I’m starting to catch up on a lot of manga I should have been reading a long time ago, and one of those titles is Freezing, a manga which has been publishing since 2007, but aired recently in 2010-2011. You may have read my post on the anime, but in a new-ish segment I like to call Animu Versus Mango I’d like to “compare and contrast” some of the points between the anime and the manga, especially considering after I reached the last available page of the manga, I re-watched the anime just to make sure I wasn’t looking at it through nostalgia glasses. Not that it is really that old to be considered “nostalgia” at this point.
The most important thing to note is that the anime only covers the first six volumes of the manga, and does not cover the last couple chapters of volume six where Satella and Kazuya go to her family’s resort. My guess is if this series is green-lit a second season, the first six episodes will probably cover that arc in the manga, which is really the defining moment for the two characters. The anime does follow the manga pretty well, almost line-for-line in many cases. A few scenes were changed around, likely to elicit more action from the show. A prime example was the Nova attack on West Genetics. Elizabeth Mably played a little bit of a larger role outside of the building against the possessed Pandoras before moving inside with the others. The last Nova did not make it to the chamber by teleportation, rather it was defeated along with the other three, and the girl with the drill taken out by Chiffon Fairchild. This of course means the final episode scene where Satella almost goes full Nova, did not occur. Some minor changes were also made, notably Satella learning of having some of Kazuha’s stigmata implanted in her, something she doesn’t discover until later in the manga that they included in the anime, possibly to elicit a little drama in the last few episodes. Kazuya’s Freezing powers also were scoped a little differently, at least in my opinion. But for what it’s worth, they kept pretty close to the source, and that in itself is a good sign that if they green-light more of the anime, we’ll be able to see some of the best moments of the manga.
As for the manga itself, beyond the initial six chapters, it was such an excellent read that I’m willing to place this in my top tier of favorites. I know the premise is too much like Evangelion and Mai Otome, and there isn’t much else to really define it from what we’ve seen before, but it really comes down to the characters for me. The resort arc was probably one of the highest points of the series, as it expands upon the brief flashback in the first half between Louis and Satella. I found myself becoming visibly irritated at the guy and the shit he pulled then, and again in that arc, and was a bit disappointed that Kazuya didn’t beat the living shit out of him in a fit of pure rage. But Satella makes a major character advancement here, and it’s reflected through the later volumes, though they still won’t do the damn baptism.
Being a short arc, the next major part of the story is that of the E-Pandora Project in Alaska, pitting Genetics Pandora from all over the world against “normal” girls with stigmata mass-produced from Maria Lancelot in their bodies, with the hopes of being able to create Pandora from anyone, not just gifted girls. Unfortunately this project is being spearheaded by a woman who desires different methods to how Pandora made and are powered, differing from Kazuya’s grandfather who created the Pandora and believes in a much more realistic approach. This arc is still ongoing, so I won’t spoil a lot of the details for anyone who hasn’t read it, but suffice to say, this is the arc that really highlights some of the girls who didn’t get much time in the first half, anime or manga, namely Elizabeth Mably, and Chiffon Fairchild. Satella and Rana still get some punches in though, but take more of a support role in this story. You also meet more Pandora from other Genetics campuses, such as the UK, America, Germany, and France. This ends up making the series more like Infinite Stratos in many respects, but doesn’t change the premise much. Oh, and more Nova. Cause you can’t get enough of those.
Overall, Freezing is a franchise that doesn’t do anything new to the genre of action-romance-comedy and heavily borrows from older shows, especially in the fanservice department. But it’s dependably awesome, and the manga has been especially one of the high points for me. I am hoping like hell it gets another season, simply to get more DAT SATELLA.