Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion

 AAJO   (Broccoli, 2004)

™ and © 2002-2004 Broccoli & Sakurako Gokurakuin

When you hear “Age of Aquarius,” you think peace, love, and understanding, not another pretty-boy apocalypse, but here’s another manga that owes a great deal to Clamp’s X.

Here, the supernatural conflict is even more complicated and ambiguous, with five different empowered sides at war—though what they’re fighting over is never made clear.

There’s an attempt to make the spine of the story a romantic triangle among Kaname, who sprouts black bat wings, Tsukasa, sporting white angel ones, and the undeclared Mana, but there’s so much exposition to get out of the way readers never get to know any of the characters well.

But, as is usual with a Broccoli title, the quality and contents of this volume are superb, including a comic strip about the manga’s creation, translator notes, several pages on the Juvenile Orion role-playing system (including a card checklist, which seems odd, seeing as how it’s not available in America), and ads for merchandise as obscure as un–translated CD dramas. Now, if only the story were just a little more compelling.

— S.A. Bennett

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