Erementar Gerade, Vol. 1
by Mayumi Azuma
DMP, 182 pp
Rating: Teen (13+)
After taking a hiatus due to the closing of Tokyopop, Mayumi Azuma’s Erementar Gerade returns thanks to the fine folks at DMP! The series begins again as the first volume introduces us to the young sky pirate Cou and his adventures after encountering a mysterious young girl named Rev, who just happens to be an incredibly powerful weapon known as an Edsel Raid.
I read this years ago when Tokyopop first released it and wasn’t terribly blown away with it then. Sadly, the years haven’t really softened my opinion of the first volume at all. Cou is introduced to us as a bit of a lecherous pervert. We meet him seconds before he attempts to cop a feel on the sleeping Rev. It doesn’t exactly get him off to a good start with me even if it was meant to be some sort of light, comedic introduction. That said it does help set the tone for what’s to come, namely the idea of some young women being Edsel Raids, powerful weapons that are desired and lusted after by various people. With that in mind I suppose Cou attempting to molest some random unconscious young girl is just in keeping with what appears to be an underlying theme of women as objects. One can only hope the series rises above it’s shonen-y roots and actually articulates and says something interesting about the idea of women and their place in society but I’m not holding my breath.
Mayumi Azuma’s artwork runs the gamut from impressive to just ok. There’s a reliance on the over reactions for comedic effect, something that rarely clicks with me, and the action sequences are a bit muddled and confusing at times as well. Still, there’s something oddly stylish to some of the settings and characters designs even if they do feel just a tad too generic in places. That may sound like a contradiction but it’s not. Cou’s jacket and clothing are very cool, they just also happen to be fairly forgettable and almost stereotypical of a young male protagonist in an anime or manga.
I’m not still not in love with this series and I’m actually a bit surprised that DMP would be interested in bringing it back, I wasn’t aware that it was that big of a hit the first time around to really warrant a rescue when compared to some of the other highly regarded titles that are floating around in limbo at the moment. I’m sure someone will really enjoy it though, but sadly at this point in time that person isn’t me. I do have some hope for it though, the underlying idea of women being treated as objects has a lot of mileage to it and when the issue is discussed through a shonen series there’s some possibility for it to become a surprisingly subversive and socially relevant title.