The St. Mikhailov Academy student Oribe Mafuyu comes across a mysterious silver haired boy. He is called a Qwaser, a being that draws power from Soma and is able to manipulate a specific element. And now, in the 21st century, the mystery revolving around an Icon turns the academy into the battlegrounds for the fight between the Qwaser!
Seikon no Qwaser had two volumes published in English as The Qwaser of Stigmata by Tokyopop from August 10, 2010 to March 1, 2011 before the publisher went defunct. It has been published in Italian by J-POP since October 12, 2007.
An unique idea isn't necessarily a well thought-out idea.
That seems to be an accurate description of the modern Anime/Manga Franchises. While each series may be unique in some instances, and perhaps more and more deviant and attempts to be unique. For example, a main character that turns into a dog in one of the more recent shows that's airing, or some of the more infamous titles, such as Sword Art Online.
But enough of that, let's get a good look at what Seikon no Qwaser is about.
Set in a Japanese Eastern Orthodox High School, Seikon no Qwaser takes an unique concept of using female lactation as
a source of power. While this idea is pretty much unique to the series itself(unless some 18+ Series happen to use this plot device as well), that uniqueness pretty much ends there.
Seikon no Qwaser while having it's chance to turn itself to an interesting series, practically squanders every chance that it has gotten.
In essence, the plot is pretty much irrelevant. What matter is fanservice to boobs and guro fetishists. If it isn't clear enough by this point, the usage of boobs is nothing more to serve you with young and pretty girls.
While the boobs + hot girls + Fights formula is pretty much time-tested and is a sure success to some degrees in the Anime/Manga industry, it certainly is also a sure ticket to mediocrity when misused. The story starts off in a promising fashion, but is quickly deterioated by the dropping of multiple points that was previously relevant.
The coherency of the story is very low. Why a Qwaser would be located in a Japanese High School is poorly explained and seems like it's only there to induce melodrama. Why most of the Qwasers would be high school kids, or the fact the protagonist is 13 years old, is just there made for you to swallow down.
Now, having the "Kids save the world" theme is certainly nothing new, and is rather a cliche. The religion as a basis for magic is also nothing new, and is rather cool. But no explanation that's rational is ever give to explain it, while the author pretentiously gives scientific explanation on the properties of the matters, even if he seems to be unknowledgeable about girls not having breast milk until impregnated.(Their powers is to control an element, in case you did not read the synopsis)
If you are looking for a coherent plot, prepare to be confused! Characters literally jump out of nowhere in between transitions. For one chapter, a girl who's "genki" would start talking in the middle of nowhere, and another girl who's shown in a few pages back would jump out of no where and challenge that girl for no apparent reason! Everything in this series, the placements and coincidences all seem to be arranged for one thing: More boobs!
And that leads me to the next point, the characters. While not expected to have any excellent characters, the series is shockingly bad at portraying real people. The main character is the stereotypical ice-hearted revenge boy, another character is the airhead with big boobs, another is a protective main heroine, and a manipulative loli who dominates people, along with various psychotic individuals from the antagonistic side. But other than the main protagonist, not many characters made me care about them. From time to time, a "sad past" is used, but then the character is pretty much used up and then thrown away. Numerous characters accept the Dominatrix Loli's seduction(Keep in mind this girl is 11 years old), and other tactics, almost immediately accept themselves as her "Slave", and begins to call her "-sama". Realistic! And not only that, the main characters, such as one of the slave girls of the loli, are mostly normal humans before the events of the story. Yet the characters accept the supernatural occurances, such as the Qwasers manuiplation of elements with relative ease. And the slave girl even left her home for who knows how long, but none of her family members is shown to care...
The dialogue is also nothing special. The characters general have a catchphrase that is thrown out in a cheesy fashion, such as the main character "tremble in fear!" Every time he defeats a villain, or is about to. The characters engage in discussion in a stereotypical fashion, and most of the word bubbles are either babble, or filled with moans, or an idea of a moan, anyhow. The exchanges in general doesn't seem to be well thougt-out
And Finally, the art. The characters, except maybe sasha, are all drawn with average drawing skills. the background is mostly blank, and next to all the Russian characters are drawn with Blonde hair, typical of Japanese perception of Western people. The breast is the most well-drawn part of any of the characters, you might like the art style' simplisticness, though. Most of the characters' faces look similar, but the distinction is mostly in the eyes. Lots kf cliched expressions such as a character talking with one eye shut for no apparent reason. But again, that might be what you like.
