Feb 2, 2009
Beatnik (All reviews)
Colour is used sparsely in manga, and whenever we do get it, it’s pretty garish and lacking all the subtlety and complexity most usually seen in western graphic novels. Chapter one of this manga rivals the best of the west; and with the combination of a Venetian landscape and young female detective pulling a fast one on a random thief, the potential for a classic is laid immediately.

Then you get to the black and white chapter two and deflate with a forlorn exhalation. The colour returns now and then throughout the manga, but always disappears leaving you disappointed with what could have been. Forget Me Not has a genuinely intriguing and original setup, a real kooky deal that is let down by art that although has quirky character, is still overall a bit dull to get through. If it maintained the colour displayed in the first chapter it would be a real hidden gem of a manga.

Mariel Imari, the plucky young detective who has inherited her father's business and skill-set, is a laidback girl which is charming to read, and her fondness for disguises is cute. The humour is dry and witty, the hijinks and situations she finds herself in are all navigable via her independent attitude and reckless pace. There is a real atmosphere to the backdrop of Venice, the manga drips with mystery and discovery at every corner.

The story has ambition but is too self-contained; the author just doesn’t have the effort or ambition to widen his horizon, choosing instead to pack it all into just seven chapters. It’s a shame. There are some great ideas here, pulling in a variety of interesting characters, a rivalry with a thief who Mariel may or may not already know, the truth behind her father and inheritance, it’s all imaginative mature stuff that feels too short-lived.

Forget Me Not doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. We can only hope Kenji Tsuruta doesn’t forget it either and realises its true potential one day.