Author: Miwa Ueda
Publisher: Not licensed in English; I read it on Mangafox
Description from Mangafox:
"Forgive me. I can't become a servant of the Lord yet," Maria says as she runs from her vows ceremony at the convent where she was orphaned 16 years ago. She has received another letter from the mysterious "G," her faceless benefactor. She is not as alone in the world as she thinks; "G" writes that she has a relative at Hakuhou Academy who is in need of her guidance, but he cannot tell her this relative's name. Trying to enroll and search the school presents Maria with a number of problems, however -- the foremost of which is: Hakuhou is an all boys school!
You know the stereotype of manga? How it's melodramatic and ridiculous and sometimes really uncomfortable? Well, a lot of times that makes me angry, but Angel Wars fits the stereotype PERFECTLY. The story involves: suspected incest, nuns, betrayal, kidnapping, kidnappers wearing bunny masks (yeah, that happens in more than one series) a fire, people in disguise, a jealous girl, a fight over an inheritance, and a creepy romance. Are you pumped to find out what's going to happen? Note that this review will be spoilerific, so, if for some reason, you want to read this, you should probably leave now and look at your life and your choices.
Angel Wars is not currently licensed in English, and I really hope that it never is, because it's a big pile of awful. This series is like Marmalade Boy meets Measure for Measure. Most people probably don't know what that means, but it is the truth!
So, as Angel Wars starts, we are introduced to a nun named Maria singing about the sound of music. No, wait. Wrong story. Pardon me. This Maria is an orphan, who has been left at a convent. She is planning to take orders and officially become a nun as soon as she is old enough. Her mysterious benefactor, who signs himself 'G' and she calls Gabriel because of the Bible, sends her a letter saying that she has a brother at a local school. She decides to go to the school to find him, even though it's a boys' school.
I have myriad issues with this premise. First of all, there's this G character, who has apparently been sending money to take care of her. She just runs right out at his word to go to this BOYS' school. No. Also, the mother superior is somehow able to get her into the school, even though that's obviously against the rules? What? It's also unclear how she expects to find her brother, since siblings often don't look alike.
Well, Maria goes to the school, where all of the boys love her and support her, because she's the only girl there is. She attends school wearing her habit. No joke. Of course, she meets a player, Abe, right at the beginning when she's leaving the convent. Then, it turns out that he lives at the same boarding house she does, because that's how life works. Enter girl with a hopeless crush on him to cause trouble/jealousy, and he reveals that, despite those compromising positions she saw him in, he is actually in love with Maria. Crushed girl may or may not have attempted suicide at being rejected in favor of a nun. Despite the melodramatic suicide note, people seem to be convinced that she took the sleeping pills by accident, having mistaken them for laxatives. Yes, THIS HAPPENS.
Then, Maria gets kidnapped by guys in bunny masks and is interrogated/slightly tortured in an outbuilding of the school. She manages to convince the henchmen to be nicer to her through her purity. Bunny mask leader (who she calls Cain) wants to know where the key is, but she swears she doesn't have one. Pissed off Bunny leader sets the building on fire. Abe, of course, finds her and gets her out of the building. However, some beams collapse just when they're almost clear, and Maria pushes him out of the way and they fall on her. She's totally fine, though, because clearly God loves her.
In all of that crazy shiz, Maria's cross breaks, revealing it to have a key inside. At about the same time, Gabriel sends her a photo which shows her with her parents. Abe, OF COURSE, is all 'that's my dad!' They finally recognize their mutual attraction, so, clearly, they should be siblings. He takes her to open his deceased father's secret box with her key. Inside, they find a watch. They determine based on this that they are definitely siblings and Abe says that's why they are so drawn to each other. No. Just no. This is not a thing.
The 'romance' makes me uncomfortable for more reasons than just the possibility of incest, which I'll talk about next. First of all, and this is the Measure for Measure issue, Maria wants to be a NUN. She has always wanted to be, but all of a sudden, she's willing to elope with the guy she believes to be her brother, because their love is too strong to be overcome. NO. Also, there really doesn't seem to be any reason for them to like each other. They don't have any good moments. There's no slow burn. It's instalove, although it takes a while to come out. When he confesses for real real, his reason for liking her is that she's 'pure,' because he hates most women for being ho-bags. GROSS. The day after they confessed, he had to go dump like every girl in school.
