While many of us will probably scream at even the thought of a ghost being near us, freshman Nimura Kensuke just thinks of it as a common everyday thing, seeing as how he has the uncanny ability to see so many of them on a daily basis. Things soon heat up for him when he meets a girl who changes his life from then on. Her name is Kagura, and she has the power to summon a mighty "spirit devourer"—otherwise known as a "Ga-Rei"—called Byakuei. So, what's Nimura to do? Chase down the evil spirits and and have Kagura summon the Ga-Rei to devour them, of course! Now, come feast on their adventures like some ravenous Ga-Rei!
I came across Ga-Rei wanting to know how the manga panned out after events to the anime adaptation Ga-Rei Zero(prequel to this manga which aired in 2008).
Unfortunately, like an over-hyped Hollywood blockbuster, Ga-Rei had potential to go places in regards to being a manga-worthy favorite, but did not live up to its anime counterpart due to what I thought was a 'rushed' ending.
For those who have not seen the anime, although not a necessary watch as the manga does cover background to some of the characters, I do recommend viewing anyways if you would like to get the emotional feelings that is lacking in the
Ga-Rei is a tale about an 'agency' that takes care of the supernatural in Tokyo. Story-wise, we look at it through the eyes of the protagonist Kensuke Nimura. Although I say protagonist, this is more an outlook to his relationship with the heroine Kagura and how she inducts Kensuke to that agency due to Kensuke being able to see ghosts. Whilst we do have insight to Kensuke, it really is more about Kensuke learning about Kagura's life/past and the agency she works in. Whilst Kensuke has a minor role at the beginning of the story, it's his intake to learn about Kagura and his decisions from there, that pushes him to be the protagonist at the end.
Ga-Rei can be considered as 3 arcs which span through 52 chapters; Yomi arc, Juugondō arc and Naraku arc with each arc providing plot development to an overall ending for the main heroine Kagura. Although I have no complaints on how each arc is portrayed, I do believe that the mangaka could have improved on the concluding ending compared to what we fans received by chapter 52. By the time we were at the last few chapters of Ga-Rei, too many openings were left 'unfinished' and too many side characters which people had read and liked from beginning of the tale were left with no story-ending for themselves for the fans to feel satisfied with.
I've given Ga-Rei a 9 for artwork as I must admit it is spectacularly done well. From beginning to end we are given breath-taking backgrounds and choreographed action scenes which is very pleasing to the eye without wanting to question "what happened there?"
This is where I believe the manga fell short of. While the character's are epic in their own way, I felt the mangaka left too many 'holes' for us to fully comprehend how good this manga could have been. For example, whilst we get a full background of Kensuke and his weaknesses, we are then led to believe due to his "love" he can do a mind-blowing sword-technique with out further explanation. Also, by the 2nd and 3rd arc, we are than exploited to too many characters which left no background or formal introduction which, for people like myself makes me feel somewhat unsatisfied with the over-all story(especially once I got attached to a certain character).
Enjoyment and Over-All: 7
Overall, it could be in my part that I had high expectations due to watching the anime and following it from there, that my review has given this manga a biased rating. Whether you follow my footsteps and take the manga up after watching Ga-Rei Zero, or by just reading it as a stand alone, my only advice is to not come in with too high an expectation or like me, you may feel a little disappointed due to comparing the adaptations.
Like any famous recipe, the secret to a real good story for me(especially manga) is the balance. Ga-Rei came out sweet making you want to 'eat' more from anime to volume 1 but unfortunately due to the unbalance of the overall story and lack of side character conclusions, it left a bittersweet ending.
Even though the introduction makes the impression that this manga is an episodic-styled, comedic, and typical ghost-exterminating story, it is really not. Ga-rei really is a plot-intensive (heavily involved in a lot of mysteries of the past), action-packed, and intense light-romance manga.
In fact, I call the broad category of manga that possess the level of intensity in works such as Ga-rei: epicness! Seriously. Just when the protagonist fell into an absolutely despairing situation, Kensuke always does something epic that saves the day. Anyways, that feeling just can’t be put into words…
Another one of the biggest strengths that Ga-rei has is the way it narrates the
story. Instead of the usual “third-person” narrative, it uses “first-person” narrative, which is rare in manga. The advantages of latter choice is expressing the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions directly in the manga panels. In this case, Segawa does this extremely well because the sentiments of the protagonist feel real, and his thoughts are what any normal person would think under those situations. Soon, audiences are pulled into Kensuke’s thought, and this is part of what leads to Ga-rei’s epicness.
The art in this manga is also refreshing, although whether I wouldn’t know whether this novelty is a good or bad thing for readers. For me, it is a plus. I liked how the mangaka would draw the lines and curves slightly thicker than others.
