(Sweet fudgecakes, my first manga review for this category!)
I’ve been a manga fan since the early 2000s, and it really started with two, possibly three, titles. One was “Shirahime-syo,” a one-shot volume about tales set in wintry snowscapes. The other was “DNAngel,” by Yukiru Sugisaki, which is unfortunately still on hiatus even to this day. I was in awe at CLAMP’s beautiful artwork, and that led me to more of their other works.
Though, I must admit, I got into CLAMP’s works because of “Cardcaptor Sakura.” But that’s a tale for another day. My pick this week is CLAMP’s debut series, “RG Veda.”
The story itself starts with a prophecy:
Six stars will fall to this plane. The dark stars that will defy the Heavens. And you shall undertake a journey. One that begins when you find the child of a vanished race. I cannot discern the child’s alignment. I only know that it is he alone who can turn the wheels of Tenkai’s destiny. For it is by Heavenly Mandate that through this child, the Six Stars shall begin to gather. And then someone shall appear from the shadows. Even my powers cannot clearly make out his figure, but he knows the future and can manipulate both evil and heavenly stars. A roaring flame shall raze the wicked. Six stars will overpower all others. And inevitably, they will be the schism that splits the Heavens.
Such is the prophecy Kuyou tells Ashura-ou, the Heavenly Emperor–who loses his life in a rebellion staged by his guardian warrior, Taishakuten, and Ashura-ou’s own wife, Shashi. This same prophecy is told to the guardian warrior of the northland, Yasha-ou. By following this prophecy, Yasha-ou awakens the genderless child of Ashura-ou, named Ashura, who was asleep thanks to a magic seal. Yasha’s understanding of the prophecy is this: Unite the Six Stars, and overthrow Taishakuten’s tyrannical rule.
Along the way, the two meet the young king of the west, Ryuu-ou; the queen of the eastern tribe, Kendappa-ou; the queen of the Karura tribe, Karura-ou; and the last member of the Souma tribe, Souma.
There is also the enigmatic (and often comedic) character Kujaku, who has a mysterious past of his own.
The series itself was licensed by Tokyopop, but after it was completely released the license expired. Dark Horse Comics has licensed the series for an omnibus release in 2016.
PS: Oh yes, if you’re curious on this title, I’m warning you that it goes from lighthearted to very, very dark. It is definitely one of my favorites from the manga quartet, though a very underrated title.