"It is a story full of sadness. From now let's recite a slow and beautiful story from long ago."
Shiva, a young girl who loves to stroll about in the countryside, lives in a vacant village with her guardian, a wendigo-like gentleman. He forbids her from going outside, so she won't be cursed, but Shiva's curiosity makes her yearn for the outside world. What is this curse about?
This is such a find! A sad and beautiful story about a little human girl and a monster, who takes care of her, living together in a forest, because… Don’t want to spoil anything, don’t know enough yet, but I urge you to check this out, at least for the art, if nothing else - it's lovely and it's unique. Also there’re plenty of things to talk about besides retelling the plot.
The second name of this manga is Siúil A Rún (Go, my love), the name of an Irish song, also sad and beautiful, about a lover, who left for war, and about the wish
for safety. I’ve already mentioned “sad” twice, editorial remarks on the first pages of this manga say the same, and it’s not an overstatement – there is this calm, all-engulfing feeling of fragility and impermanence in the everyday (initially everyday) actions of the heroes, that we witness. It may be ok, but it’s a small light in the night, will it last? You know it won’t, the time runs out as you mark it. As seasons change, things will end, the flowers of today will wither.
It’s not that I can say much besides metaphors about the plot anyway. There’re only 4 chapters, and a lot of time has passed since the last. So why write a review? I know that the more advanced members of Mal scoff upon such things, but I do want more people to know about this manga, the available chapters are substantial (>30 pages each), and I was so impressed, that even if this manga flops or disappears immediately, I’ll have good memories left (so I kind of just wish to share a good thing). Also it’s worth to mention that this work seems to follow the delayed exposition pattern: we start with a closed-off point of view, focused on the immediate small events of the life of the main heroes, and there is effort to make the little girl’s days normal, so it will take time to learn the secrets of their world. It looks though that there will be violence, there’re topics of death and fear of otherness already present, and there is a scary curse.
Delayed exposition stories have failed me before, this I confess, and I have a small fear that this may go the “evil humans, misunderstood monsters” route or ends prematurely (I’ll update the review then), but so far the premise seems to be well thought-out and powerful, there’re hints on an important flashback, and a new character is lurking around.
The biggest problem for this manga is that it outwardly overlaps with popular Mahou Tsukai no Yome: this is another Mag Garden publication, that is female-oriented shounen and has a tall horned male monster taking care of a human girl. But internally Totsukuni no Shoujo is very different, I say it as a person, who doesn’t like Mahou Tsukai no Yome for the strange relationships it offers, and absolutely loves this. For starters, there’s no romance or even a possibility for it between the main characters in Totsukuni no Shoujo - the age difference is too big, so it has a parent-child dynamic (or, more specifically caretaker-child, a bit colder), secondly, it's much more scary, and, lastly, the plot looks like something more focused. So, in short, only characters look the same, and maybe the curse aspect, that can be seen as magic.
Talking about characters: we have a sweet good little girl, an ideal child, no surprises here, and a big wendigo-like monster, who is surprisingly inhuman, not only in appearance – for example, he doesn’t eat. The biggest mystery lies within him, but it seems that he also has experience, but not knowledge, so it will be a journey of discovery for both. I think that both mains are likeable, and there is not too much doting, which is good.
The art is amazing. Since there’s no other manga by this author translated, I checked the author’s profiles on mangaupdates and pixiv. It looks like she likes to draw anthropomorphic animals (mainly male figures with animal heads) and monsters. This is what makes me worry about the plot, and I also am not yet sure if people well be drawn well, on the other hand it gives hope for good monster designs.
Most of her work on pixiv is very good smooth digital art. And the art in this manga is stylized, but it also has this painting or illustration feeling, that sets it apart. It’s soft, but it isn’t made of long flowing strokes, but instead is sculpted with small strokes, reminiscent of line art. There were a couple of hard to read panels, but mostly it’s readable and pretty. The forest is especially well done.
All in all, I have high expectations for this manga. High worries too – it needs to become more tense and epic later, and female-oriented works tend to underachieve in this regard. I am also unfamiliar with other mangaka’s works, so it is hard to say how she handles stories. On the other hand, even the few available chapters are a treat, so I will be content I've found it in any case. And if the rest is good, this will be a contender for 9/10.
A new manga published in Mac-Garden very similar to Mahoutsukai no yome( Ancient Mangus Bride) . If u like Mahoutsukai no yome you gonna like this.
Its kinda hard to explain what is going on since its just the start of this, but in simple words: Its about a little girl that wants to know about the "outside-world" but the black goat head man that companies her will not allow her to go "outside-world" cause she will get "cursed".
Its a slow-pace story with a little mystery and very little magic with unique art.
But don't take my word for it just take a
look and let me know what you think.