16 CommentsManga Driver / By Scamp /

Manga Driver: Legend of an Angel

Angel Densetsu v05  cover orignalVolume Count: 15 (finished)

Here’s the scene: The student council president has sent one of his lackeys to scout out Kitano, the student with the demon face, because he thinks Kitano plans to send the school into disarray. The lackey’s plan was to approach Kitano nonchalantly so he wouldn’t think anything was up. However upon approaching Kitano, he catches a glimpse of his face and sees the killing intent in his eyes. Kitano knows! Kitano can sense that the lackey is tailing him and he’s not too pleased at all. But the lackey is too scared to move as Kitano gets closer. The lackey’s knees wobble as Kitano closes down the distance between them, eyes narrowing every second, reaching into his pocket to draw what he’s almost certain will be a knife.

And then, when Kitano is barely 5 metres away from him, he lets out a blood curdling scream and draws the knife from his pocket. The lackey can’t move! He’s like a rabbit frozen in the headlights. He can’t even bring himself to look at the knife Kitano drew from his pocket. Then Kitano, without warning, lets out a second screech like a banshee and suddenly the lackey can feel life in his legs again. Without looking back, he turns and runs faster than he has ever done in his life before the demon can attack him.

Kitano, meanwhile, wipes his nose with the handkerchief he drew from his pocket and mumbles something about how his cold is acting up and making him sneeze a lot.

Angel Densetsu v05 034

Legend of an Angel is a delinquent story about a kid called Kitano who has the face of the devil, which causes everyone to think he’s plotting to kill everyone and eat their faces for brunch. In reality, Kitano is a nice, if a bit oblivious dude who is just trying to make friends in his new school. What’s great about the set-up is that making the scary-faced guy normal doesn’t detract from the inherent awesomeness of watching the supposed mind-games taking place. All the mind games are worked out through the victim’s mind rather than scarer-in-chief, so we get to see his brilliant yet ridiculous plans unfold regardless. Watching the legend of Kitano build is just as hilarious whether the stuff happens is intentional or not.

It’s not admittedly the cleverest humour in the world. The claim to satire about appearances is pretty shallow and never really evolves beyond that. But the scenario is changed around enough that it continues to be funny. Plus it has that good quality every running joke has in that one of the biggest parts of the humour is waiting for that inevitable to happen. When someone new claims they want to hunt down this Kitano guy they’ve heard so much about, I honestly got excited at the prospect of seeing someone new react to Kitano.

Angel Densetsu v02 146

Angel Densetsu v01 058

There are a few problems. For one, the art is shit. It doesn’t necessarily need to be great for what is a gag comedy, but even so it shouldn’t be quite this bad. Consider how much more effective Kitano’s devilish glares from the shadows could look if under the pen of a more skilled artist. A lot of the time Kitano looks more derpy than scary, and characters don’t really have a wide array of facial expressions. It does marginally improve over the course of the series, but not in any meaningful way.

A far bigger problem is that the author clearly had no intention of having the story go on for that long. It’s 15 volumes of a gag manga that really only has a single gag. Kitano does meet a few friends and they go some way to establishing his personality and why he ends up drawing people close to him, but fairly soon all the characters grind to a halt. The more characters they introduce, the more abundantly clear it becomes that the author is just trying to keep the status quo intact.

The whole thing loses its shine and I ended up not actually finishing the manga. That’s not as harsh an indictment as it sounds though. It was still relatively enjoyable. I just realised I had gotten the most I was going to get out of it and carrying on further would just dampen my enjoyment of what had been a decent comedy manga. I probably would have enjoyed this more if I was a teenager, as Kitano has that Nice Guy quality that we all like to think we have when we’re that age. He is a genuinely nice guy who wants nothing but the best for others. His only real character flaw is his social anxiety and major gormlessness, which is miles more personality than some Yuji Everylead. I don’t mean this to sound degrading or anything, but if you’re a teenage boy I would highly recommend this.

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16 Comments

  1. Gunslinger
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I loved the manga the first time I read it but after watching the ova i realized its quite obvious flaws. Like Kitano’s screeching or his stupidity. Both require extensive suspension of disbelief before enjoying. That said I still found it hilarious once you accept the rules of the world. The best scene in the whole manga though is the three way face-off betwenn Kitano’s, Ryoko’s and ikuno’s dad. I totally laughed my face off at that.

    Also if you did like Angel Densetsu then I suggest you try Ocha Nigosu. Its much more believable and the main character truly deserves his Devil nickname. Only thing is its kinda short and incomplete :(

    • Cirith
      Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Huh that manga also has bad art.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Actually the scene with the dad face-off was where I realised I simply wasn’t finding the manga funny anymore. That scene should have been funny, but I was done with the premise by that stage and was simply bored by the whole thing.

      I should check out that OVA and see what they do with it animated. Heck, a 2 episode OVA might be exactly the thing this needs, because it’s not like it has a complex story or anything

      • Gunslinger
        Posted May 9, 2013 at 3:24 am | Permalink

        The screeching in the ova will drive you nuts.

      • Kioku from Laptop
        Posted May 11, 2013 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        The faceoff between the fathers had me rolling in laughter! :(
        Will agree that the art is a bit derpy at times, but it did improve over its duration. Brown-Hair’s fists wierded me out regardless.

  2. Seppuku33
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to you, my brother is digging Parasyte immensely. He already read half of in one sitting when I talked to him after his classes. It was the insane DICKHANDS picture that pushed him to get into it. (We like weird and interesting stuff like this. Keep it coming. Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!)

    I think I’m going to pass on this manga though as it looks meh.

  3. teelaelmes
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    does this mean that you didn’t make it to the point in which his follower #1 finally figured he was a nice guy all along?
    It got really heartwarming near the end but yeah as a gag manga the gags started to feel stale at that point.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 9, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Nah never reached that far, although it was growing clear that he was starting to see through Kitano

      • leokiko
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        It gets a pretty freaking serious flashback near the end about how Kitano’s parents met. And I mean really serious, no comedy at all in that.

  4. gw_kimmy
    Posted May 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    …and then 43982853 shoujo manga took this premise and ran!

    8D

  5. Posted May 9, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    This manga sounds like the yin (or yang) of “Sakamoto desu ga?”
    Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
    Leaving the not so good art aside I’m surprised the mangaka managed to run a one-gag story for 15 volumes which gives me the impression that the characters might develop further in the series.

    Just out of curiosity how far in the manga did you manage to read through?

    • Scamp
      Posted May 9, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Got through 11 of the 15 volumes. The characters really ground to a halt around 7-8 so I was kinda done with it by then

  6. Hanasra
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    One of the funniest manga I’ve ever read. The art is really bad at the start, but it gradually become better and closer to the author quality of his recent work (heck, Kitano’s face become template for Claymore monsters). The mindgames quite smart at a time, though yes in the later volume all kinda dragged into some forced drama.

    At which volume you stopped reading Scamp?

  7. Posted May 10, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    I read this back when I was a teenager and damn did I love it.
    I don’t know if I will like it as much if I reread it now (though I’d probably still like it), but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

    tl;dr: Good Choice in reading this.

  8. Walao
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Read Kyou Kara Ore Wa, Scamp. Dare I say it’s the epitome of high-school-delinquent comedy?

  9. The Evil Bael
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Have read it twice. The first time was 10-15 years ago. Second time was a couple of months ago.
    Still Funniest manga I ever have read!!
    A must to read (i think)

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