7th Garden Volume 1 by Mitsu Izumu

The first volume gives a glimpse of where this story will go – I expect the next volume to make or break the story for me. I am admittedly rather bored with ‘generic European peasant’ settings as well as heaven vs. hell manga story lines with lots of fanservice artwork. This looks to have a clever twist (perhaps the angels aren’t good and the demons aren’t evil!) with some interesting battle scenes, though. So I am looking forward to the next volume to see where this goes.

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Story: Awyn has a tragic past and now hides himself by tending the gardens on a lonely estate. His one solace is the young daughter of the estate owner – the kind and gentle Maria. When he accidentally awakens a demon hiding in a secret location, he is offered power but at the price of his soul. He promptly refuses – but will be forced to enter into the contract when the estate/village are attacked and beloved Maria is murdered by the church’s zealous soldiers. The demon resurrects Maria and fixes the village – and transforms into a sword-like weapon to be used to take down her enemies, a group of angels. As Awyn is drawn into fighting the angels, he soon realizes that his demon is not the evil in the world – it might just be the church itself.

The artwork is fine – clean and easy to follow. The fanservice is a bit much and somehow takes away from the gravitas of the story. The demon spends most of her time naked, on her hands and knees, or other titillating poses. The angels are…er…busty. So I am sure there is a better audience for this who might appreciate the art more than I did.

The last chapter especially showed that there is a lot more to come than battling angels. The demon’s past plays an integral part and will come back to haunt both Awyn and his village/Maria. Will he be able to save his tsundere demon and defeat the angels? Most likely as he learns to use his demonic blade better. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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