Random Manga Theatre 12: Tista

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Tista, by Endou Tatsuya

The police and the FBI have been tracking a serial murderer in New York City for over ten years, with barely any clues to go by: long-range sniper shots made with custom caliber rounds, and always targeting the scummiest of the city’s scum. A skilled killer who can make impossible shots, the culprit is so thorough and precise she’s known as the “Grim Reaper of New York”. And so, when the scene immediately cuts to a quiet, but seemingly happy college student, anyone with a lick of narrative sense can tell that this girl is the one in question.

Tista Lone is a mild-mannered student by day, but when she goes to the confessional in the local cathedral, she is given her orders and becomes “Sister Militia”, master assassin and instrument of God’s will (as according to crazy priests, anyway). An orphan, she was raised by the church to kill those who need to be killed, and has been doing so for most of her life, aided by mystical eyes that allow her to see farther than any normal human. For her, things are business as usual until one of her classmates gets caught up in her latest assassination racket. She goes out of her way to save him, and from there her life just starts to completely fall apart.

While Tista starts fairly lighthearted (as lighthearted as a manga about a church assassin can get, anyway), it quickly goes into dark territory. How broken a person would you be if you were raised to be a killer, a person who truly believed that you had to keep killing to save your soul? The life of an assassin is a solitary one, and Tista’s one act of compassion is so at odds with the core of her person that it starts to destroy her.

The story wraps itself up quite quickly at only 9 chapters long, but not always for the better. Quite a bit of things happen without much explanation, leaving the reader to piece together what’s happening. It works at times, but at other points it just becomes plain hard to follow. The art gets special mention for its facial expressions, which can be both ridiculous and fascinatingly creepy at the same time.

Verdict: Good for a Sunday
Yes, I say this every week, but this manga is good for a quick diversion if you have nothing better to do. The action bits are action-y, the dramatic bits are appropriately heavy, and all-in-all Tista starts and ends fairly well. Give it a shot if you’re looking for something a bit on the darker side.

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