Seraphim: 266613336 Wings TP
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 2015
Price: $19.99
Creator(s): Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon
Format: 268 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-6165-5608-2
Age Ratings: 16+
ICv2 Ratings: 4 Stars out of 5

While technically outstanding, and an oddly important part of the history of both manga and anime, this is still a never-to-be-completed fragment of a much longer story, and will frustrate readers who might want to find out what should have come next.  Thus, it may have limited appeal.

Because this was a story being told in print by two later masters of anime, the book is worth studying for its style and quality.  This is the first chapter of what might have been either a masterpiece or a train wreck.  We will never know which.

Originally serialized in Animage, the chapters were only collected in Japan in 2011.  Both creators put their energies into anime, with Satoshi Kon creating Paprika and Millenium Actress, while Mamoru Oshii is best known here for Ghost in the Shell.

Seraphim is an apocalyptic story in which a disease/syndrome is affecting people and turning them into mindless beings with angelic appearances.  Religious and political forces become involved in this disaster, the former because of their appearance and the latter because they are so numerous.  The central characters are from a quasi-religious group investigating things, but mysteriously two of the lead investigators are a child and a dog, respectively.  The reasons might have been explained in later chapters.

The story takes place in a future version of China, and readers will need the footnotes to understand the cultural references.  There is also a section of almost 40 pages about the creators, and further annotating the story.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.