Over eighty years ago, a great war raged over the natural resources of the planet. To assist in the battle, the bodies of fallen soldiers were recycled - with a stone heart made of a limitless power source, these ‘Undying' fought in the war, only to be hunted down after its end by the Church. Now, in the present, Kieli is an orphan who has had the ability to see ghosts, keeping her an outcast from her peers. However, when she and a ghost friend meet a strange boy named Harvey, Kieli discovers that she's not the only one who can see spirits. Curious and excited, Kieli now travels with both Harvey and Corporal, a spirit possessing a radio, on a quest to lay Corporal's soul to rest. Along the way she'll experience danger and touching moments, as well as inadvertently helping ghosts find their peace.
The story starts out 15 years after a war that depleted the planets resources and a war that created a creature called the Undying. After the war though, the church went on a mass scale killing spree of the undying, much in the same way the Vatican got read of the Knights Templar if you want to link it to our history. In that sense, it makes the manga a bit more believable even if it is talking about the supernatural. It’s interested that before we are even introduced to Kieli, we are given a back story on this world they live on which isn’t earth, it’s a different planet they live on that the church founded itself on. Then it jumps to 80 years, and then another 7 to the time in which the story really does start.I can see somewhat why Kieli is pretty much a outcast and I don’t think its just because she can see ghosts. She seems to also have a belief that is not the same as the teaching of the church that runs her home. A church with soldiers that will kill someone right in front of a mass amount of people, calling it a justified killing. Her grandmother seemed to try and protect her from them by telling her not to speak of seeing spirits and her beliefs but when her grandmother died, she was left in a care of a church boarding school.Becca, her ‘roommate,’ sadly doesn’t stay throughout the manga. She is only there during the first chapter and it’s a very heartwarming story with her when she leaves us. A young girl who died from a train accident and then became best friends with a girl who never had any other friends. I could really feel for her and for Kieli when she is leaves.Harvey on the other hand is a reanimated corpse, the Undying as they are fully called. He has to be very careful because of the church wanting to kill his kind so he seems a bit cold sometimes. Sometimes even, his hunted radio seems to have more tact then he does in the ways of people’s emotions. Even though, Harvey has a bit of a heart and does show some times where he is gentle to Kieli. Another surprising trait is that he is actually warm to the touch. Kieli actually talks about this at one point in the first book and yet, he is supposed to be pretty much a zombie.The last person I have to talk about is Corporal. Corporal has no other name then his rank but he knows so much from the time before the church had so much power including different types of music and how to understand a persons feelings. I consider him somewhat a big brother or adult to Harvey and Kieli because he does seem to take interest in the two and care for them slightly. Becca called him an evil spirit when she first met him but I only see him as a spirit just trying to find a place to go. He does have a wicked temper at times that he shows in the first chapter but I have my suspicions that it was more on the line of trying to protect Harvey, even if in the flight of rage, he ended up hurting him.The artwork is actually rather beautiful with large blotches of ink to show blood. The characters are rather detailed but don’t feel as though they stand out of their world. Even the ghosts look as though they are still alive most of the time except for Corporal when he is in his static form.In the end, this is a very heartwarming manga that will probably make you cry.
Manga in 200 Words: Kieli Premise: A young woman befriends an immortal being and a soldier’s ghost who has possessed a portable radio. Together, the group travels to the place where the soldier died, so that he might find peace. Mood: This is a strange manga: it’s got a post-apocalyptic vibe to it, because of the war that took place before our story began, elements of drama and romance, and some mild philosophic moments. Think of it as a story about something beautiful being born in a harsh world, and you’ll be close. Characters: I like them. They are simple and downplayed instead of exaggerated or strictly archetypal. It’s good to see more realistic personalities in unrealistic beings. (Harvey is my favorite; I love the hint of mystery!) The Undying: This is one of the strong points of the manga. People often start messing with power that they can’t handle because the short term rewards seem valuable enough. The drama here is quite nice. Overall: Kieli is really different from a lot of the shoujo manga that I’ve read (that’s a good thing). Darkness blends with light well in this short series, and I think it’s definitely worth a look.
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