Barsburg Empire's Military Academy has always been known for training the elite with potential to become superb soldiers who won't bring shame to the name of the empire. The students of the special program freely utilize an ability called "zaiphon" to fight... Everyone's capabilities are different, and in many cases, reflect their nature.
However, not everything is what it seems, and nothing will be the same for Teito Klein after passing the last exam...
For a manga with such an epic scale, it receives surprisingly little attention. What fanbase it has is highly loyal; but it deserves to be larger.
In a fantasy-Germanic world, the Imperial Army vies with the Pope for power in the land. Caught in the middle is everyone else: the aristocracy, slaves, soldiers, and priests. Filled with gothic themes, skeletons and scythes, animal-machine hybrid airships, and magical fighting techniques, the great cathedral bears over them all.
Teito Klein has been attending military academy for several years. One of the fighting techniques used there is a natural-born "magical" skill called "zaiphon," cast via written word, of which Teito is very skilled. Teito was a slave before the academy's chairman discovered him and sponsored him as a student there. He had no memories of his childhood before becoming a slave. However, on the eve of his graduation from the academy, his memories of his earliest years suddenly surface, and he remembers his father...and how his father was brutally murdered. He promptly smashes his future as an army officer by attacking senior officer Ayanami, the one who killed his father. The attack lands him in prison. His one and only friend Mikage helps him jailbreak, and Teito is given sanctuary by the Bishops of the great Barsburg Cathedral. But it turns out that the Army wants Teito back, but it's not because of his attack or escape...
Though Teito is a master at fighting techniques, he still has many vulnerabilities and insecurities. His years as a slave killed his emotion and taught him to distrust everyone. Both the social stigma of being a slave and his cold exterior prevented others from making friends with him at the academy. Mikage was the only one who dove in and tried to make friends with him. But Teito still had to learn to appreciate and accept his friendship. And as far as Teito knows, he has no living family. Whenever scraps of his memory surfaces, he tries desperately to learn more about them. When the official history states that his father was dishonorable, Teito is impelled to dig deeper to find the truth.
07 Ghost feels unique in how it treats its strong pseudo-Catholic religious theme. Many, if not most, manga paint religious orders in a negative light; as repressive and totalitarian, turning normal people into brainwashed believers. Priests are shams and hypocrites, and practicers of evil. But this one doesn't. Religion is treated as a central and cherished part of this world. The clergy for the most part are honest, well-meaning people (though like Teito, I find Bishop Frau's interest in porn a bit disturbing).
For much of the main story (so far), Teito lives at the cathedral. An enormous structure, it houses innumerable nuns, bishops and priests, students of the church, and those seeking sanctuary. The three Bishops that become Teito's mentors are the dashing playboy Frau, the glasses-wearing puppet-maker Castor, and the bishie gardener/herbalist, Labrador. These three seem like fairly normal people at first, but it's not long before we discover they are unlike anyone else Teito has encountered before. And that is because the evil they are assigned to battle is greater than Teito could have imagined....
Surrounding the cathedral are seven giant statues shaped as seven grim reapers (the 7 "ghosts" of the title). They portray the seven beings sent from heaven to contain a great evil. And it seems those seven still roam the earth as frightening guardians of good.
Okay, now to more nitty grittys:
The art is gorgeous. The style is well chosen for the gothic themes, and the epic scale of high cathedral vaults. The art is more stylized than realistic. It combines fine lines and energetic style with heavy contrasts and a sort of "shiny" look, like a polished limousine. And the skeletal figures of the ghosts wrapped in funereal cloaks, and Kor wings are frighteningly beautiful. And I love the costumes. The military uniforms are very cool. Teito's costume switch from the white rags to the tidy uniform of a church student almost symbolizes his move from shattered confusion to resolve for the future. And I love the church clothes, particularly the student clothes: flowing, crisp and white, and--dare I say--sexy. And the Bishops' switch from white clerical robes to hot black leather suits when they have to work on their "side job."
One more reason to buy the real printed manga, is that lots of the beautiful subtleties in the art show up much better on paper.
The characters are very likeable. Teito's tragic past is enough to pull at the heartstrings of any female reader (***this manga is definitely geared at a female audience; I'm not sure how much male readers will enjoy it***). Combined with the mystery of his past and present, his awesome battle skill and sassy-cute looks, ya gotta love him. The Bishops are each unique and interesting, though it takes us a lot longer to find out the truth behind their pasts. We get to know a few other characters. Though the entire cast in 07 Ghost is pretty large, we only get intimately involved with a few.
