Title: 7th Garden Vol. 3
Author: Mitsu Izumi
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Fantasy, Battle
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
In an attempt to keep up with Vyrde, Awyn starts to train with the seemingly ageless Ashriel. Through his training, he becomes stronger and more confident, although on the outside he still appears to be the same meek gardener he was before meeting Vyrde. He then heads to the capital city with her so she can declare war on the angels. Stationed outside of an elite academy, Awyn is ordered to begin killing students if Vyrde doesn’t return. It’s a sweet blackmail deal to ensure her safety when she visits the angels and rains on their parade. Unfortunately for Awyn, a trip to the capital is only an opportunity to meet old acquaintances and relive unpleasant memories.
The battle against Bel concludes as Awyn looks to try and talk some sense into Elizabeth, but he fails and Elizabeth stabs him. Vyrde ends up settling things by breaking Elizabeth’s mind. After this, we get a bit of a time skip and it’s pretty heavily implied and later confirmed that Vyrde used her abilities to restore Elizabeth and Awyn.
Now that this arc concludes, we get a couple more rather interesting stories. One sees the angels convene to discuss the death of Bel; however, Vyrde ends up crashing their meeting. It’s here that we get a good idea of what is going on with the seven angels, but we are also given more questions. The angels created the world and all the humans are referred to as little gnomes because they tend this “garden” that they have created. The angels desired to create a world for them to live in and are, essentially, manipulating humans, their own creations, into making that world for them. The angels did something to Vyrde, but that’s left as a mystery, but Vyrde does declare that she will kill them.
We wrap up the volume with some much-needed backstory on Awyn. We learn his real last name, what his origins are and the volume ends on a pretty nice cliffhanger that will most likely be the catalyst as to why Awyn is now just a simple gardener.
This volume threw a lot at the reader, but there was some definite progression here. They are tackling so many facets of the story at once, but it’s done so in a way where everything flows into each other. The backstory is necessary, but I felt that while its placement made sense, it kind of disrupted the flow just a little bit. We had that exciting chapter with Vyrde declaring war and stirring up drama and then we are treated to some light-hearted backstory with Awyn and his childhood friend Isaac Griffith. I did like how the flashback was triggered by a rather humorous moment in the present in which was completely set up by Vyrde with Awyn being clueless about her intentions. Poor Awyn!
Despite the pacing issue, this volume had great action, plot advancement and character development all rolled into one. This is probably one of the most balanced volumes of manga I’ve read!
This volume feels a lot longer than it really is because it is dense. At 202 pages, it’s actually shorter. What’s wonderful about this is that we’re getting a lot of information in a brief amount of time. Best of all, I loved every minute of it.
We start the volume out with some brutal imagery. There’s blood, crucifixes, and emotional turmoil. Vyrde uses her abilities to ‘reset’ the garden in a sense because Eliza and Awyn are in their previous, harmonious state in the beautiful estate gardens only moments later.
Vyrde is a clever character. She posts Awyn in the capital to dish out death if she doesn’t return to meet him. Vyrde’s meeting with the angels is important – it helps readers understand the political environment between religion and the humans. Religion in this series is pure politics. The angels and religious officials hold an immense amount of power over humanity – hence why the world is referred to as a garden. The humans are merely gnomes tending the garden. There are references to the creation of the world, only in the world imagined by the author, different angels created different parts of the garden over a course of days instead of a single god.
After receiving this burst of information, we are treated to a backstory about Awyn. It takes up a good chunk of the volume but is immensely helpful in explaining who he is and how he ended up a gardener. Additionally, it helps us understand how someone like Vyrde can easily be accepted into the garden. It’s a sanctuary for people like Awyn and Vyrde, who are outsiders that have been crossed and betrayed by society. We learn that Awyn wasn’t always a simple gardener, but was instead set on a path for political glory in the capital city. Unfortunately, religious sects infected with corruption ensured Awyn’s castration from religious society.
Awyn got some MUCH needed development here, but it looks like it’s only half fleshed out. Finding out his real last name as well as his family history was a great help to his character. His mother and father’s situations were both noble and sad and it was nice to see how the two of them inspired Awyn to become the person he is today. I can see why Vyrde keeps referring to him as a softy! One common theme from young Awyn to current Awyn is his desire to become stronger. That is something that has never died within him, but he still remains weak. It’s a common trope amongst main characters and it’s no different here, but if the formula works, why abandon it? All great main characters start out weak and it’s that journey as you watch them grow that makes things special. Well, unless you’re Kirito from Sword Art Online.
Vyrde didn’t get much development. Just when the angels were about to say what they did to her, they pulled back on the reigns. So other that stating her goals, once again, we haven’t learned anything new about her except that she becomes triggered rather easily when thinking about the world and how she wants it all to herself. Maybe next volume.
The angels were introduced to them and aside from all starting with Lia or Lea, it’s a bit hard to keep their names memorized. I don’t really like it when a series does something like this because it’s really confusing. Not to mention that they have different names on top of them and that makes it even more confusing. All I know is that they exist to create this world for themselves. Seems like typical evil righteousness to me.
Finally, we got a new character named Isaac, but we don’t know much about him yet. Apparently, he’s gotten stronger than Awyn since the two first saw each other so I can already predict that Isaac will be the one to help train Awyn… at least in sword skills because how convenient is it that Isaac teaches swordplay and Awyn uses a sword in battle. If you couldn’t connect the dots that were right in front of your face, then perhaps you should take a trip to the eye doctor.
As Josh mentioned, Awyn gets a lot of development in this volume. It’s immensely helpful to know that Awyn came from a noble background and was seemingly punished for being born to the wrong family. He was destined to be a fighter and became only a fraction of what he could have been because of the misfortunes bestowed upon his parents and their allies. Despite this, Awyn still has a burning desire to get strong and protect those he loves.
The angels were a bit difficult to follow and it was frustrating at times. They all have different names and purposes, but to me, they all seemed to be shards of the same person. I imagine we’ll be seeing more of them, especially because they hold the key to readers discovering Vyrde’s past.
I do have to say that this manga started out very well. I loved the whole “open to interpretation” approach they took when it came to the characters and if those characters were in the right or wrong. Now that we are three volumes in, things have settled and while we still have that kind of atmosphere, it seems they are pushing us to one side and forcing us to view certain characters (i.e the angels) as the true evil here. Then again, they did create the world themselves and they did so in order to live in it so are they really in the wrong? It’s a whole moral dilemma if you ask me, but it’s bring presented in a way where you still have to think, but the character portrayals aren’t really making you think as much like you did back in volume one.
Still, I enjoyed this volume and I want to see how Awyn continues to get fleshed out in volume four. After that, who knows what will transpire… probably Awyn’s training with Isaac if I connected the obvious dots correctly. I wonder how getting trained by Isaac would make Ms. Ashriel feel? She loves Awyn just a little too much!
This volume had me from the beginning. The illustrations really helped me feel the intensity of the dialog. The scenes with Eliza had me anxious about what was happening. Then we’re back in the garden as if the chaos we just witnessed was a dream. Then Vyrde’s encounter with the angels had me thinking about creationism and how Izumi was changing it. It’s always great to read a manga that has you thinking about the society around you while engaging you in a complex, well-written story.
You can also check out other The Outerhaven reviews on your favorite social media networks:
Subscribe to us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theouterhaven
Subscribe to us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheOuterHaven
Subscribe to us on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/theouterhavennet
*7th Garden Volume 3 was provided to us by Viz Media for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.