Failure to Communicate: Tetragrammaton Labyrinth

Itou Ei is an excellent character artist, and I’m sure that his illustrious portfolio of pornography is worth a look, but Tetragrammaton Labyrinth is a terrible manga. Nevermind that the plot and dialog are an incessant bombardment of poorly-delivered cliches; the action scenes are crippled by a poor sense of space and direction, and there’s no sense of ‘flow’ between images. Besides the character art, there’s really no reason to read this manga, but even that suffers from a failure in communication. This image from the fifth chapter perfectly expresses my point:

Here, Angela has just severed her arm in order to escape from a dimensional anomaly and is about to launch into battle with a Japanese priestess. Ordinarily, Ann wears a blank expression and fights with a sense of utter seriousnes. However, it’s difficult to judge what kind of character she really is—90% of the time, she acts and says things that give her a (cheesy) sense of ‘mystery,’ and she appears to take herself way too seriously. However, once in a while, she’ll randomly seem like a lighter or less serious character, and will wear facial expressions that seem different from her personality for no particular reason.

The above image creates the expectation that a more sadistic side of Ann has awakened from the heat of a worthy battle. This would’ve been a potentially interesting new aspect of her character, but in the next panel and for the rest of the battle, her face is as serious as it ever was before. This is the only image that implies any level of sadism on her part.

It seems to me that Itou Ei didn’t put much thought into his art for this series. In spite of the characters and story taking themselves deadly serious, it’s clear from his commentary in the omakes that Ei doesn’t take the series seriously at all. Things like the above image are drawn on a whim, and make it impossible to tell what the characters are really like. Everything about Tetragrammaton Labyrinth is haphazard like this.

(Tetragrammaton Labyrinth is licensed in my region by Seven Seas Entertainment.)

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