I've touched upon the vampire craze that was kicked off by the likes of Twilight while talking about Diabolik Lovers. Since people like to capitalize on a fad to make some easy cash, we received the mediocre Vampire Knight. Then because many teenage girls tend to have poor taste,that tripe took off in America. After that because again people do enjoy money,someone translated Wanted and let it loose upon the masses.
Wanted is a shojo manga that was written by Matsuri Hino in 2002,collected into a single volume in 2005 and then finally released overseas in 2008. She is better known for Vampire Knight which was used by Viz to ride on Twilight's coattails. Then Wanted rode on Vampire Knight's coattails to make a weird chain of poor writing. Though Wanted does bring up a few issues that I have with Vampire Knight,I'm going to leave it alone. Mostly due to the fact that I haven't read the whole series and it could have improved.
Wanted has some very weird issues with women in that it seems to hate our protagonist Armeria. We open up with her being smart and capable enough to infiltrate a band of pirates but once she does that competence goes out the window. She becomes a perennial screw up that has to be bailed out by Captain Skulls. She's also incredibly stupid in that she never seems to figure out that the man who looks like her lost lover is actually her lost lover. You think for someone who could trick pirates that she'd be pretty clever but no every plan she has is incredibility short sighted. I guess she need to level up her moe so that Skulls will decided to keep her around.
Skulls on the other hand has to constantly save her stupid behind and then act like he doesn't want to. So of course he gets to be competent and tough all the time befitting his back story of growing up amongst pirates and becoming their captain. While Armeria despite being an orphan who had to fend for her self from a young age is treated as weak and useless. It makes me question why they didn't just have her get captured and just go from there. I know that love can make you do stupid things but this is taking that concept too far.
Skull himself is a bit of a Marty Stu that can seem to pull off anything he wants with little to no effort. He's set up as this perfect guy who's only flaw is being a pirate but even then he's a noble pirate. He never seems to do anything nasty outside of being the kind of cold person I guess I should fall for because deep down he's really sweet. However his jibes towards Armeria come off as very demeaning and lack any affection they were meant to have. So in the end were left with a pretty jerk ,the sort litters the pages of many a poor Shojo and Josei manga.
A quick side note on style,despite how much I made fun of R.I.P I don't mind a Gothic sensibility and admittedly Vampire Knight did benefit from a more macabre art style. However this story is more nautically styled which makes this wonderfully drawn tattoo of the Grim Reaper on Skulls' chest seem out of place It's lovingly crafted on the authors note page,next to an ignored request to not over analyze this book. Why she felt the need to put it in this story of all places is a mystery. Yes it is his identifying mark but this is a pirate setting giving him a bedazzled eye patch or a scythe earring would make more sense.
The story is nothing really special,it's a shojo romance adventure but with pirates . The first chapter gets the character introductions out of the way,then we get a chapter where they confess their feelings because Skulls was being a jerk and didn't do it last chapter. Then it wraps up with generic pirating tomfoolery that is exciting as erosion. Mind you not every story has to be some groundbreaking tale that makes me question my very being but it helps if it's at least exciting. Hell,it's so uninteresting that it starts opening up plot holes in an attempt to give me more to harp on.
The band of Pirates themselves are the Robin hood style thieves and the first two chapters supports this. They steal from nobles,sets up a haven for the downtrodden and genuinely improve life for the less fortunate. Then once chapter three rolls around they go on a highly dangerous quest that will help the commoners if it's successful but it's more treated like a journey of pure self interest. Not once are the people they are so willing to help brought up. It's such a weird turn in events that doesn't mesh with what little we know of these characters. I again question why use this characterization if it is going to be thrown out the window on a whim.
There is a one shot at the end of the book that the Hino says inspired this tale of poor quality. Funnily enough,it's a much better written piece than the story it inspired. Mind you it's nothing special still,but at least the main girl isn't as insulting. She genuinely wants to defy her station in life and become a doctor in a setting that frowns upon those ambitions. Not for the affection of a man but because she loves knowledge. However she starts pursuing this man who clearly has no interest in her until she forces her company on him constantly. Then his hipster senses start tingling and realizes this girl isn't mainstream and starts loving her. How this translated into girl who shouldn't be useless and Marty Stu pirate captain is beyond me.
This is a boring story filled with characters ranging from generic to downright insulting. I can't tell if Hino can't write good female characters or she can and chooses not to keep her damsel complex going. You see the same issue in Vampire Knight with a female who shouldn't be useless having to be constantly saved by angsty men who can tell her they love her. It's an idiotic and demeaning view to put out even if it's for the sake of fulfilling a fantasy
Till Next Time: Stay Positive