Although I finished this manga quite a while ago, I felt the need to re-read it before reviewing it. Gothic fantasy 07 Ghost is a 17 volume (99 chapter) manga created by Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara (published 2005-2014).
What’s it about?
Teito Klein is a former sklave (slave) attending the Barsburg Military Academy where he trains to become a soldier by mastering ‘Zaiphon’; a supernatural power that can be used in weapons. Teito has little memory of his past, and suffers from disjointed, fragmented dreams that are his only clue. Despite all of this, he does have one friend; Mikage Celestine, and the night before their final exam, the two make a vow to never abandon each other. However, when Teito overhears a conversation involving Chief of Staff Ayanami, a visitor to the academy, he suddenly regains part of his memory, and realises that he is the Crown Prince of the destroyed Raggs Kingdom, and that Ayanami is responsible for killing his father. After attempting to attack Ayanami in revenge, Teito is imprisoned, but with the help of Mikage, he manages to escape and ends up finding sanctuary in the Barsburg Church. Initially weary of the church, Teito is reassured by the bishops Castor, Frau, and Labrador, that he is safe. As Teito learns more about the Barsburg-Raggs War in an attempt to trigger the return of his memories, he is catapulted into a quest for revenge and self-discovery, right in the middle of a long-standing conflict between the evil fallen servant of God, Verloren, and God’s faithful servants, the Seven Ghosts.
One thing that I really love about this manga is the art. All of the main characters are draw to be really pretty, and the clothes, especially the military and Bishop uniforms, are very cool. There is a lot of detail paid to the little things, such as hairstyles, accessories, and subtle differences between clothes to specify rank, which really brings the world to life. The “focus shots” (where there isn’t a lot happening in the scene, but a lot of art on the page) really demonstrate the beautiful Gothic atmosphere of the manga.
The whole manga has a really cool mythology and world history that is built throughout it. I am a sucker for world-building, so I just love all the attention in this manga. I can almost say I’m more interested in the world than the actual story, but that’s only a credit to how real it is created. Also, the Ghosts are just so, so cool.
The majority of the characters in this manga are pretty likeable, or at the least, not out-right hate-able. Teito proves to be your standard sweet and dedicated protagonist, the three Bishops round out the main supporting cast nicely with Castor’s cool calculations, Labrador’s absent mindedness, and Frau’s coolness. Our antagonist Ayanami and his subordinates are perhaps the more interesting character group. I am a little disappointed with the distinct lack of female characters, and our only real female character, Ouka, pales in comparison to her male-counterparts in terms of characterisation and development.
Overall, the story has a nice mixture of everything; sadness, comedy, plenty of drama, military tactics, battles, and so on. The pacing is good at the beginning and it accelerates nicely to the climax of the plot. It is a typical adventure plot, but an enjoyable ride nevertheless.
Rather contradictory to what I said above, I also had issues with the art. Everything I said above holds true for most scenes, but once the notion of movement in introduced, it can be quite difficult to figure out what’s going on. In fact, for the majority of action or battle scenes, I needed to closely inspect every panel several times, which is very tiresome and quickly becomes boring. Furthermore, the artist loves to detail her work with unnecessary lines, flowers, or literally anything, to give it an overly “breezy” effect, which only adds into the problem. On top of that, it because increasingly difficult towards the end to tell characters apart, as they’re all male, they’re all pretty, and they’re usually either wearing military of church attire.
The story, as I mentioned previously, is fairly standard, but the ending is a little disappointing in retrospect, because it isn’t entirely clear what happens, and seems to be a little bit of a cop-out.
Art: 7.5/10: If it wasn’t for difficulty in following action scenes, this would be a solid 9/10.
Story: 7/10: Whilst the story isn’t groundbreaking, and ending is a minor let-down, the overall ride is enjoyable.
Characters: 7.5/10: Again, nothing groundbreaking, but overall a fun cast to follow.
I found the world-building to be one of the most interesting aspects of this manga, and I adore all of the detail the creators but into the mythology and history. The story is interesting enough to keep you in it, the characters are likeable, and there is enough going on to appeal to everyone. Clearer art would have been nicer, but the overall Gothic and dark fantasy atmosphere is beautiful. Overall, I give it a 7.5/10.