An order has been sent out to hunt down the existence of an Asklepios, a Greek demon god of medicine, whom the Church believes is practicing unorthodox methods. A member of armed force group assigned to this mission by the name of Luca encounters two kids who saved him from an injury he faced during a brawl. Who are these kids and can they help out Luca with his personal reason for doing this assignment?
Volume 3: Asklepios (pilot), Dispenser
Every once in a while I find myself surprised by a manga or anime, simply because of the sheer audacity of it's plot. This doesn't mean that the series is excellent though. It simply means that the mangaka or director had a particular vision in mind, and set out for that goal with all guns blazing. The sad part is that all too often such series are cancelled in favour of what is "popular", and never fully realise their potential.
Asklepios is one such series.
The manga was created by Uchimizu Toru, and ran for a short while in Weekly Shounen Jump until it was cancelled due to a lack of popularity. Given the quasi-historical setting though, it is understandable why many would not favour the series initially, however it's also unfortunate, as this manga had the potential to be great.
The story begins in a city somehwere in "Europe" (possibly Italy), and is set around the 15th or 16th Century. At this time the church controls most things, and the "Holy Knights" patrol the various towns and cities, as well as the countryside, always vigilant for "heretics".
A patrol of knights enter the city looking for first-class heretic known only as "Ripper Demon Asclepius", a being of terror for many people. Unbeknownst to the general populace though, is the fact that this heretic is not actually a demon of any sort, but a doctor - probably the best in the world. His name is Buzz Medill, the last survivor or the Medill Family, whose heritage of skilled doctoring and surgery dates back over a thousand years to Ancient Greece. He has inherited the title of Asklepios (named after the Greek god of medicine), from his father, who was captured an killed by the church. He is alone, scared, and running for his life, until one day he is tracked down by Rozari Teresfoss, the head of the Teresfoss family, and the hereditary assistants to the Meddill's since time imemorial.
The art style takes a little getting used to, especially with regards to the characters. Given the historical setting, the buildings, scenery and outfits are all reflective of the time, and there is a lot of detail in the various backgrounds. The action sequences are also well done, but pale in comparison to the surgeries, which are descriptive and very well drawn.
The downside though, is the design of the characters. As this is supposed to be a "serious" manga, one would expect the characters to be reflective of this. Unfortunately, many of the people have a distinct "cartoon" quality to their features, something which often detracts from the sombre tone of various scenes.
On the subject of characters, it's truly unfortunate that this series was cancelled as the characters had far greater potential than many other manga. Buzz is a decent lead, and his gradual alteration into "Asklepios" is well handled overall. Rozari is also good as his assistant, however I felt that more could have been done with her, Pare, and some of the other characters. I also would have liked more background on the various members of the church who are hunting Asklepios.
The problem with the characters though, is that the final few chapters feel very forced in terms of their development. Everything happens in a rush due to the cancellation of the series, so it feels like the mangaka tried to ties up as many loose ends as possible, but ran out of time. This is the main reason why many consider the characters to be decent on the whole, but with the potential to have been far, far better.
Asklepios is a series that may not appeal to everyone, especially dealing with medicine and religion as it does. I thoroughly enjoyed it, however I know about the time period involved, and of the issues that were rife regarding medicine (chief among these being the church's policy on invasive treatment - surgery and such).
I liked this manga as it took the bold step of showing a less than impressive chapter of human history. Whilst it may have certain "fantastic" elements to it, it's not only possible, but highly plausible that people such as Buzz Meddill were hunted down as heretics in real life.
Once again, a series with great potential gets cancelled. Such a shame.read more
This is a period medical manga. I have no idea how much of it is based in the real world or what is even possible. But despite that, it's fun to read.
the story was great, to say the least, I'm writing this disregarding the fact it was cancelled and everything was warped up as best he could. If you can disregard the ending, it's a great read and the only reason it's a 9 out of 10 is because it has no proper end, just a quick wrap up.
The art is something that is both familiar and new. It's kind of a hard thing to describe, it's a bit like one piece, where unless you read it the art looks stupid (especially the early chapters, before the art got really good). I'm giving it an 8 because there were so few chapters the art never really evolved at all to fit the story better, but the art is still great.
As for characters, I'm rating this an 8 because the manga was cancelled, the mangaka probably expected a run of at least 10 volumes, so he put no big hurry on the character evolutions, but you can see there is some.
I enjoyed this manga immensely, it's sad that it was cancelled but the ride was fun. Some manga drag ass after a while to pad chapters, but I'm glad this one didn't.
Over all, it's a 9, not for what it is but for what it could have been.
If you are looking for a manga to read, have fun with, and enjoy the trip and not the destination, than this is a great one for you. read more