Some of the designs, though, are relatively cool, even if they made no sense.
In conclusion, Seikon no Qwaser has an interesting idea, but fails to comprehensively deliver it's characters, story, or just events in general as something cohesive. You may like it, but this one if given thought, will fail you.
The breasts are rather well-drawn, and the amount of guro in the series is rather high when certain characters are introduced.
Try not to look for comedy or a coherent plot when watching this, if you still decide to do so.
STORY: Seikon no Qwaser has a great story except for all the ecchi parts. I mean, everytime they do the breastfeeding thing, I get shruggs... I actually learned about science and russian history with this manga.
ART: I really liked the art although it may have been a bit over the top with the boobs. Their weapons also had great designs.
CHARACTER: The characters were nice but they didn't have that deep personlity where you get dragged with what thy have to tell.
ENJOYMENT: Yes, it was enjoying but I don't really like it when it comes to all the naked scenes. It's like you get into the
drive of the story and then comes a scene where you have to turn to the page really fast unless you wanna see a naked body.
OVERALL: I recommend it for those who really like ecchi. Other than the ecchi factor, this manga has battles that gives scientific details. If you can stand all the ecchiness, then reading this won't be a problem because it has a great plot even if part of it is the breastfeeding ritual.
P. S. You can learn about Science and Russian history with this manga.
Gripping manga. The story starts off well and gets better and better. Using Russian Orthodox Chistianity and history as the background lots of action is dished out. Each warrior can control an element from the periodic table. They can even form alloys. The story is set in a modern school with more girls than boys. There are ecchi strands and a spiritual milk plot. But its not fanservice. Its well woven into the story. The ecchi panels are not flashy and doesnt try to visually gratify. The anime made a hash of it.
Mafuyu Oribe and Tomo Yamanaobe attend a private religious school called St. Mikhailov Academy, a parochial school of the Eastern Orthodox branch. Mafuyu is the adopted daughter of Tomo's father, the previous dean, who's been missing. The two find a Russian boy with white hair and blues eyes named Aleksandr. Quickly they become discover and become embroiled in the battles had between Qwasers--people blessed with the ability to control elements of hte periodic table; Aleksandr is thus established as the Iron Qwaser. A Qwaser's powers require the replenishment of energy through Soma, a magical substance drawn from the breasts of a woman
(basically soul breast milk and no, it doesn't matter if the woman has had kids or not). The women who act as the support-combat-partners of Qwasers are referred to as "Marias" in reference to the fact that a Qwaser feeding from a Maria is similar to that of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus.
What quickly unfolds is that Aleksandr (aka "Sasha") is at St. Mikhailov's on a mission to root out "heretics", or people who would use a certain religious icon for their own benefit, and from there is becomes confusing. There is a special group that Sasha works for called Athos who are full of Qwasers and want to protect the icon, and then there is group of Qwasers called the Adepts who want to use the icon for their own gains, and from the Adepts is a sub-org. called Paracelsus, and these bits of information are often given to the reader in a page or two and aren't very fleshed out. Unsurprisingly, this makes the story hella confusing after a few chapters due to the insistence on secrecy that Sasha, his Maria Teresa, and the priest are keen on keeping, much to the frustration of both the reader and Mafuyu.
Other characters roll in: The 11-13 year old Gothic Lolita named Ekaterina who is not only a master sadist but who's heavily hinted at being one of the daughters of the royal Romanov Family thought to have been killed during the Russian Revolution. Hana, her masochist Maria. Several different depraved and creepy as hell Qwasers that showcase their own tendencies towards torture, BDSM, and desire for world domination. And then it turns out that Tomo is special for some reason. Her breasts are like triple platinum in the soma department. And then there's the fact that Sasha wants to defeat the Gold Qwaser who killed his beloved Olya and tortured and experimented on him to turn him into an Iron Qwaser.
