Review: Taimanin Asagi Anthology

The Taimanin franchise is one of my favourites, from live action to figures to games to anime, you name it I’ve got some form of it. Each of these have their own plus points and negatives but it’s always fascinating to see the changes between the mediums. There are a few manga volumes out there and this is one of the first so does it capture what makes the series so good?

Asagi and Sakura are sisters and trained as Taimanin, ninjas who patrol the city and take out demons when they cause havoc and taking out their enemy Oboro. This book follows their exploits show from various mangaka. You don’t really need much more of the outline than this to enjoy or make some sense of what happens but having this knowledge does make it more enjoyable.

This is an anthology of different one shots so there is no overarching story tying them together other than the world they inhabit being the same. I did like this, that the series world was open to interpretation. It isn’t following a direct path that the VN or anime had, each mangaka can put their own prints on the franchise and their work.

The same content presented in the VN is here; tentacles, mind breaking, rape, sex slavery, humiliation and many more genres at play. It is very hardcore in its nature so those who find that abhorrent need not go out and read this.

There are a fair few chapters here (about over half the book) that I did like and had no problem going back and rereading on multiple occasions such as Yamai Sakatarous short where demon clones of Asagi overpower her, hold her down as they use their tongue like tentacles to smother her, to pleasure her all over her body. It is a nice twist on the tentacle play and one I very much enjoyed.

There is more as well. Seeing Asagi raped by numerous demons, seeing her go around offering herself in public to random people and then bathing in the pleasure is wonderful to read no matter how simplistic the content may seem. There is even an Oboro centric chapter which focuses on her training and breaking which was a delight as after seeing her inflict so much pain on Asagi and Sakura the payoff just works so much as it always does.

What all of these have in common is the consistent, fitting art style that both shows the girls in a suitably erotic and salacious light  as well as content not simply retreading what has gone before but showing something new or adding that something extra to make it stand out. Take Akagis chapter for example, it looks like it was taken from an anime with the backgrounds and characters looking pristine with nary a white in sight, everything is full and detailed which really stood out amongst the chapters. It worked so well.

Unfortunately having so many mangaka take on this franchise does result in a few weaker one shots both in a visual outlook and from a content point of view. The opening chapter by Inoino had this issue with the art style more so than the content. With lots of white areas and a rough, slightly retro aged look that was also beset by crowding problems it did not quite work for me. I had this problem with his other works as well so it’s not just a matter of not fitting the world.

There are also a couple of chapters by Tokimaru Yoshihisa and Marneko that take the look into a cuter direction further away from the originals. I am open to drastic art changes but this did not work for me as the shorter body frames and facial expressions took me out of it. It’s a shame as Yoshihisas chapter in particular had a nice setup with Oboro forcing Asagi and Sakura into various AV scenarios but the art just put me off it.

Other than that a few other chapters touch upon the traditional elements the series is know for but do little to set themselves apart. I like tentacles and demon rape as much as the next guy but it needed something to set it apart and it could not quite do it. That’s not to say they’re bad but nothing stood out among these.

As an introduction to the Taimanin franchise (and Taimanin Asagi in particular) is not a bad one and I’m sure others would have more glowing things to say on the art but for myself it just wasn’t quite as enjoyable as I had hoped which is disappointing. If you like the mangaka involved here then I would recommend this.

Mangaka: Akagi, Ayukawa Aoi, Ichimai Ugou, Inoino, Kusunoki Rin
                  Marneko, Matsunami Rumi, Tokimaru Yoshihisa, Yamai Sakatarou
Release: 2008
Length: 9 chapters, 1 volume
Availability: Amazon Japan, Mandarake


No comments

Powered by Blogger.