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Manga / Wings of Vendemiaire

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"God's creations need no wills of their own... they should listen to the voice of god."
The Priest

Wings of Vendemiaire (Vendemiaire No Tsubasa) is the debut manga by mangaka Mohiro Kitoh, who later went on to create the better known Shadow Star and Bokurano. It is a collection of short stories involving six mechanical puppets that were built to resemble young girls, known as Vendemiaires. It takes place in France both before and after World War I, and starts off when Ray, a young boy, meets Vendemiaire #1 for the first time.

The manga ran in the seinen magazine Monthly Afternoon from 1995 to 1997, and was compiled into two volumes.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Human: Vendemiaire #2's master. He has Pointy Ears, and seems to exert some sort of supernatural control over Vendemiaire and his other automatons. He also has a pet crow who apparently has magical powers of its own.
  • Children Are Innocent: Mostly played straight, unlike Kitoh's later works. Subverted with Brumaire.
  • Book Ends: The manga begins and ends with the same shot of a road going over the horizon. At the beginning young Ray is coming home with his motorcycle, and at the end Vendemiaire is leaving on a bike after she had sex with old Ray's dead body.
  • Cool Plane: In order to free Vendemiaire #2 from her cruel master, a stunt pilot enters an air race with his prototype airplane. It doesn't work, and he loses.
    • In the final chapter, a twin-fuselage jet bearing the names of Avary and Vendemiaire #5 is shown.
  • Creepy Crows: Vendemiaire #2's master has a pet crow. Like its owner, the crow is implied to have some supernatural powers, as it appears alive and well later on after getting hit by an airplane.
  • Diagonal Cut: The circus ringmaster breaks apart Vendemiaire #1 with a slash of his whip, and also cuts Ray's hand with it.
  • Distant Finale: The final chapter takes place the day after Ray’s death by old age.
  • Driven to Suicide: Vendemiaire #2 kills herself after Ray fails to free her from her master.
  • Empty Shell: Vendemiaire #4 smashes Brumaire in the head with a rock, rendering her a vegetable.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: For some reason, The Priest wears goggles.
  • Gonk: Some of the circus freaks, it goes without saying. One looks like a monkey.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Brumaire makes Vendemiaire #4 kill a rabbit caught in a trap with a stone. Later, when Brumaire gets caught in a trap, Vendemiaire smashes Brumaire's head with the stone.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Lots of Gratuitous French thrown about, since the manga takes place in France.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Brumaire tries to get Vendemiaire #4 into trouble by teaching her to kill a rabbit who has been trapped in order to end its suffering. Vendemiaire #4, having observed Brumaire in order to imitate her, notes that Brumaire is miserable from the good-girl expectations her father has laid upon her and her hatred for being trapped in the town they live in, and ends her suffering by smashing her head with a rock and rendering her a vegetable utterly dependent upon her father's care.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The Vendemiaires are shown to possess a will and can make their own decisions. They’re also allowed to commit suicide, oddly enough.
  • Robot Girl: All of the Vendemiaires appear feminine. Vendemiaire #1 even has the proper… “parts”.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Inverted; Milton dislikes violence and does not fight, unlike most other noblemen.
  • Sinister Minister: The Priest definitely counts, he can also be seen as a Badass Preacher, since he's pretty good at fighting.
  • Soul Jar: When Milton throws the Priest's bible into the fireplace, the priest catches fire and burns to death.
  • Steampunk: Has all the trappings— zeppelins, clockwork automatons, and huge steam-powered trucks.
  • Weapon Specialization: A whip is the circus ringmaster's favourite weapon, he is seen destroying one of his artificial humans and cutting Vendemiaire #1 in half with it.