And then there's the matter of protecting Tomo all the time since she's got a target because people suddenly want her. And then people want Mafuyu.
Do you see how I'm telling you what happens? Because these story threads pop up just as quickly and either trail off into the unforseen future or are forgotten to build something else up. There are so many elements in this story that honestly could have possibly worked if there wasn't so much of it. A manga about something to do with the Eastern Orthodox Church would have been a decent read; an ecchi manga about people with the ability to manipulate the elements and the vendetta that Sasha has against the one who turned him into the being he is now would have sufficed.
The reason for the Eastern Orthodox theme is to likely justify the origins of the male lead and the act of breastfeeding as the central kink. That can't be denied. At the same time though, those two puzzle pieces only join together at one spot and leave all these other prongs and holes to be haphazardly built up around this very unlikely combination. In the end it makes the story seem a bit gimmicky, and in the case of the shadowy organizations apparently at work throughout the story, very confusing upon first read.
When other Qwasers and Marias start showing up, they're established well enough with their powers, but sometimes their motivations seem to be simply "antagonist", though really a lot of famous villains could be boiled down to that term now that I think about it.There are so many threats that obscurely operate from the shadows that naming even one could be a spoiler due to them being situated way along in the series. They're a name and a vague figure, not a character until much later on, which means you're given an outline of something that will not really show up until much later, so why give that to me now when there are four other things going on right now in *this* chapter? Again, the balancing of various story elements are not pulled off as effectively as this manga's set-up would naturally call for.
I think I have to bless this manga regardless because despite being an ecchi series, there is pretty much never the deadhorse trope of "Guy walking in on naked girl on accident. Girl screams and beats him up". With the story being the way it is, girls are often naked or topless and despite that being the case, the male characters rarely if ever express sexual desire for the females. Being Qwasers, their interest primarily lies in the quality and amount of soma to be derived from a potential Maria. In a way it's very practical. Of course the act of drinking soma can become a very personal thing between Qwaser and Maria due to the fact that the Maria is basically having her actual life essence sucked out of her. In this regard the story does manage to convey the dichotomy between the "lawful" taking of soma (with the woman's consent and blessing) and the "unlawful" (basically milked or sucked dry against their will). I mean, I'm into this kind of kink that the creators are trying to establish, so if I'm reading too much into it, it's likely because *I actually dig this story a bit*.
Aleksandr "Sasha" Hel is very much a try-hard shonen protagonist. The attempts by the creators to push his signature lines "Tremble with fear" don't hit home for me, quite honestly. He's also a tsundere and his blunt disregard for people who can't help themselves is very one-dimensional and of COURSE he pulls the whole "anyone who gets involved with me will get hurt/die". Not very subtle use of tropes there... While he eventually grows to care for people like Mafuyu and Tomo, the initial presentation could have been done with more subtlety even when his past was established half-decently. Although he does "melt" a bit very quick once he befriends Sasha and Mafuyu, bickering with the latter as if they were an old married couple which only adds to his dimensions as a character.
Teresa is Sasha's Maria and a semi-kuudere. She doesn't speak much but she takes her duties to Sasha very seriously. The relationship between the two sometimes dips into the personable, but on the outside they are very professional. Being a Sister, she and Sasha are the two that most emphatically represent the religious-battle duo set-up that this series revolves around. There's not much to say here about her. She exists, she's kind of cute, she's quiet, she's Sasha's personal Soma machine.
Mafuyu is very much like the reader in that she doesn't know initially what's going on, but it is pretty likely that unlike how many of us would act in her situation, she doesn't throw her hands up and run away screaming. Her desire to protect Tomo is noble and out of love and devotion to the new home she was given by her adoptive father. Personally, the "Female Knight" trope is one of my favorites to see because of its emphasis on same-sex love and devotion that can be played romantic or familial/platonic. While at first unsure how the whole Qwaser and Maria thing works, Mafuyu is very much a character that tries to make sense of it all and takes it in stride as best as she can. Since this is an ecchi series, she thankfully isn't a tsundere like "Sasha"...Above all, she's brave, has a strong sense of justice, and will throw herself into the fray to protect others. Not too shabby.
