Trying to wrap up my thoughts of this manga is something of a trial. There are many an emotion that ran threw me as I read every page of this title, Shina Dark. Most of them were emotions of guilt, stemming from picking up this story based on the presumption of fan service (which was delivered post-haste). However, as the story went on and the author tried his/her(?) very best to turn the story into a serious account of human psychology, my emotions soon turned to self-loathing.
The last six chapters of this story were read in twenty minutes. Twenty minutes. Let me put this in perspective; the first fourteen chapters took me twenty days, adding in the combination of putting it off for other titles and my will to become immersed with the plot. It’s almost easy to admit that the back-half of Shina Dark was one of the easiest reads of my entire manga reading career up to this point (because I have oh so much experience to begin with). Early on, the story relies heavily on fan service and the presumption (based on the synopsis) that the series was going to be a harem fanatic’s dream. However, much to said fanatic’s despair and my own feeling of a combined disappointment and a sarcastic sense of disbelief, the plot tries to branch out into multiple different angles of story-telling.
While the synopsis is misleading, one thing that is guaranteed with a story like this is a stable female base. And by “stable,” I mean that they at least show up, whether or not they’re dressed is dependent on the place in the story. Among Shina Dark are about 3,464,653,452 characters. However, to save time and money and any effort, it only decides to focus on a core group of characters. There’s Satan, the whole reason for Shina Dark’s existence. Despite his name, he’s actually not a bad guy. That, by no means, however, makes him a likable or believable character, neither of which he is. There are also his henchmen, an assistant and a maid (who turns out to be moe-bait), who give little to the series. Notice how I don’t give them names. They have them, but I don’t think they deserve them. Then, there are the stars of this riveting escapade; Christina (derp) and Galett. Christina and Galett both have various issues, along with dark pasts. Shina Dark makes this very apparent by throwing in flashback scenes that are about as cringeworthy as the plot’s purpose. What happens when one not only doesn’t care about the characters in a story, but is force-fed their horrifying, empathetic life stories in the process? Feelings of irritation. The seeds of hatred.
One could say that if the author of Shina Dark had done one thing right with their story, it would be the appealing design of characters. One could also be wrong, but that’s debatable. Personally, I was all for the female anatomy in this story. It was nice, to say the most. However, what the story lacked was an actual foundation for its appealing female designs. There was a bountiful amount of fan service heading into the initial chapters of the series, and that was fine. However, as the story began to take a turn for the serious, so did its fan service. Another way of saying this would be that it disappeared almost entirely. If one were to make a baseless character, sprinkle them with glitter, and present it to the world, the world would fall to their knees. What would happen if the glitter were removed? The world would get up and spit on it. That’s how I feel with each of these glittery characters; they’re nothing but spittoons. Glittery, busty spittoons.
There’s something about Shina Dark that I enjoyed, or else I wouldn’t have rated it this high. Though, to pinpoint exactly what I enjoyed about it would require an hour’s worth of soul-searching. The fantasy aspect of the story is worth appreciating, as the author at least attempted to make the world a believable, yet dramatic place. Despite everything said about the spittoons for characters, they’re still glittery. Among anything else, I think my desire to work on the story myself has caused me to appreciate the workings of a consistent plotline, which is something Shina Dark desperately needs. While gratifying at first, due to its shaky, erotic direction, Shina Dark fails to meet the expectations placed upon itself later on as a fantasy epic and a self-diagnosed leader in human development.