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1001 Manga Review
Revolving around the fates of brothers Yuta and Naito, who are searching for the father who disappeared seven years ago, this story takes it’s modern day characters into the magical desert word of Ifutamu. In this other world the brothers play important roles as the reincarnations of tragic lovers and are claimed by the genies that once served them. While the violent and secretive Naito disappears with a genie named Alph Lyla after discovering his identity as the dark prince Saif, Yuta is left alone in the desert. Yuta has little time to morn the loss of his brother as the genie Rubaiyat appears to declare his love for him (or rather his past self Anilam). Yuta rejects this proposal and all further advances while pointing out that they are both boys and eventually orders Rubaiyat to go away, which he does according to genie law. Yuma is now free to search for his lost brother and puts his detective skills to good use as he uncovers more sinister plots.
Art and Style
This series art uses soft shades and clearly defined lines while the blurriness of the older DN Angel art style is cleared away. Special details given to the pupils of the characters to give them a unique flare and foreign feel that fits well with the magical world. Close ups of character facial features reveal the character’s often hidden and most personal emotions that give readers a special understanding. Dynamic viewpoints are used to create interesting scenes.
The series is interesting in that it balances tense and tragic moments with more intimate and comic times shared between characters. I personally love the determination of the main character Naito who continues doing what he believes in and does not give up his search for his missing brother, despite being in a completely different culture. The small glimpses into the dark past and Naito’s secret actions keep you interested in when the brothers may meet again and if Naito will accept the brother who searches so hard for him, but even if this reveal is far off the desire for danger and conflict is met by a supply of evil plots from royal citizens that Naito risks his life to uncover and prevent. Then when all the world seems right again we are kept entertained by the refreshing comedy act between Naito and the lovestruck Rubaiyat.
Though this story has little to no similarities to the famous Arabian Nights tale that it is named after, this manga combines aspects of detective work, gender bending, and love that crosses the boundaries of space and time that appear in the author’s most popular series.
Detective Work and Thievery
Naito of 1001 is a self made detective who has had exceptional ability to find lost things since he was younger, often being asked to return lost pets. He is a bit of an information thief as he sneaks around questioning suspects with his obstacles being human instead of the security systems of buildings.
Though Daisuke of DN Angel is given the roll of phantom thief, he is often involved in searching for the true story behind each piece of art he steals. This story also has it’s own host of detectives including Satoshi and Takeshi.
Main Character Gender Bending
In this series Naito is often mistaken as a girl. When they arrive in Dubai he is pulled aside to dress in a woman’s outfit, he is the reincarnation of the girl Anilam, and every guy he meets in the desert city also mistakes him for a woman (many of who confess their feelings for him).
While Daisuke is never mistaken for a girl he is forced to dress as a girl for a school play and is often being chased and protected the young detective classmate Satoshi. Sometimes Satoshi’s close investigation of Daisuke can be interpreted as romance such as when Satoshi asks Daisuke to follow to the freezer where they are locked together in the room.
Love that Crosses Boundaries
With gender bending aside, each series has characters of different species who fall in love. The series 1001 introduces a race of genies who are expected to function as friendly companions and servants more than a partner in a relationship. We see Rubiyat confess his love for Naito by mentioning the vow he made despite the hint that Naito’s past self may have had a relationship with the human Saif. A genie named Ruff has trouble getting the human Barche to notice him.
In DN angel it was works of artwork and people that fell in love with one another. It is often questioned if these relationships can be sustained. A mirror spirit named Rokuto attempts to escape his reflective realm of fake life by stealing his lover and switching places with Daisuke. Then there is the statue Argentine who wishes for a human heart because he believe as a work of art he is unable to share real emotion with the one he loves.
1001 is a great story of it’s own while it maintains many of the aspects readers love about the DN Angel series. I highly recommend giving it a try.