Title: 7th Garden Vol. 2 Author: Mitsu Izumi Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 210 Genre: Fantasy, Battle Publication Date: October 4, 2016
After being introduced to Awyn and Vyrde in the first volume of 7th Garden, we get our first major story arc. The kingdom of Irreign has been thrown into turmoil thanks to the manipulative efforts of the angel Bel. The peasants were tired of having their wages taxed only to have them squandered by the royal family to live a luxurious lifestyle. They rebelled against the royal family and captured them all. One by one they put them on trial and beheaded them… except for Princess Elizabeth. Bel uses Queen Orichelle Pentacourt’s death to persuade her little sister Elizabeth into partnering with her in order to defeat Vyrde, who has gained knowledge that Bel, one of the six angels, was behind the revolution in Irreign. Due to his contract with Vyrde, Awyn comes along and now finds himself in a battle against an angel!
While that is the overarching story for the volume, we are first introduced to some backstory about why the angels are behind these so-called purges and it makes us seem very insignificant because, well.. we truly are in the grand scheme of things. They say much like a gardener must prune a tree of its branches to keep it healthy, the angels must do the same with the worlds which exist in the universe. A human is but a speck in a town… a town is but a speck in a country… a country but a speck in the world… the world is but a speck in the universe, but even though we are just specks, we are also pieces to a puzzle. When things go awry, that puzzle piece no longer fits and must be replaced with one that does. Much like a tree with an overgrown branch, the branch did nothing wrong, but it must be pruned to prolong the life and health of the tree. That is the reasoning behind the purging of the humans by the angels. They masked the purges behind the witch hunts… the very same that we saw in the first volume.
Again, we are treated to more conflict. We still have no clear indication of who is right and who is just in this series. While the reasoning behind why the angels are just slaughtering people left and right makes sense, it doesn’t make it right. Vyrde wants the world returned to her as well and she wants to kill the six angels in order to make it so. She doesn’t seem to want to plunge the world into darkness… instead it seems that she has had what was once hers stolen from her and she simply wants it returned. Does this truly make Vyrde a demon? It’s too early to tell, but the story is suggesting that it doesn’t so far, but there still isn’t enough for you to make a decision on who to stand behind. Still, it’s a story that makes you think and that’s not a bad thing. It’s not something that’s straight-forward, but while it is a complex conundrum to wrap your head around, Izumi does do a great job of keeping it easy to understand.
There was some indirect character development with Vyrde, but outside of that, we didn’t really get much. The new characters, Bel and Elizabeth, were only around for the length of a cup of coffee and unless this series loves to draw upon its past, then I doubt we will see them again come volume three. Awyn is still the same Awyn from the first volume in the fact that he still seems conflicted as to what is right and what is wrong, but he does have a bit of a softer side in this volume. Sympathizing with Elizabeth and her situation shows the purity of his heart, despite the fact that he does end up having to fight her and Bel. It was, more or less, the actions of the angels which persuaded him to fight more than anything. Vyrde kept wanting Awyn just to strike Elizabeth down, but Awyn was determined on saving her instead. We’ve see this kind of character personality a dozen times. It seems like a detraction from the way Izumi started building Awyn up in the first volume. I hope he does fall into mediocrity and gets more depth to him.
Vyrde got some indirect development through Bel. We now know that Vyrde was once an angel, but her death is still shrouded in mystery. How she returned is still a bit muddled and her reason for wanting the entire planet back is anyone’s guess. I can only assume that she was once put in charge of this planet as an angel, but something happened, she ended up dead and now there is a purge to put the broken puzzle piece back together. Vyrde could have been the one to break the puzzle and the other angels are cleaning up her mistake. That’s all just speculation on my part, but that seems where this story is headed just by the one little nuance we were given in this volume. Another interesting note is that when she was an angel, Vyrde was known by the name Maria. These subtle clues are enough to hook the reader into wanting to know more and I like that they are being tossed to us in little nugget form!
This was another great volume of 7th Garden that gave us more insight on the angels and their crusade. The reasoning behind it seems like it’s been done many times before, but it still gives you a sense that righteousness can be truly evil… or in this case… truly unfair. They’re doing a good job building up Vyrde, but I’m a bit worried about Awyn’s character development so far. I really hope there is more substance to him in future volumes because it seems like this volume began to make Vyrde the center focus and Awyn more of a background character to her. They had such great balance in the previous installment and I hope volume three goes back to that nice balance that we had.
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