Tomo's most defining qualities are her breasts and her gentle demeanor. There isn't much going on with her other than that, overall, but her ditsiness isn't unbearable to me, oddly enough. She's just cute and very motherly. Kind of like a big-chested Bubbles from PPG. Sasha comes to dote on her as much as Mafuyu does, in his own way, due to her resemblence to a woman who protected him when he was young. The relationship is kind of sweet in that regard, especially considering that otherwise Sasha is pretty icy towards everyone else.
Ekaterina is a whole mess of things. She's an 11-year-old Russian Gothic Lolita who switches between being the embodiment of moe and turning into an S/Dom that prefers to be referred to as "Queen" or "Empress". As the Qwaser of Copper, her main method of attack is to manipulate a puppet she calls "Mama"; it is clear that she still retains a child-like desire for family, being an orphan like Sasha. To draw more parallels to Sasha, she also had a brutal past that involved being taken advantage of by unsavory characters, compelling her to develop a closed-off, misanthropic attitude to others. She is arguably the one that provides the most fan service for the series as her primary hobby involves sexually torturing Mafuyu and Tomo's fellow classmate Hana, her reluctant lolicon M/Sub who becomes an even more reluctant player in the story as time goes on.
Other Qwasers and Marias make their entrance, some that go on to be bigger players in the long run, but the ones I've outlined are arguably the main characters.
The art isn't exactly generic, but I've seen similar shonen styles in other series. There is an emphasis on showcasing the ecchi and dynamic entries of characters. During lulls in action the story is well-contained within typical panels, but when hell breaks loose the characters and the action break free as they begin to overshadow and overlap panels. It's a fairly decent effect, though it does lead to the page looking a bit busy. There is also the tendency to put script and monologue declarations outside of speech bubbles and atop the art itself, which is fine when done sparingly but in my opinion only adds to the clutter of the page when added to the already numerous sound effects and speech bubbles that pervade. Oftentimes I find myself disappointed that I didn't get a "clear picture" of what could have possibly been a great splashpage because of this. It's shonen so unless you're super invested in the series, magnificent entrances and power-ups won't 'wow' you all the time, so on the rare occasions that they do, they were ruined for me by the aforementioned elements.
And of course, how could I forget. The artist knows how to draw breasts and the female figure. That can't be denied. There's some respect given to them in how (dare I say it) cutely they're drawn. They're still breasts and drawn as breasts, but they're not drawn with the XXX-nipples you find in hentai but instead shaded softly and why am I getting this invested in nipples..let's move on.
As for the color art, I have to say that it's a bit inconsistent. Whatever markers the man's using, he may need to add some lighter shades because the cover arts have a grungy feel to them. It'd be one thing if this were a dark, gritty series, but it's not. Maybe it's because I'm used to the colors provided by the anime, and maybe the artist wanted to use realistic pigments, but the shading is very basic for the hair of Elizabeth and Ekaterina, for example, and with unflatteringly "bronze blond" colors. The usage of color kind of reminds me of late 80s, early 90s style of application, where white was used extensively as the highlight instead of a lighter shade of one you were using to color fabric. This coupled with sparsely detailed white background only further highlights the dark, muted colors used for pigments. It's a personal preference of mine, at the end of the day, I guess...
Seikon no Qwaser is one of those borderline-H mangas that manage to surprise you with a somewhat interesting premise. Unfortunately, its ability to balance the ecchi and the plot fall short in several places. It contains some semblance of creativity with the usage of periodic elements as special powers, but the inclusion of the Eastern Orthodox Church as a basis doesn't fit 100%, as the Christian imagery often becomes another element that is muddled up along with the combat and several story threads that are added and disappear at whim, most of which aren't explained very well in the first place. You're just expected to pick up on them. Unfortunately, try as I might there has not been much effort by the few fans of this weird manga to come together and create a semi-coherent wiki. It exists but it isn't that extensive, so good luck on making sense of some things...