My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More like 2.5 stars thanks for confusing fight scenes, needless up-skirt shots (really, mangakas you need to stop that, especially if you're female. It's a Goth-Loli book, just who are the panty shots for?) and a quasi-would-be rape scene though at least that was a villain and not a would-be boyfriend like we sometimes get.
Mizeria (more clumsy and innocent and not as good with her powers) and Clarissa (cold, haughty and arrogant) are sisters, Harmonizers. They can affect the harmonies of the world and make them whole again. They can also open and close the Doors of Chaos which keep the Nocturnals (demon-like creatures) out of the Diurnal world. Clarissa is the opener and Mizeria the closing key. They've lived their whole life in the Royal gardens trained by Rikter.
On their 17th birthdays, their coming of age ceremony, all is going well until Rikter lets in some Nocturnals and kidnaps Clarissa. He meant to take Mizeria as well but is stopped by a strange warrior, Zelfa. He spirits Mizeria away to the Jishouin, an organization that maintains the closed doors (though they seem to be Nocturnals themselves or something called Dischords which disrupt the harmonies of life).
Mizeria thinks she's being kidnapped and nearly is by the Ansance (see above would be rapist) who is working with Rikter. Zelfa, The Flowing Elegance and the Ash Doll save her and take her to the leader of the Jishouin who explains she needs to close the doors her sister is opening. Confused, Mizeria agrees because she wants her sister and Rikter back.
While it had an interesting storyline it does get muddled here and there. The art is beautifully detailed and yet the faces sometimes look so doll-like it's hard to tell one from the other. I know this one only ended up two volumes long, most likely through mismanagement from Tokyo Pop.(They had a habit of shotgunning manga series out onto the shelf a dozen or so at a time then stopping them by volume 2 if they didn't sell well instead releasing a few at a time and letting them find their market).
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Doors of Chaos, Volume 2 by Ryoko Mitsuki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is where the series leaves off, unfortunately. I'm not sure what it was a victim of: Tokyo Pop's insistence on only putting out two volumes and cutting it off if it didn't make enough sales or that practice putting TP out of business. Either way, had this continued I'm not sure I would have followed. It's more of a 2.5 rating for me. I thought the storyline was interesting but there are some things that really bothered me, even more so because the mangaka is a woman.
Let me talk about the art first since this is where I was annoyed. Yes, the art is gorgeous, highly detailed Goth-Loli style. On the other hand, half the time I couldn't tell one character from the other especially since Mizeria changes hair color and the Flowing Elegance guardian has multiple shapes. I could live with that even though it made fight scenes difficult. What annoys me as it often does is the objectification for no good reason of the female characters. The part where Mizeria falls in the river and wakes up naked except for her lacy pants could at least be put down to them hanging up her clothing to dry but why the heck is Giselle, her rescuer in nothing but panties and garters and fishnets? She was wet too? There are a large number of bathing scenes and dressing scenes to have the girls all running around in panties and nothing else (and there are no similar half-robed male scenes to balance it out). Heck half the time Giselle and Mizeria are fighting in nothing but their lacy panties complete with camel toes. It's bad enough when male mangakas do this but when the ladies do it too, it drives me nuts especially when there is no need for it.
The storyline is at least interesting. Mizeria and Zelfa (what a hideous name. Almost all the names in this are gutteral and/or clumsy plays on words at least in English so we can maybe blame that on translation) are trying to rescue her sister, Clarissa from Rikter and Mizeria wants to know why Rikter is "forcing" Clarissa to open the doors of chaos (Clarissa is the opening key, Mizeria the closing key). She and her guardians end up in what looks like Venice during carnivale and Mizeria is knocked into a river (she can't swim) while Zelfa fights Rikter. We learn that something happened 17 years ago just before the sisters were born, right before the nearly two decades of peace started. It has Zelfa and Rikter at odds since and Rikter calls Zelfa a monster because even if hacked apart he heals immediately and can not die (Rikter we're to assume is much the same). Zelfa gets his butt handed to him and Rikter is quick to taunt him.
While Mizeria has been rescued by Giselle (who does the booby squeeze thing to her.That's another thing I'm not sure I get. Women generally don't go squeezing stranger's boobs regardless of orientation), and is looking for Clarissa, we see Clarissa being...confusing.
She whines about being captive but at the same time she seems to be enjoying herself. She flutters between not caring about the people who are dying as she opens the doors for the demons beyond and wanting to stop Rikter before he kills again. She makes no real sense as a character yet and sadly never will. Amazon claims there's a French edition (listing for insane amounts of money for manga which I see sometimes for things I know never came out) for volume three but Goodreads doesn't list it. In fact the mangaka doesn't seem to have done anything but this. It had at least an interesting story line but it was only partially developed.The cover art is absolutely beautiful.
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