Do you ever get annoyed by an anime/manga trope that isn't even a trope? A story so overly cliched yet so original that it leaves you perplexed. The more I read stuff like this, the more I realise how conservative this medium can be in regard to works being inspired by foreign literature and/or cinematography. Manhua's are fairly more wide-ranging, but they still end up in a same spot, dealing with a similar conundrum. It's only reasonable as they're obviously derivative of manga culture as a whole. With that being said, let's jump into it.
Enter Ayeshah, an ill-fated orphan who gets adopted by a bunch
of aristocrats, and as you would expect, they're all snobby and, in the purest sense of the word, downright sadistic idiots. The characters are dull and the protagonist could very well be a front runner in a stupidity contest. But the suffering doesn't stop there, no. See, during chapter 4, I got to experience a muster of shockingly bad plot twists. Plot twists they were, as I didn't see most of it coming. I'll give the author some undeserved credit here. After that it progressively spirals down into a bottomless pit of horrid narrative by repeating the same scenarios over and over. Her 'secret' had no substance, considering how hyped up it was all throughout. It was just way too predictable.
Overall, it's a theatrical neo-impressionistic psychodrama and a poor tearjerker that tried to salvage whatever it could with random poetry and religious metaphors in the latter half. Ayeshah's Secret may very well be a synonym for melodrama, due to how overt it is with it's approach. Art is incredibly inconsistent and can be quite confusing with how it diverges from seinen-esque gothic style to realistic imagery in a span of few panels. On a surface level: just digital eye candy. Internally: a monotone mush of various art styles trying way too hard to be symbolic. In addition, it does nothing in regard to differentiating between reality and fantasy/dreams.
I really tried to enjoy this, but I guess it was not to be. So, if I haven't at least slightly swayed you over, then I'd suggest reading first 5 chapter so you can decide for yourself. If you liked Akame ga Kill's (anime) thematic, then you're probably gonna like this as well. It's basically that, just way more condescending... and it has hot guys.
With eleven chapters, the story is paced just right for the unfolding of a twisted mystery. When completely indulged in the story, one can find an emotional ride to the drama in this Cinderellaesque tale. The synopsis alone is captivating.
The art is superb. To be honest, the first thing that hooked me to this manga was the art cover. We may not have seen the same art cover but the one I saw was the side view of man with a long dark hair who appears to be adjusting the glove on his right hand. I hoped to myself that it would maintain the incredible
art found on the cover and yes it did. Every page was pleasurable to read. It was drawn realistically, the interior and exterior designs, backgrounds, the human bodies, all the faces and their expressions are in the correct proportions. The art is so beautiful it makes the characters beautiful as well. Every page is literally darker, achieving a dark and gloomy mood fit for the story
The psychological tag drew me as well. The characters were done well and it's hard not to sympathize and/or empathize with them with their circumstances. Some may find the ending rushed but to me it was surprisingly satisfying. I can go as far as saying that it has a realistic approach to the ending. And with the added bonus chapter, which takes place before the main story, it definitely adds up to all the chaos the will eventually ensue and one can't help but reread the series all over again. It's a masterpiece and easily a favorite. This was a classic example of poetic justice delivered in manhua form. If you love retribution, I'm sure you'll love this manhua.
A dark fairy tale that was much more complex than the Cinderella story it took its inspiration from. The story was told elegantly with its own share of well made surprises. It made me feel like I was part of the realistically constructed universe. The characters felt human in that fairy tale fashion, with all characters having a purpose in the story. The art was realistically gorgeous with almost every panel looking like a painting. Overall, as an appreciator of death centric horrid tales of human's ugliness, Ayeshah's Secret was very enjoyable. Yet, it was also just that, a dark and complex fairy tale, which
did not leave much for the afterthought.