Eiri Kurahashi is an art school student, with a job at a local antique store. It's there that he develops a strange obsession. He finds himself entranced by a portrait of a Victorian-era girl named Cossette. It's a portrait with a strange history--everyone who has owned it has been murdered in a bizarre fashion. But the story runs much deeper than that. Cossette was savagely murdered by her lover, who also happens to be the artist who painted the portrait. When the new owner of the portrait nearly kills himself, Eiri decides to get involved. And that's when Cossette begins speaking to him...
I'll keep this particular review brief only because of the my bizarre relationship with this work.
On the one hand the art is amazing. Fine line strokes combined with the heavy handed use of black ink and high contrast layouts. The art is only occasionally claustrophobic, an effect that is probably intentional due to the content of the story.
Speaking of which I was not fond of the plot. The premise of a haunting turned into deadly romance did not pique my interest in the least. It was a page turner only in the sense that I wanted to see the story conclude or the next beautifully
illustrated page. Fans of the Gothic, the violent and the overly dramatic will find much to enjoy here.
Overall I can appreciate the visuals (particularly the beautiful covers) but the story and plot development was lacking for me.
I have to say that this manga, even though created after the anime was done, actually has much more depth to it. The story starts out with the main character drawing a image of a girl he saw in a painting in the antic store and it feels much more realistic then him seeing the girl in a piece of glass. Not only that, but it’s a painting that was painted with her own blood after Marcello killed her. The painting actually has a background that whoever owned the painting died so it gives a bit more depth to it. It gives the realization
that Eiri wasn’t actually chosen out of thin air, although he is still mesmerized by the painting for no real reason.
The manga dives much deeper into these then the anime and Cossette actually seems to have a heart instead of a heartless bitch. She seems to feel sad for the things that her items have done rather then just want to torture Eiri with there pain. And sadly, even though they have a bit more depth to them, I can’t find myself to care about these characters because of the artwork.
Throughout the whole book, we have a sort of Narrator-ish chat going on without any real way of knowing whether its Eiri or Corssette talking. Sometimes it’s a mix of the two though can be just a little hard to figure out how who is. It dives much into psychology of obsession and love with almost a surreal feeling. And yet, it also goes into a rather depressing thought about what it really means to be alive, of course, the only answer this gives is that we live to one day die. That nothing we do means anything in this world because we will all end up the same.
The Artwork is actually really bland compared to the anime, and sometimes feels blotchy. Cossette is the only one that actually is well detailed where as everyone else is bland and uninteresting. The items and background look much more like scribbles a lot of times or are much to detailed for a black and white manga. It’s hard to see many things and so it makes it inconsistent. I half the time have problems figuring out what is supposed to stand out and what isn’t because things that should be in the back, are much more detailed and interesting then things in the front. For a manga where the main character is going to a art school, the manga has a lot of problems with the art.