“The Trials Of War “- Andromeda Stories (manga) – 5/10 Black Cats


On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. ~Chuck Palahniuk

Mangaka:Keiko Takemiya (art), Ryu Mitsuse (story)

Genre: Sci-fi/Action/Drama

Review Status: Complete (3 Volumes/3 Volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed in the US

Art: The art and character designs are kind of girly (pretty boys and large, sparkly eyes), with lots of sparkles and flowing hair to be found. It’s not bad, though- all the characters are pretty distinct and easy to recognize. And this particular art is pretty distinctive to this mangaka.

Summary: Cosmoralia’s Prince Ithaca is about to wed Princess Lilia of Ayodoya and be crowned Astralta III. The apparently favorable celestial bearings mean he will be no mere monarch but holy king of a new ‘papacy’. Alas, the peaceful inhabitants of Planet Astria have no clue that they’re next in line for invasion by a ruthless machine force- a threat that seems to metaphorize the inherent perils of politics and desire in this multilayered saga. (back cover of V. 1)

Review: An overlooked omen turns out to not be an omen at all- it’s the actual ship of machines that spell doom for the world. Twins are born as the country is slowly taken over, that are separated and one sent away in hopes of keeping a fight over the inheritance of the throne from occurring between them. However, as they grow, darker forces bring them together again.

This has a solid start, building the love between the queen and king of Cosmoralia, and how grave it would be if there were twins vying for the throne. Characters that are important are introduced. The beginning of the end takes root in the kingdom. And one twin is discovered to be the bearer or a mark that could signal the fulfillment of a vague prophecy.

From the second volume onward, things get a little shaky. Some plot threads are forgotten about, such as the mark and prophecy of one of the twins, others are brought in (the computers that can resist the temptations of the program that’s ravaging the planet) which have nothing done with them. The general plot remains solid, with the machines that invaded taking over bit by bit. To put it simply, ‘resistance is futile’. For everything the rebels do, the machines follow close after, destroying quickly and relentlessly. Machines can be made on assembly lines- humans can’t.

All the while, we’re seeing how the people deal with the effects of the extermination and following the stories of those who have been told that they’re destined to save the world and lead the humans to victory. It’s hard not to like them. Affle, who’s had his true identity suppressed for his own safety, is distrustful of others and does not welcome his brother with open arms. Slowly but surely, bonds grow, and it turns to strong feelings. Jimsa is more open to the prospect of a long-lost sibling, and is intrigued by his brother from the beginning. Going out of his way to protect Affle, he’s even willing to sacrifice himself as his feelings of love grow. Both are tossed about by the desires and ambitions of others but manage to take a stand for themselves as doom encroaches on them.

So how to save the world? Well, that would be spoiling it. However, I’m not fond of how the story kind of jumped the shark at the end. It decides to take a route that could have worked in other circumstances, but given the plot threads that were dropped or ignored, feels more like a cop-out. It also doesn’t really make any sense, which is even more of a shame.

Overall, this was an interesting premise but a bit of a letdown in execution.

Recommended: 16+. There is virtually no gore outside of the occasional body and bloodspill. The only thing that might cause some to pause is the implication of sex, a panel glimpse of boobs (important to revealing something plot-wise), and there is incest.

Other titles you might enjoy:

To Terra… (manga and anime)
Bokurano (anime and manga)
Historie (manga)
Cesare (manga)

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