Silent Moebius Manga
As far as I know this is probably Kia Asamiya's best work amongst the various titles that have been translated. It's also pretty cool, and good fun, but there are some structural problems that must be considered...and in my opinion detract from the absolute value of this series.
The story is set in the relatively near future in a version of Tokyo that has only grown larger and denser over the years. Technology has continued it's alarming pace, and the everyday technology is firmly in our vision of sci-fi. Of course there are social pressures, and divisions, but by and large the city continues to work...at least it would if it weren't for a little problem. It seems that a historical event led to the opening of a gateway between our world and some other world, on another plane of existence. Nothing is known about this world, leading to it being referred to as nemesis, but visitors have begun to arrive from this world.
And sadly these visitors are not cute aliens or benevolent spirits. Instead they well match our image of demons. The lesser forms enjoy nothing more than to snack down a couple of people. While the greater forms are intelligent, filled with their own twisted agenda's and contemptuous of humanity as a species. And sadly they have both the physical and magical power to carry out their desires, no matter what they are.
Indeed the last hope for mankind seems to be the "advanced mystification police" (yeah, I know, terrible English). This squad consists of members, who all happen to be cute females naturally, who have the power to resist the demons plans, and destroy them if necessary. Although, even for them, the demons (actually called lucifer hawks) are incredibly dangerous foes. And, at the heart of it, is one member who has both the greatest power and is central to the lucifer hawks plans for this world.
The first comment that must be made is that it is very derivative...although a more positive way to say the same thing is that it `incorporates' and draws `inspiration' from other sources. However in reality the synopsis would be much quicker if I could say that the background is pure blade-runner, it's a demon bash story, and the characters powers are very familiar. For example there's a cyborg (who gets a character piece which is almost pure blade-runner), a juvenile psychic, a `pure' priestess, a magic-user, a computer `hacker', and two other later characters who are no more original. There's this constant nagging thought that you've seen these characters, both in terms of powers and personality, before.
Still, who really cares. The archetypes are strong, and there's still lots of room to improvise. Unfortunately these characters also create a problem within the story. Specifically their powers are so varied that it is almost impossible for them to act as a team in most cases. For example the cyborg is almost purely `physical', the magic users have weird individual powers while the hacker and psychic have minimal physical powers. As such there's relatively few stories where they all get equal billing or have equal value. It's even as if the author has reason to regret having so many characters with such varied abilities. And since a lot of the stories are focused on the nature of a characters powers (such as a hacking story, a psychic story or a `religious' story) this concern is very obvious.
Then again, Kia Asamiya's writing is not without it's own problems. He's got a great feeling for atmosphere, and there's a richness to his world and characters, but it never seems to totally `congeal'. There's some weird narrative jumps, some weak conclusions and a certain fuzziness to story and dialogue which makes it somewhat unsatisfying. This is probably accentuated by the fact that you really do want to know more about the characters and the events we see. These weaknesses also become more obvious if you read the story multiple times (as I have).
And, while it might sound repetitive, the same is true of his art. It's good stuff, there's a nice touch for technology and atmosphere that truly does bring the `cyberpunk' world to life. The women look attractive, the demons other-worldly and dangerous (in an `intelligent' way) and the action is impressive and large scale. However there are also some jumps in the visual story-telling that breaks the flow of reading, some confusing scenes and occasional `gaps' in the style of the work. Still, when all is said and done, the artwork is generally quite impressive and perfectly suitable for the needs of the story. Note it might well be that some of the difficulty in reading comes either from the translation, the difficulty of `flopping' the artwork or even some errors in production for the western market.