Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Qwaser of Stigmata Volume 1

By Hiroyuki Yoshino and Kenetsu Sato. Released in Japan as "Seikon no Qwaser" by Akita Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Champion Red. Released in North America by Tokyopop.

It's been a long time since I've actually spent money to purchase something I knew ahead of time that I'd dislike. I picked up this title, however, feeling that it's possible that my blog was getting too positive, and that I was only reviewing titles I could enthuse over. And I knew that this title would be talked about the moment Tokyopop announced it. So I decided to get Volume 1 and struggle through it.

Imagine my surprise when it managed to be even worse than I'd anticipated! The blatant fanservice was pretty bad - I mean, the writer says in the first line of his author's notes, "Hello, do you love breasts? I love them very much!!". That tells you exactly what you're getting into. The plotline of the heroes needing breast milk - pardon me, soma - from your handy big-breasted girl is perhaps not one that I'd expect in a mainstream manga (no, not even from Champion Red), but certainly would not be out of place in any number of hentai doujinshi, so we can't even claim that as an innovation.

(As a side note, when I think of the word 'soma', I naturally think of Blake's 7, as my youthful memories are filled with Vila whining about how all he needs is some soma to keep him going. This makes me imagine Avon offering his breast to Vila to suckle, something which I'm amazed slashers never came up with. But I digress...)

Then there's the rest of the plot that's not about breast sucking, which manages to be just as predictable. Private school, lots of bullying of the poor heroines. Shy meek girl turns out to be a sneering villain all along, very typical of these sorts of shonen manga for guys series. And speaking of secretly evil girls, we also have the Goth Loli. I'm surprised that he didn't work in animal ears in some way... oh wait, that's right! The nun Teresa just HAPPENS to have hair that falls so that she looks like she has dog ears. I will admit, the sheer gall of piling all these things together is somewhat impressive.

If only it made a lick of sense. It is possible that my lack of knowledge of the Russian Orthodox church might be forcing me to miss some important plot points, but I suspect even a Patriarch would stare at this manga in confusion. The second half, which is essentially a giant fight scene of the "Fool, you thought that was powerful enough to destroy ME?" variety, would work just as well with no dialogue whatsoever, and I actually wonder if the art was drawn first, and Sato just gave this to Yoshino and said "Fill this in with words." I'm used to shonen manga, especially ones built around fights, where the plot is irrelevant. But the way it's used here, with its religious iconography and metal symbols, is almost completely incoherent.

I have no desire to get another volume of this, but I suspect I don't need to. The hero and heroine will work hard to protect the pure purity pureness girl with huge breasts from various villains that get more powerful. No doubt by Volume 2 or 3 our hero will need to suckle on our heroine's breasts to get a powerup. This will be presented as titillating but will not actually lead to anything remotely resembling romance, as the action is totally divorced from any love or romance. No doubt she will hit him at some point. And no doubt they will gain allies who will also provide their metal powers - and associated breasts - to help out.

This is still running in Japan at 9 volumes, so no doubt it's popular. But man, what mindless entertainment it is. You can do better if you're looking for shonen fighting series. Hell, you can even do better if you're looking for women with big breasts. Not recommended.

1 comment:

  1. You seriously NEED to review more lousy Mangas out there. I greatly enjoyed your description of how derivative this series is, and am surprised it managed to reach all the way to Vol. 9. I haven't even bothered to look up the concept art, partly because I'm afraid I might wind up liking it.

    For Worst Manga, you can't do any worse than Eiken: