It’s no coincidence that Shem, Hamu, and Japheth share the names of the biblical Noah’s sons. These three girls have the monumental task of traveling through time to collect pairs all of the endangered and extinct species and preserve them all on their mystical, whale-on-wheels ark. (Yes, you read that correctly, a whale on wheels …just go with it.) Having filled in for their father (he bugged out to a cooking class) at a conference of all the forces of the universe including planets, sprites, and elements, the three defend humanity’s good nature only to be challenged to prove humanity is worthy of a second chance. If they can collect enough species to prove humanity’s not bent on the Earth’s destruction, the human race won’t be marked for annihilation.

The three sisters do get distracted, most of the time by squabbling amongst themselves over who stole whose panties, why youngest sister Japheth must continue dressing as a boy, and how they are going to survive their daily lives as high school students in our own time. As is often the case in such supernatural manga, the planets and animals in this Korean manhwa are represented in fantastical human forms: the Earth is an astoundingly beautiful young man who dresses like he escaped from a 1970s Glam Rock show, and each animal saved is seen as a beautiful human dressed in elaborate costume. This trend leads to some excellent outfits (who knew a fruit bat could be so handsome), as well as amusing interactions between the trio of girls and their rescued animals. And just who is that hot guy from their school who keeps appearing when they’re out on missions? The crazy humor makes this series a great, light read, and the combination fairy tale and rock opera artwork makes the whole ride a beautiful trip through the creator’s imagination.

Ark Angels, vol. 1 
by Sang-Sun Park
ISBN: 1598162624
Tokyopop, 2005

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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