For the finishing touch, all good plot-heavy action manga should have some romance between main characters in the mix (the opinion of my teenager self), Ga-rei is no exception. It is not a lovey-dovey romantic tangle. But, you know, the male character saved the female character from absolute death for a few times, and vice versa. Plus, there is a satisfying enough romantic conclusion for the couple. All is well.
I've read all the chapters of the manga and it was wonderful except the ending.... The author should have probably ended it at the first arc...
Kensuke, the main protagonist of the show has been seeing ghosts for his entire life. Because of this, he's a loser and can't get a girlfriend. These people taught he's a wierdo. One day, Kensuke met Kagura by accidentally kissing each other. Later, Kagura transferred school and she insists that they become friends. Kagura finds out that he can also see ghosts and she recruits him to work for the SDCD (Supernatural Disaster Countermeasures Division). This is where they
go ghosts hunting together and I'm not going to write any further.
Just like every manga out there, the art is not that great. It's just plain black and white
Kensuke, the main protagonist of the show. He's been seeing ghosts his entire life and this is why he can't get a girlfriend. Kagura, the main character of the show. She works for SDCD and has a spirit beast called Byakuei. There's also a set of suporting characters but I'm going to list them
There's also a set of antagonists. Yomi, Kagura's best friend and step sister. 2 years ago, she was corrupted by the Bane Stone (Sesshouseki) and was killed by Kagura. Later, returning to life as a demonic spirit. Kazuhiro, a young boy who used to be in the agency and responsible for corrupting Yomi.
I really enjoyed reading this manga... What I really enjoyed is the story, characters and the funny moments... The ending however was dissapointing. It felt like the author just wanted to end it.
For the most part, I enjoyed the manga except the ending. It's got a great plot but in my opinion, the anime is better.
A boy being one of very few who can see spirits and demons isn't an uncommon storyline, but what makes Ga-Rei stand out is its emphasis on the girl that he meets. She has extraordinary power that even she is unaware of, and she takes the stage. Though he is undoubtedly strong, she has a strength that rivals that of the gods. Her destiny has been decided.
I wasn't expecting much from a plot like this, seeing that the ghost, spirits, and demons thing has been around for a while, but the 52 chapters did lead me to think that Ga-Rei had something to offer. And
I also looked it up to see if there was an anime adaptation only to find that there was, but it was a prequel to what happened in the manga. Hmm.
To be honest, I didn't like how fast the beginning was. The male protagonist Kensuke barely had an introduction for himself other the fact that he had been able to see spirits since he was a child. Sure, it was funny when he socked them as soon as he spotted them, but I had to make my own assumptions about his character based on his present actions. Therefore, it also felt rushed when he met the pretty girl Kagura who happened to also see spirits. Pretty soon she brought up the fact that she was part of an organization created to exorcise these ghosts, and then the convoluted explanations began to unfold.
When things got detailed, I found them difficult to follow, but I'm sure it was no different from how Kensuke was feeling. I loved his reactions, though. He is one of few characters in the manga who really does acknowledge when something incredibly ludicrous occurs.
But anyway, ghost fighting. It's a shounen; who doesn't like a little violence now and then? Special swords, spells, and magic abound and it's pretty cool. I always have a hard time following fights in manga, so an anime adaptation of such manga appeal to me, but I did try my best. Also, I don't believe there's an ecchi tag, but I think there should be. More than a few times, people's clothes have ripped and things got a little bloody and sexy, plus there were a few bathing scenes. So there you have it, the fighting and the fan service.
I was pretty hyped up for the biggest battles, though. I could almost feel the characters' trepidation. While they were great battles, it was amazing how much the mangaka could fit into one or two chapters. The last fight especially was super cool, but I was a little disappointed about the ending of the manga, which came to a very swift close and had a short epilogue. Nevertheless, Ga-Rei did pack a punch.
The artwork was pretty satisfying. While I was a little tired of seeing perfect girls, there were a multitude of characters that were easily distinguishable and even funny-looking. I don't know if I would consider them ugly or just different. And it was very cool seeing the spirit monsters and dragons; it must have taken such a long time to draw unique ones all the time for new scenes.
And I have nothing bad to say about the characters. Kensuke was a nice guy thrown into another world and he handled it quite well, acknowledging his strengths and weaknesses and being a good person in general. Kagura was a headstrong girl with dreams of living happily though knowing her fate. The others were just as unique.
I do recommend this for the laughs I had sometimes while reading it. The battling was pretty cool, too. Story-wise it got kind of complicated with history and explanations, but I got through all of it. If you like what you see, give it a shot.