Ark Angels

My opinion of the series

Ark Angels another is Tokyopop-translated comic. It’s less famous than most of their publications, and also unfortunately just as hard to find nowadays. I wish I could have covered it a little earlier, but I’m still going to cover it now as you might be able to find it secondhand or in a library somewhere.

From a small lake at the edge of town, three young girls have emerged - Shem, Hamu and Japheth, sisters from another world. Equipped with magical powers, they must save the Earth from extinction. However, there is something sinister trying to stop them. And on top of saving our world, these magical girls have to live like normal human girls - they go to school, hang around with friends and even fall in love!

Sang-Sun Park, the creator of The Tart Cafe, has crafted an unforgettable shojo fantasy adventure!

So, er, what is this? Well, it’s an eco-warrior sort of thing. The three main characters have been charged with looking for endangered species, and trying to save at least two of each, Noah’s Ark-style. But we’re not in for a lecture on the importance of being green or sustainable here; any eco-friendly message the story has is more-or-less lost in the craziness.

If you’ve never read anything from Korea then this series might come as a bit of a shock to you. Not only are a lot of the usual Korean cliches in place, but the author just assumes that the cliches are a given and uses them without explanation.

An example: despite the fact that they can travel through time and space, the three angels are living in modern-day Korea posing as school children for absolutely no discernible reason at all. Also, one is pretentind to be a boy, again for which no reason is given or apparent. This frequently happens in Korean Manhwa, so was probably done for some familiarity for people used to the style, but is a major WTF moment for everyone else.

These join several WTF moments; such the fact that any animal being rescued appears as an anthropomorphic human and can talk to the angels, and that two of the recurring villains appear to be fruits - no, I don’t mean gay, I mean literally they are fruit.

But if none of the above has actually managed to put you off, and you don’t mind something so whacky, then Ark Angels is actually quite good. It’s a bit difficult to explain why, when the writing and the direction is all over the place, but I think it’s because the writing and the direction are deliberately all over the place.

The only real down-point is that, while the series has a very leisurely pace throughout most of its run, as much of the plot as possible is hurriedly wrapped up in the very last chapter, just before the series ends. I can understand that sometimes series do get cancelled with very little notice; but I think it’s a shame as I was quite enjoying this until then. I would have liked to have seen the intended ending at the author’s intended pace.