Angel Sanctuary by Lady Sage

Japanese Title: Tenshi Kinryouku
Also Known As: AS
Genre: Romance/Drama
Length: 20 Volumes
Allegiance: Hakusensha/Viz Communications
Mangaka: Kaori Yuki
Vintage: 1995-2001
Intelligence Agency Report by: Orax
Being blessed with great strength and quick recovery, Mudo Setsuna is far from what you might consider normal. The fact that he recognizes he has affections for his little sister is proof enough. Setsuna is fine with all this until some weird people start bringing up some story about Heaven and Hell and how he is an integral part of some greater fate. However, Setsuna wants no part of it until events force him to take action and to decide which is the lesser of two evils.
Research Agent Report by: Lady Sage
Overall 9.25
(not an average)
It’s really fortunate that anime fans tend not to be the most easily offended demographic group, because Angel Sanctuary, if presented to mainstream America, would be hugely controversial. With a plot that deals heavily in the most taboo subjects known to man, including but not restricted to incest, homosexuality, and drug abuse, and a universe that plays fast and loose with – sometimes even openly defying – the very basis of Christian beliefs, the series has a vast power to offend that extends beyond the simple graphic sex and ultraviolence stereotype that many associate with the medium. Combine that with an elaborate political drama, a much simpler underlying love story, and Kaori Yuki’s incredible art – and you have a winning series. 

Kaori’s artwork is actually so detailed that it adds more to the manga than simply providing a visual medium and good looks. Her artwork is extremely meticulous, but not so much so that it looks busy. Her dark vision of heaven is brought to life in nightmarish detail. The character art extends beyond the typical bishounen/bishoujo designs, imbuing the cast, mostly angels and demons, with the otherworldly beauty expected of celestial beings. 

Angel Sanctuary‘s plot is as intricate as the artwork, carefully juggling an enormous cast and large-scale political conspiracies. For the most part, it is remarkably well done. However, there are moments where it sags under its own weight, particularly as it nears the climax and all the elements of the elaborate plot start to come together. Still, come together it does, mixing seamlessly with the much simpler underlying tale of Setsuna and Sara. 

Angel Sanctuary has a lot to merit recommendation. Fans of political drama will want to check it out, as will fans of romance. Fans of breathtaking artwork (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) must definitely take a good look. I know that you will also want to check it out; just try not to get too put off by the twincest.