses (although Kouga already messed that up, because according to Aerial Eyes' description, Suzu should have only been able to use it to find Father Oliver once). Readers weren't even told how much MP each character had, so the MP cost amounts were basically useless.

I already own the second volume, so I'll give this one more chance to win me over.


Seven full-color pages and an afterword written by Kouga in 2005, which Wikipedia tells me was about 12 years after the initial release of this volume. Apparently the person on the cover is supposed to be Ouri. Original Ouri and newly drawn cover art Ouri look nothing alike.

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