Coud is a young sky pirate who discovered a girl with mysterious powers on what had seemed like a routine mission. Ren has the ability to lend Coud bizarre fighting capabilities (his arm turns into a giant blade of some sort), being part of a race of beings called Edel Reid, but being the possessor of a stone called the Elemental Gelade, she has powers even beyond the norm.
Erementar Gerad was first published in English as Elemental Gelade by Tokyopop, who published the first twelve volumes from July 11, 2006 to September 7, 2010. DMG later took over the license, and published the series digitally as Erementar Gerade from March 6, 2012 to January 30, 2013.
Action, adventure, romantic-comedy is what could be used to best describe Elemental Gelade. Yes, overall Elemental Gelade (or Erementar Gerade for you engrish fans out there) is a bit of a mixed bag, combining some of the most popular genres into one solid story. Trying to put comedy and romance in with an action adventure can sometimes prove too much for a story, and completely topple the plot… but overall Elemental Gelade holds up quite well. However, exactly how well it holds up is what we shall look at now.
Probably the most interesting and obvious things Elemental Gelade has to offer is its setting. It
is set in a somewhat futuristic fantasy world, with lots of flying machines and advanced military hardware… but rather medieval style towns and scenic landscapes. The strangest thing this series has to offer is the introduction of a new species of humanoids, Edel Raids… beings with the ability to change into weapons. If you can look past the absurdity of their premise (seriously? They evolved to be turned into weapons?) the Edel Raids are quite fascinating and author Mayumi Azuma does quite a nice job handling them. She doesn’t go too deep into the details on how they work, but she shows off how they generally act as a race (fairly human like but with a fear of man), and explains a few attributes related to their abilities. If you really look at them, then they are a little idiotic, but if you dive into the fantasy of it all you will find that Edel Raids are quite an interesting addition to the plot.
The plot itself is holds up to the tides of time. At its very core its pretty generic, young boy helping a young girl that mysteriously got attached to him, but as the plot progresses it gets a fair bit better. It deals with things like oppression, belonging, and growing up. The theme of humans constantly hunting Edel Raids for their powers is what drives most of these feelings and overall is pretty solid. Its not perfect by any means but is well worth reading to the end.
The characters follow a similar trend. The protagonist, Coud van Girut (shortened to Cou) is a fairly generic sort of lead at first; a young boy with high ambitions but little patience or experience, who swears to protect a girl who he’s only know for a little bit. He does, however, grow quite nicely and turns out to be a lot more human that most generic shounen leads. For one, he never truly becomes powerful. He goes through training, and of course over time he does start to become better, but he still remains the weakest member in his group. Although he does end up winning most of the battles, its usually through a mixture of luck… and the fact that he has one of the most powerful weapons in the world (where he gains most of his power from) Ren the Edel Raid. His other rather human feature is the fact that a lot of emphasis is put on him growing up. He starts off cold and pretty impatient, but learns a lot from his journey, and always has the goal of returning to become a sky pirate, his lifes dream.
That next turns us to the lead female, Ren… who is a bit of an oddball. At first one might think shes simply the shy and quiet type of character. As it goes on, you start to see that she is more… relaxed than shy. Despite getting mad or upset on a couple key occasions, for the most part Ren views the world with a rather cool indifference. When she does talk, she is actually rather blunt in what she says, and is a bit oblivious to proper social etiquette. Overall she becomes quite a likeable character, and is probably the most memorable one in the manga.
So again, overall the characters are interesting but a little generic. Their companions Cisqua, Rowen and Kuia are all more comic relief than anything else, but they each get a little back story that helps define them as characters. The villains is where the series starts to fall a little short, and its probably my biggest complaint against Elemental Gelade. The fact of the matter is, none of the main villains really seem human. They are almost always evil “for the sake of being evil.” Azuma tries to show off man’s possessive nature and the need for power but really goes overboard after a while. In this, Azuma basically creates an organization that is purely purely evil, that wants to acquire every single Edel Raid as there own, and force them to work under their reign of terrible evilness. And they do other generic bad guy stuff, like killing every henchman that fails a mission (or sometimes a even a little darker than that).
This is something that I think the anime handles a hell of a lot better than the manga I find. While the amount of evil people is still very abundant in the anime, they do a few select things that makes it a hundred times better. First, they don’t have a single evil organization, instead evil people are a little more spread out across the land. Even the good corporation Arc Aile (which Cisqua Rowen and Kuia work for) has a dark side to it in the anime, where in the manga it is painted as a solid gold Edel Raid paradise. Another thing done well in the Anime is the use of edel raids as main villains. In the Manga, while some edel raids are villainous…they really are only doing so, so that they may be accepted by their much more evil masters MAN!!! In the anime, some edel raids are actually evil but for solid reasons like becoming more powerful and helping their race survive. This makes the edel raids seem actually humane, rather than a weakened race of women that must be protected by the righteous man from the evil man.
But really… enough about the Anime (this is about the manga isn’t it?). Aside from the main points, Elemental Gelade has a lot of wonderful points that make it worth a read. The art is fantastic and rather unique. The comedy – romance is mixed rather well into the side scenes, in between some truly epic action moments… although, at times the action does get a little hard to follow from panel to panel. The romance is a much bigger focus than most Shounens, and is played out rather well. Its never too in your face and it has a very nice feel about it.
So, after all is said and done, Elemental Gelade is a potent mix of its many genres, and well worth checking out if you’re a fan of any of them. The plot, while not extensively deep, is fresh and worth reading. The characters are decent, and if you can get past a bit of an over-dramatization of the evil of “MAN” and a few obscure fantasy facts… I’m sure you’ll find the series enjoyable. Personally, I doubt I will ever find a series I could enjoy more, than the Elemental Gelade series. Have fun
This is a manga I'm following very closely. After watching the anime, I felt something was missing. Something very big, and that was more character development and plot development. Only watching the anime did not satisfy me, so I obviously tracked down the manga when I heard it was being released in the US.
To my surprise there were some differences between the anime and manga. The manga is more, how can I put it, edgy. It has the ability to do what it wants more then what the anime would have. So you get to see more skin, and a bit more fanservice. (This
manga is not about fanservice BTW)
Getting back to the point. The story is nothing that you haven't seen at it's roots. Boy meets girl, girl has something important to do, boy and girl set out on adventure meeting and making new friends and enemies along the way. But the way the story is told is quite interesting. If you're one of those fans for adventure, some romance, and comedy manga, then check this one out.
The art is outstanding. From the action scenes, all the way down to the chibi comedy. The artwork is amazing...The detail for the characters is great, and so is the scenery. There is really high quality work going on in the pages of the manga.
Characters are pretty interesting. We have your average, teenage male protagonist, and cute female protagonist. Along with your not so normal cast of bad guys and good guys. Drawn amazingly well, and even the minor characters are drawn with great detail. The main characters are interesting and keep the story moving along very well.
I'm still enjoying the manga. If you seen the anime, you have to go read the manga. If you're looking for something new to read, then read a few chapters of this first. This manga isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed seeing as how I loved the anime. Overall this manga gets a 10 from me.