Random Manga Theatre 98: Raqiya

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

This time: Raqiya, with art by Boichi and scenario by Masao Yajima

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What is Japan’s weird obsession with Christianity/Catholicism? You see it all over the place: Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Nasuverse, Rail-Dex, etc. In particular, the Catholic church in anime always seems to have some crazy secret task force that hunts demons or enforces the will of God or something, and that has secret bases all over the world. It’s ridiculous every single time it shows up, and it shows up a lot. Man, it’s almost like if Western media arbitrarily decided that all followers of, say, Islam want to enforce the will of Allah through deadly force. Wait…

Anyway, Raqiya follows a teenage girl named Luna, who is, uh, apparently the Anti-Christ or something. Or at least she gets spoken to by a giant naked female demon (??) named Abraxas and told that she’s going to destroy the world and change the destiny of God. So I mean, how else are you going to interpret that? To her credit, she wants nothing to do with the whole business, particularly the bit where twelve people close to her have to die as “sacrifices” so that Luna can gain her full power.

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Unfortunately, said Catholic task force also gets wind of this whole affair due in no small part to people always dying around Luna and all other manner of crazy religious signs just popping up wherever she is. They also declare her the Anti-Christ – who can blame them? – and set out to shoot her to death (with Italian guns, of course, because the Vatican). On the other hand, some other crazy religious sect of Gnosticism (which is some old offshoot of Christianity or something) has decided that Luna is actually the reincarnation of of God, and wants to protect her so she can fulfill her duty. Commence religious war in the modern day, with bullets flying everywhere and Luna beginning to manifest a bunch of weird cross-shaped magic powers. Because anime.

At the very least, the art (by Korean artist Boichi) is highly distinctive and quite good most of the time. That is, whenever we aren’t getting a highly inappropriate fanservice shot. Is it really necessary to see Luna’s panties when she’s being spoken to by a giant demon? Who, as mentioned, is also a naked women? It’s perhaps especially jarring considering the highly religious subject matter and otherwise dramatic situations.

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Verdict: Insert Dumb Bible Pun Here

For what it is, Raqiya is actually pretty decent. The problem is that it’s just kind of pretty dumb in general. Like, the first chapter (as seen above) involves a truck crashing in such a specific manner that it pierces the road upright to become a giant cross. How are you supposed to take that seriously? How are you supposed to take giant naked demons seriously? Raqiya tries to play everything as dramatically as possible, but it can’t shake that air of ridiculousness that pervades the entire premise.

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