TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8 by Kenji Saitō and Akinari Nao
Strong characterization and a substantial storyline are nowhere to be found in TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8, but the art is downright gorgeous. While the characters aren't complex, they're entertaining enough that you'll laugh at their antics. Meanwhile, the plot is a bit nonsensical, but it manages to stay fun, and makes use of Akinari Nao's immense artistic talent.
60 %
Just fun

It wouldn’t be TRINITY SEVEN without another girl (or two) falling desperately in love with Arata. The eighth volume of the series launches after the big reveal that Lilith is a Magic King candidate, then raises the stakes even higher when a brand new Magic King, Abyss Trinity, enters the scene and claims Lilith as his daughter. Arata and crew retreat after clashing with Abyss King, leaving Lilith behind in the claws of the villain. Akio reveals that the only way to defeat this new foe is with the help of a Magic King weapon, conveniently located in the very ruins they are hiding in. With a little help from their captive, Lugh, Arata manages to take control of the Black Imperial Sword Judecca. In the process, he magically learns a whole new Thema through osmosis with a half naked Liese.

That one scene perfectly embodies all the glorious absurdity TRINITY SEVEN is best known for. A major conflict is resolved through gratuitous fanservice. It’s classic TRINITY SEVEN, and it only works out thanks to the talent of Akinari Nao.

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Nao’s art in TRINITY SEVEN is absolute eye candy. He does a phenomenal job of drawing attractive people and monsters. His grasp of anatomy blends perfectly with his stylistic sense of fashion. While story is occasionally compromised for the sake of art (see Lugh’s hard-to-believe losses to Arata), the resulting punishment scenes are hilarious and showcase Nao’s talent. Through thick or thin, I’ll keep reading TRINITY SEVEN just for the breathtaking art.

Seriously, the art is fantastic.

However, Nao’s art does have one glaring flaw, which is exacerbated by Saitō’s sometimes poor characterization. When TRINITY SEVEN first started, characters were recognizable both by their appearance and personality. Lilith was the dark haired and curvy tsundere. And Levi was the short, sneering ninja who could kick some serious ass. Fast forward to the present and it’s getting difficult to tell who’s who. The character designs have grown increasingly lazy, with the same light colored hair and minimalist faces found with every new character. I had a hard time remembering Liese, originally one of the main characters of the series, and what her powers are. Meanwhile, Akio has been reduced to “one of ten other female characters with long hair and a generic female face.” Frankly, I couldn’t remember a single thing about her character and was disappointed by how little personality she was given in this volume.

Along with lackluster characterization, the quality of plot and pacing in TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8 don’t quite measure up. For one thing, Saitō is having trouble keeping the power progression of the series consistent, making it hard to tell how strong any of the characters are at this point in the series. Liese and Selina pull a bunch of new abilities out of their arses, and Lugh loses fights purely for the sake of fanservice. But it’s Arata who suffers the most from this issue. When the volume begins, Abyss Trinity is clearly much stronger than Arata and all of his allies. A few chapters later, Arata effortlessly learns a whole new class of magic and whips the crap out of the strongest villain we’ve seen yet without breaking a sweat. The OP main character trope is wearing thin in Volume 8, and it’s about time that the creators started looking for new ways to keep TRINITY SEVEN interesting. Because of this inconsistency, TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8 fails to maintain a sense of tension or conflict, making the visually stunning fight scenes dull to read.

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The one time that Volume 8 does manage to pull off a little bit of short-lived suspense is at the beginning, when Lilith is revealed to be a Magic King candidate. However, the suspense quickly disappears as Arata saunters along his way, entirely unconcerned that his close friend has just been kidnapped. The revelation does have some interesting implications for the plot and Lilith’s role as one of the TRINITY SEVEN, though. It would be great to see this become a major plot element instead of turning into yet another unresolved and forgotten loose end. I’d like to believe it’ll turn out to be a cool development, but I’m a bit hesitant to do so because Saitō has a habit of forgetting about plot points and interesting character developments that he’s introduced.

Saitō seems to have forgotten about character development altogether in TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8. The defining character trait of every woman surrounding Arata is their enthusiasm for jumping half-naked into his arms with little to no prompting. While this is a refreshing change from the frustratingly conservative characters that populate most romance manga, it’s not an asset to this volume of TRINITY SEVEN. Liese, Akio, and Lugh are primarily characterized by their lust for Arata, making them mostly boring characters to follow. However, we do get some backstory for Akio as she falls head over heels for Arata (I bet nobody saw that coming!), which helps separate her from the rest of the harem.

Arata is, well, Arata. He’s the same cocky pervert he has been since the first volume, and that probably won’t ever change, which is a shame since he has so much room to grow as a character. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and is at the center of a complex network of relationships with the most powerful magicians in the world. And yet Volume 8 misses numerous opportunities to develop him, such as allowing him to grow in the face of an insurmountable adversary (the all-too-easy-to-defeat Abyss King) and showing how much he cares about Lilith when she’s kidnapped. The characters do still manage to be funny enough to enjoy reading this volume, but don’t expect any depth to them.

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A deep plot and complex characters are nowhere to be found in TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8. The art is as gorgeous as ever, though, and the fun fanservice is abundant as usual. While Arata isn’t the most wholesome of main characters, he is still a refreshing break from the sea of useless, spineless main protagonists that plague the manga world. TRINITY SEVEN Vol. 8 has a fun plot, even if it is insubstantial.

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