Title: Sazan and Comet Girl
Author: Yuriko Amase
Release Date: Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Perhaps the only thing worse than a bad manga is watching a good manga slowly become worse over the course of its runtime. With an art style reminiscent of a bygone era, eye-catching colored panels, and an interesting setup, it seemed like nothing could bring down Sazan and Comet Girl. However, the series isn’t given enough time to shine in its 500-page omnibus, leading to a reading experience that left me with more ambivalence than anything else.
Sazan and Comet Girl follows Sazan, a young, blue-collar human thousands of years in the future. When he misses the last ship back to Earth while working late at his job, Sazan is offered a ride by Mina, a girl passing by on her space-bike. After taking her up on her offer, Sazan learns there is more to Mina than meets the eye as he is thrown into a world of pirates, superpowers, and evil AI.
One of the things that immediately caught my eye about Sazan and Comet Girl was its art style. Even though the series was initially published in Japan in 2018, it wouldn’t be hard for me to believe that it actually came out in the 80s. Mangaka Yuriko Akase does a fantastic job emulating the manga of old in a way that feels like a breath of fresh air.
Better yet, the entire omnibus is colored beautifully. Though I’ve come to accept (and love) the tried and true black and white color scheme of most manga, it’s nice to see a fully-realized colored work every now and again. Sazan and Comet Girl’s vibrant colors help add to its sci-fi universe, creating a setting that I’d kill to see more of.
Sazan and Comet Girl starts off strong, introducing likable protagonists in the form of Sazan and Mina and building an interesting world around them. The further into the story you get; however, the more tropes rear their ugly heads.
It feels as if Akase isn’t given enough time to flesh out all of her ideas as she consistently relies on tropes to get her to the finish line. For instance, Sazan and Mina just kind of fall in love out of nowhere. While I am a believer in love at first sight, it doesn’t make a very good storytelling device.
Similarly, the manga’s main villain isn’t introduced until the story’s halfway point and is then given a generic motivation and backstory. Shortly after he comes into the narrative, he’s gone, making me wonder why Sazan and Comet Girl even needed to have a big baddie for the main cast to fight.
Mina’s powers are also woefully unexplained. She is kind of like Captain Marvel from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, full of limitless power and possibilities. It feels as if she can do whatever she wants and beat literally any foe unless the plot calls for her to be seemingly defeated for a few pages.
Though it touts some fantastic character designs and set itself up for success, I slowly watched the Sazan and Comet Girl grow more and more generic as its story played out. With more time to flesh out characters, there could have been some good stuff here, but 500 pages just aren’t enough.
As far as sci-fi/romance stories go, I’ve read worse, but I certainly wasn’t impressed by Sazan and Comet Girl. Those looking for a manga that’s pretty to look will definitely appreciate this book, but if you’re looking for a story that’s truly out of this world, maybe look somewhere else.
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