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The Wings of Vendemiaire (ヴァンデミエールの翼 Vandemiēru no Tsubasa?) is the debut manga of Mohiro Kitoh. It was published by Kodansha and introduced the style and themes that would be Kitoh's trademarks such as graphic depictions of violence and abuse and the cruel nature of human beings while at the same time balancing the story against what would be considered fanciful elements and the possibility of hope.

Plot summary

The story is broken up into eight differing sub-stories all involving a series of living puppets known as Vendemiaire (which is also the name of each). These stories all have a similar formula involving a Vendemiaire puppet encountering a boy or man that tries to help them with varying levels of success, usually trying to attain freedom for them. Overall these stories are somber and explore different contrasting opinions of human nature and how people use the Vendemiaire like slaves or worse.

Characters

  • Vendemiaire #1: Blonde and intuitive, she is arguably the main character since she shows up many more times than any other. In her first appearance, she is an act in a traveling carnival and is eventually slashed in half by the Ringmaster. In her second appearance, she is found by Simon and sold to a trader to help pay for medical care for Thermidore.
  • Ray: A curious and energetic boy who first encountered Vendemiaire #1. He does not hesitate to save her when he sees she is in danger. The Ringmaster uses a whip to slice off his hand, which is later replaced with Vendemiare #1's.
  • The Ringmaster: Cruel and sadistic creator of the Vendemiaire puppet series. He is violent and exploitive towards them, and does not hesitate to kill anyone who interferes with his plans.
  • Vendemiaire #2: A Vendemiaire who acts as a replacement for #1. She is very obedient of her owners, yet is also a bit of a dreamer. After Will's plane crashes, she jumps from a tower and is presumably destroyed.
  • Will: A carefree young pilot (and once a tower jumper) who befriends Vendemiaire #2 and seeks to free her. He tries to bargain with the Ringmaster for her freedom, but during a tournament, his plane is crashed by the Ringmaster. He recovers and becomes a war pilot.
  • Simon: A young boy who tries hard to take care of his sick sister, Thermidor. He finds Vendemiaire #1.
  • Thermidor: A young girl who is very sick and wishes to meet an angel. She runs away after hearing about her brother's encounter with Vendemiaire #1, and eventually recovers from her illness.
  • Vendemiaire #3: A dark-haired Vendemiaire constructed out of wood and built for the purpose of being an acrobat. Unlike the others, she is very strong-willed and actively sought to free herself on her own. One of her feet is broken off by the Priest,
  • The Priest: A frightening, supernatural man with apparent ties to the Ringmaster's circus. He is the owner of Vendemiaire #3. He can create illusions and always carries around a book that apparently gives him his powers and life. When Milton burns the book, the Priest combusts.
  • Milton: A young noble living on his own who has abandoned his societal duties. He encounters Vendemiaire #3 while she is fleeing from the Priest and lets her stay with him. He longs to be reunited with Fructidor, his governess. He abhors violence but burns the Priest's book to protect Vendemiaire #3.
  • Vendemiaire #4: A puppet who looks like a little girl. Quiet and naive, she was recently adopted into a family and frequently copies the actions of her human sister, Brumaire. She does not know the rules of society or how to perform many common tasks. Tired of being deceived, she kills Brumaire and takes on her sister's identity from then on.
  • Brumaire: A selfish troublemaker who thinks she's Vendemiaire #4's sister, but does not know that her supposed newfound twin is a puppet. She finds it very annoying that her sister copies everything she does. She tricks her sister into killing trapped rabbits, but is eventually trapped and killed herself by Vendemiaire #4.
  • Vendemiaire #5: Her master owns an airship and she tries to pretend that she is happy being his slave, which has given her a firm personality. She assumes the name of Brumaire (Vendemiaire #4), whom she idolizes. She is the only puppet who can actually fly and uses this ability to save Avary from falling to his death. She gets broken in half when they land but she goes off to live with Avary.
  • Avary: A stowaway on Vendemiaire #5's master's airship, who says he only hid to see her wings. He takes the name of Will and tries to free her. He jumps off the airship and is saved by Vendemiaire #5, who then goes off to live with him.
  • Vendemiaire #6: A dark-haired Vendemiaire who is traveling through snowy land with an orphaned baby who she names Nivose. She takes refuge with 63 during a storm. She longed to be a mother but could not, so she had stolen Nivose from a human and cut a cesarean on her torso. When Nivose grows cold, she convinces 63 to burn her body to fuel a fire.
  • 63: A young man who lives in the cold lands. As a child, he was abandoned and grew up at a church. He ran away and started living alone as a carpenter. He encounters Vendemiaire #6 and Nivose during a snowstorm and lets them stay in his stone home.

External links

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