Author: Norihiro Yagi
Serialized: Monthly Shonen Jump (1993-2000)
Status: Completed with 15 volumes & 84 chapters
Some weeks ago, Norihiro Yagi (author of this manga & Claymore, both kinda well known, though I didn’t read the latter) finally have another manga series to be serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday (which meant that the author switched from Shueisha to Shogakukan, and from monthly to daily, a surprising choice from him given his age and what he usually works in). To celebrate in this late news, I’ve decided to talk about a work from him that I reread time to time-Angel Densetsu, and some of the strongest moments from this series.
Warning, spoilers ahead
Summary: The story is of Kitano Seiichirou, a very kind and pure-hearted young man, with a horrifying, monstrous face. People being what they are, they think he’s a terrifying delinquent, and there are plenty of chance misunderstandings (coupled with Kitano’s convenient inability to understand what’s happening around him) that propel him into the position of “school guardian”, a.k.a. head thug on campus. (From Mangakakalot).
The main humor of this series is quite repetitive, but the author manages to make the variations work to the point that it doesn’t seem boring. Aside from that, it has a really strong supporting case who really shines when they are with Kitano (who unfortunately, is not really a strong character on his own, especially when years after years of Face of A Thug characters became increasingly common, and sometimes with stronger personalities while retaining their kindness; also, in this year he would be labeled as a vampire than a demon).
Additionally, the art has goes through a lot of shift from the old style to the new, which can really affect first time readers where they start reading it. The style is also the signs where the author wanted to do something really dark and Gothic near the beginning & the end of the chapter, so it is no surprise why Claymore (a fantasy series) is released after Angel Densetsu ended.
There are also some long arcs which I don’t really care about (like the school president thinking of ways to expel him just based on his looks, which stopped after a nearly successful attempt of expelling him; the Halford arc which is unnecessary and took too long; and the Days of Our Youth arc, which delves on the past after that Halford arc, which affecting my enjoyment of it). But there are still some really strong moments in this series.
a. The Confession
For example, take a guess on this confession, what chapter do you think it is placed at?
The answer, Chapter 18, Volume 4 of this series. By the way, the heroine, Ryoko Koiso only starts appearing at Volume 2 (and an arc about her). Which is way too early for my taste, but way too special considering what year is it and looking at every single rom coms, having a lot of attractive women flocking towards him and he’s still indecisive about who he actually likes or being very dense.
Even more, this early confession comes from Kitano, who should be in the hopeless ranking in the denseness scale given that he really can’t understand the surroundings around him (which is part of the series’ humor), and Ryoko’s reply (which got interrupted by Kuroda & his delusions) ended up putting them in a spot where it is only a matter of time that they officially got together.
I really love Kitano & Ryoko together, since both of them really have a calming chemistry with each other. It is a role reversal type of relationship where Ryoko usually takes the guardian lead (and refreshingly after her arc, didn’t pwned Kitano at all, since he doesn’t create any misunderstandings when it comes to her) towards Kitano (espeically during their date where Ryoko is more terrified of it bombing due to her actions), and even then she can be hurt, which meant that Kitano had to save her sometimes.
P.S: While he is kinda smug, I actually liked more scenes from the Stu Co president Suda, as he could bring an additional dynamic to the cast.
b. The Visit to Ryoko
This comes after the conclusion Ikuno (fortunately Ikuko revealed her surname Hirayama in the final volume, since both of the name are nearly identical) arc, where Ryoko got sick for a while from having a fight against Ikuno. Therefore, Hirayama decided that she & Kitano should pay her a visit what Kuroda later lampshades that it is an awesome event especially when it comes to wooing your love interest. Unfortunately for Hirayama, everybody else decided to join Kitano in their visit.
The result: Ryoko having to defend Kitano’s friends from her father, the so called friends driving her & her father mad and let’s not begin with Kitano & her father meeting with each other, that ends with Ryoko’s being more sick from the event. Poor Hirayama. Speaking of Ryoko’s dad…
c. Joining Heizo Koiso’s dojo
Ogisu (a red head who claims to be the strongest fighter of his hometown, reduced to a wimp in this series), frustrated by how weak he is, asked Kitano & the girls on the ways to become stronger, & finally decided he wanted to train in Kobujutsu, where Ryoko trains intensely to became one the strongest fighter in the area. Despite not taking in students, Heizo accepts, because he wanted to take revenge on Kitano, so he wanted Kitano to join in the dojo as well.
Reluctantly, Ryoko invited Ogisu & Kitano to join, and Heizo’s (looking the interactions of Ryoko & Kitano) vengeance got stronger, so trying to make the classes immediately to sparring mode, brutally knocking out Ogisu and even managing to shut Ryoko up by temporarily disabling her. Heizo’s revenge is set.
Unfortunately for him, his plan didn’t work out, cause at that time Kitano learned how to dodge efficiently, and he ended being unintentionally knocked out instead.
d. The Photographer & Kuroda’s Soviet delusions
In the first chapter, there is a guardian named Kuroda, who after the first chapter it is transferred to Kitano (not that Kitano knew about it). His level of common sense is almost as comparable to Kitano with his delusions (especially when it comes to Ryoko, even after everybody in school basically treated them as a couple already), and the only thing that he has is his two followers since the beginning, who has not personality becames giving Kuroda a dose of common sense which he always ignore.
His best moment is when he encounters the photographer who wanted to shoot the greatest violence (the target, Kitano of course), where during the shoot, Kuroda starts talking about Norway’s siesta, then looking at the photographer movements as he’s describing a documentary, and then…
When even Kitano is somewhat trying to talk some sense into you to ensure that he stops panicking, your delusional rating is off the charts.
e. The Spying to See The Birth of a Couple (for Real)
After some one off chapters in a row (which is a rarity as it’s an arc to arc format), the mangaka decided to finish the series with a bang, where it starts off with the cast separating their ways to go home, except for Hirayama as she tries to convince Ryoko to clinch the deal with Kitano for real. Like the visit last time, this doesn’t go well as everybody else in some ways catches on quickly. The spies look at the past characters interacting with each other, having fun & twisted banters on their own, and finally seeing Kitano & Ryoko confessing to each other for real. At least, it is supposed to be.
But still, it is a fine finale for everybody even though everybody would admit that there are more things for Kitano & co to explore. But it has been a really fun ride, especially when it is a manga series with a limited anime adaptation, but still manages who charm the hearts of the international audience.
So, what do you think about this series.