The pacing is good. Even though events happen that make you think "The story is gonna die after this!" things keep picking back up, and stay interesting. Time moves along, and settings change, and some characters we fall in love with, we must later part from. And it hurts. But that's the way life is. And that's why 60+ chapters later, the story stays strong.
Now, there are a few plotlines that are heavy, and hard to understand. It means that you will probably have to read some chapters over, if not the whole series, to keep things straight. But I've actually enjoyed that. It would be worth it just for the art, but ten times more so because the story is interesting enough that you can read it several times without getting bored. I've read the first chapter innumerable times already.
This was probably the most confusing plot point, and I had to read things through several times before I finally figured it out: Teito's earliest memories are of the Father, and also of his father. I couldn't figure out why there were two fathers, and which was which, until I realized that one was his actual father, while the other was a Father (priest). Also the nature of the Seven Ghost, the Kor, and the Warsphile are a bit hard to understand, since you have to read several chapters to get a complete picture of them.
The chapter numbering is a bit odd. It sometimes repeats and sometimes skips numbers. It's intentional, but I'm not sure why.
Note on the anime: I have to say I was pretty disappointed in it. It was decent, but nowhere near as well-crafted as the manga. Most of the storyline was drawn from the manga, but the ending was artificial, and the art and production quality was very poor. So if you've seen the anime already and didn't like it, don't judge the manga by the anime! And if you liked the anime, I hope the manga will blow you away.
I've only just lightly touched on the content in 07 Ghost. So if you like what you've read, take a peek, and enjoy!read more
Great! It will get confusing at times, but just read over those pages again. Trust me, once you get it, this manga is worth it! The story sucks you right in, the art makes everyone look good ^_^, the characters are.... deep? That sounds right. The characters are deep, and I got so much enjoyment my eyes hurt. Read it now!
I've watched the anime, and I was hoping that they go for a second season, however, it didn't happen, so I ended up reading the manga AND!!... I wasn't disappointed... I love love love love it!!!
It tells the story of Teito Klein, his perseverance to find his true self, and his bravery to unlock his sealed memories.
The story has a lot of characters, and you get to love each one of them, even if they only took a small part in the manga. Each one of them played a significant role in Teito's past and present life.
The good thing about supporting characters is that, you get to remember their own story, you'll get to understand how and why they ended up that way.
Friendship and loyalty, are seen throughout the story, I nearly cried when Mikage died. He was reincarnated later on in a manner wherein he can still help Teito, and remain by his side.
Frau's and Teito's funny antics, are like a breath of fresh air in the story, you get to smirk every once in a while.
The ending of the manga, was a bit of a disappointment, it was delivered in a favorable manner, however, I just wish that Teito returned as Teito himself, and not a reincarnation, which, I know is impossible, because he did go to the Land of Seele, which is like entering death's door, but the great part there is, he got his mother and paternal uncle back after how many years.read more
3 years after its completion, I still find myself inexplicably mesmerized by the epic tale that is 07 Ghost.
It's a tale about the rise and fall of kingdoms - about power struggles and political squabbles. But while the military backdrop and history of the land are beautifully carved, 07 Ghost is not a warstory at all. Rather, at it's core, 07 Ghost is a story about accepting all that life has to offer. It's about having the heart to appreciate another's act of kindness. It's about having the strength to move on when bad things happen.
The battle mechanics in the story reinforce this. Characters use an energy called "zaiphon" - which conveys the feelings of the user. Although there are different types of zaiphon that are loosely related to the personalities of each character, at the fundamental level, everyone's zaiphon is of the same quality - it is the strength of the user's mentality that determines the zaiphon's strength.
The main character, Teito Klein, is crafted brilliantly. He starts off without the least bit of appeal, an amnesiac with childish tendencies, who mopes about his circumstances all day, but he noticeably grows through the relationships and connections he builds throughout the series, developing a strong appreciation for the world, his friends, and even his enemies, until he eventually becoming a charismatic leader you'll have difficulty taking your eyes off of. It's amazing to watch his journey come full circle through the series.
Yes, it's a cast of pretty boys. Yes, it's cliche as fudge. Yes, the action scenes are lackluster. But by the end of it, I hope you'll agree that 07 Ghost is so much more than that.read more