There are a surprising, and rather horrifying, amount of mangas that feature an incest plot line. A number of them are suspected incest, aka we might be siblings, which is also featured in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series (this is not just an Asian thing). I know that this can happen. Siblings can be separated and meet up later unknowing, and fall in love. What frustrates me no end about Angel Wars, TMI, and Marmalade Boy (as well as any others that do this) is the fact that the lovers learn that they just might possibly be siblings, so they mope about it. They live in this perpetual "I love you but I can't because we might be and wah wah wah." GO GET A DAMN BLOOD TEST AND BE DONE. There is no reason this should go on for chapters/volumes/books. NO EXCUSES.
Okay, this will be the longest review ever if I continue going into such detail, so let's just hit the highlights, shall we?
Maria meets a nice, clean cut boy while visiting Mother Superior at the hospital (because she's super old and there wasn't enough drama). She is freaking out about the 'we might be siblings' thing, so she wants to leave the boarding house, but isn't ready to return to the convent. The guy offers to let her stay at his house so she accepts, because, CLEARLY, this could IN NO WAY GO WRONG. While wandering around in his house, she finds the letterhead G writes on, and concludes that this guy is Gabriel-sama. Obviously, he is completely trustworthy.
Later, she finally makes up her mind to return to the convent, but she finds an old drunk man, who was at one point the groundskeeper at her school, outside the convent. She helps him home, cleans his house, and SLEEPS THERE. This girl is SO STUPID. Of course, old man turns out to be wealthy grandfather in disguise, the one whose inheritance everyone wants.
Maria decides to run off with Abe, because she loves him too much. Then, one of the nuns comes and kidnaps her, having seen Maria embracing a boy. Back at the convent, they lock Maria in a room (with bars on the window, because convents are also prisons) and prepare to force her to take orders. Because this is what nuns do in the modern age. Abe comes to the window and convinces her to break out by knocking over the nun who brings her dinner like a freaking linebacker.
Abe promised to be waiting when she got out, but he's not, because he gets hit by a car driven by evil bunny mask guys. Maria WEEPS BUCKETS, because obviously he does not love her. Gabriel appears, and Maria wonders nothing. They go to his house, where his crazy relatives try to steal her watch and rant about how it's the thing you need to prove you deserve the inheritance. Maria wonders nothing, because she's a BONEHEAD.
Maria gets a call, which informs her that Abe is in danger unless she comes and brings her watch. She shows her first bit of smartness by making them let her hear Abe. She runs out to the creepy closed carnival (Yup) to rescue him. Cain appears and takes the watch. Abe manages to fight just enough to knock off the mask, revealing (shock!) Gabriel with gelled hair! Gabriel = Cain! NO ONE SAW THIS TWIST COMING!
Caibriel ties Abe up and throws knives at him. Luckily, he clearly has carny training. Bored of this, Caibriel decides that she needs to be punished more (since clearly it's her fault that his dad loved Maria's mother more than his own), so he threatens to rape her. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? Bad siblings. Bad.
The truth comes out and she's declared the inheritor. She promptly TURNS IT OVER TO THE GUY WHO WANTED TO RAPE HER AND KILL HER BOYFRIEND. Then, she goes back to the convent because Mother Superior is conveniently at the brink of death AGAIN (Note: Mother Superior and grandpa were in love eons ago). Evil half brother gives her the inheritance back, because, again, that's what people do. Plus, he tells them that Abe and Maria aren't siblings. Abe's dad was some other dude, and their dad supported his mother later. Abe runs in to keep her from marrying Jesus, and they run out of the church like it's the end of The Graduate. Okay, not quite, but basically.
Angel Wars is one of the worst things I've ever read. Why did I read the whole thing? Partly so I could review it, because what what what was that, and partly because I've liked what I've read by this mangaka besides this. Ueda wrote Peach Girl and Papillon, both series I've enjoyed. Long story short, don't read this.
"How do you solve a problem like Maria?"