Alabaster succeeds in telling an engaging story of how an innocent character falls from grace and becomes a truly evil person. It’s a quick and easy read and i’d recommend it to most fans of manga.
Tezuka has been credited as saying this is one of his works he’s the most ashamed of, citing a bout of depression as the impetus for this extremely dark story. This is a tale of evil, death, destruction, corruption of goodness, betrayal, hate and death. While I can understand where Tezuka is coming from looking back on ‘Alabaster’ i’m going to be far more kind to it. I think it’s
good, nearly great even, as long as you’re prepared to follow chaotic evil protagonists facing off against lawful evil antagonists with very little respite from hate, especially in the back half of the story.
Although I want to position myself as someone who enjoyed this manga, I do want to talk about some negatives. Alabaster has a bit of a tonal problem, frequently diverging from its serious subject matter to gag manga territory, only to bounce back on the next page. This whiplash was not conducive to the manga and I would have preferred most of these gag elements be excised, at least near the mid point. Also, the characters occasionally suffer from bouts of spontaneous character development that don’t feel built up enough. The characters are entertaining, but not very nuanced. Lastly, (no spoilers) the end of the manga, while perfectly fine, seemed as if it had a chance to be more profound than it ended up being. This isn’t a reason not to read this, just a notable flaw. I’d call it a 7/10 ending when it seemed like a 9/10 was coming.
If the premise sounds interesting, you should check it out, you’ll probably enjoy it, and if you like it, try Devilman by Go Nagai next.