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From Viz: The angel Alexiel loved God, but she rebelled against Heaven when she saw how disgracefully the other angels were behaving. She was finally captured, and as punishment sent to Earth to live an endless series of tragic lives. She now inhabits the body of Setsuna Mudo, a troubled teen in love with his sister Sara. Setsuna's misery mirrors the chaos among the angels, and their combined passions threaten to destroy both Heaven and Earth.
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Not really a good manga
The art is unpleasant, panels always show too little - usually a closeup on something or, surprisingly often, a flashback. It also contains a lot of text, and I mean a lot, which, even worse, usually doesn't even properly explain what is going on. I found myself eventually ignoring the insignificant panels - text described everything anyway - and just reading through it and reading and reading until I eventually realized that there isn't anything captivating in this manga. Just shallow characters, a dumb story I couldn't care less about and poor art combined with poor writing.
All in all, I'd say I give this manga 3/10
A master piece
This manga was fantastic! It broke many taboos and was really disturbing, as I expected of Kaori Yuki sensei. I enjoyed it from the beginnig... charmy characters + twisted story+ beautiful draw+ A LOT of drama= Master Piece
P.D: Rosiel ROCKS!!! Love him from the bottom of my heart
Exhausting! but kinda Good
Really Exhausting!!! Parts that make tired is part love between Sara with Setsuna. It was very very tiring! Strange and obscure origins! Not that I hated Sibling Love/incest, but the manga is different. Forbidden love between Setsuna and Sara was very strange!
I didn't tell the story in this manga all bad. There are quite a lot of good parts. As various scenes where Setsuna becomes very soft, like his old self. Section where he helped many people. Or cry because they feel guilty.
My favorite part is where Setsuna looks very very sweet, pretty, and cute! Where he looks strong and soft. Although he was a guy, but I liked him on that one.
Okay, it's enough to be recommended!!
Forever a love of mine
It's one of those rare mangas that I'll never possibly grow out of. I loved it when I was a kid and I still love it now when I'm an adult. I'm aware of the weak points of the story - honestly, it's not that great. But I've loved it for over a decade and I doubt I'll ever stop.
Very intriguing, but it's not an easy story to digest.
I invested heavily into AS, going as far as to buy the whole series, OVA, and art books. To me, it was a worthy purchase.
Even though the characters were all similar in terms of art, it was still a compelling, deep, and disturbing manga that leaves one excited, upset, utterly confused, and heartbroken.
I give this mangaka a lot of credit for touching on so many uncomfortable subjects, and as long as you don't take this for more than what it is -a manga- you won't feel 'damaged' afterward. (And this comes from a Christian. lol.)
But I would be remiss if I didn't say that many of the complaints people have are true:
If you're bothered by incest -you won't like this.
If a story with 1001 characters bugs you -you won't like this.
If you're religious (and of the Christian faith) and don't have the capacity to separate fact from fiction and view this as a form of entertainment and nothing more -you won't like this.
If you're super picky about art and can't get into androgynous-looking characters -you won't like this.
If a zillion sub-plots irk you -you won't like this.
And this isn't the sort of manga where one can recommend that you read the first few chapters to see if you can get into it; the story becomes too complex and too far away from where it started for that. This is more of a story that you need to just decide that you're going commit to and see where it takes you.
The Bible is NOT Like This!
First off, the Bible is nothing like this. It comes purely from man-made traditions and mythology, misusing the names in the Bible and the identity of all the people in the Bible. In fact, some of the places are derived from Greek, Persian, Babylonian, and Pharisaic influences, coupled with the unnecessary jargon that the Catholic Church has developed.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
It became a bit too annoying because I just knew, just knew, that at the end most people will mostly attain their happiness since that is Setsuna's motto.
My first ever horror fantasy manga
I liked that it wasn't actually incest in the end (but some kind of weird shoujo-ai? lol) Not planning to spoil anything, but if you only refuse to read this because it says "incest", you will miss out on a lot.
Angel Sanctuary combines various myths with the horror element.
Some parts are very confusing, some motives and goals not really clear.
My favourite part was the Raphael-Sara one ^.^ Though it ended quite....
I Liked It
If you can get past the whole brother/sister incest angle which does monopolize the first story arc, this does become a lot less important as things progress. Sure its still there, but it is very insignificant at times considering everything else that is going on.
There are a ton of characters in this one. Some of the Heaven characters are not so nice, and some of the Hell characters are decent folks. There's also plenty of good folks in Heaven and outright evil in Hell, so it's not like this manga makes a blanket statement that evil is good and good is evil. If anything, we're talking about a whole lot of shades of gray of varying degrees.
People who don't like Setsuna, probably should give up on reading this. I'm not saying that to be mean. Angel Sanctuary has 108 chapters that are spread out over 20 volumes. While the story doesn't follow him around to the point that nobody else gets character development if he's not around to see it, he does remain the main character at all times. The manga will continue to revert its focus back to him perodically even if it seems it has forgotten about him for a while.
I do highly recommend reading this one non-stop. I am not suggesting that you do so in one sitting so much as just concentrate on reading only this manga until you've finished it. One of the issues that other commenters have mentioned of the plot getting confusing at times and difficulties in sorting out who is who is a lot less likely to occur if you're not setting it down for long periods of time. [All the volumes have been published here in the US, making this very possible to do now.]
... Last updated on June 12th, 2011, 6:55pm
I really liked the beginning and I thought this had great potential. I picked this because I heard it was similar to a favorite manga of mine called Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru. And it was, the beginning at least.
At first it started simple, without any confusion. I can tell that until volume 5, it was an 8/10 for me. I was excited to continue, but as the story proceeded, I lost interest and it became super confusing. I couldn't even take some things seriously... The manga has shounen-ai tones, rape and incest. Still, I didn't mind, but I felt bored of the story later. It was all about SetsunaxSara love and it was getting ridiculous at times. I was expecting something more intriguing. I know it is a romance title, but I didn't like the certain relationship. Also, I detected a few plot holes that were never explained.
I didn't like any of the characters. Setsuna was a mediocre character, being all obsessed with Sara and Sara was just... Super annoying. As for the others, many of them are not memorized that well, especially on the beginning. The author keeps introducing new characters without being able to remember the past ones.
Many male characters look like girls and I never liked Yuki Kaori's artwork, personally. She makes all of her characters so similar.
Too bad, it disappointed me. Also, if you are a Christian, you will be very offended by the content, because it introduce Angels as the bad guys.
... disturbing, heart-breaking, gruesome and I stopped counting the number of taboos it broke about halfway through.
Though at its heart its a tragic romance where I couldn't guess its ending.
Other posters have listed many of its flaws and I agree with some of them. However, I'll just list what worked for me;
(1) The intricate plot that kept me hooked and I was never sure how it was going to turn out (2) The tragic romance(s) of many of the characters (3) The amazing art (4) It really earned my respect so if you can get past your own prejudices you'll end up rooting for the main players in this manga. (5) I've not read any other manga like it.