Story: Hyung Min Kim
Art: Kyung Il Yang
Distributor: VIZ Media
Number Volumes: ?
Price Point: $12.99/volume
Not sure what's up with this, but I have been grabbing a lot of Viz Signature Manga books recently. I have been reading Dogs: Bullets & Carnage and Dorohedoro. They all seem to carry the same theme - VIOLENCE & MAYHAM!
I saw this a month back, but they had to wrapped up due to "Parental Advisory - Explicit Content". WTF is all that about when you have anatomy books or photography books showing nudity.
I was intrigued by the book because of what it said on the back of the Manga:
"Among the quiet villages and towns of 18th century Europe, demons known as the Ill hide within the most beautiful works of art, sparked to life by the torment of their creators. Attracted by their jewel-like allure, the unwary find themselves possessed by the Ill and driven to horrific acts of violence. Only the hunters of the Ciste Vihad can dispel the Ill.
March is one such hunter, tracking the Ill from town to town to find the antiques that contain the demons before they can possess anyone. If the worst has come to pass, March's full powers are unleashed to battle the fiendish Ill. Born of tragedy, the artifacts all have their own tales to tell, as do each of their victims. But March's story may be the most tragic of all."
~~~ SPOILER ALERT ~~~
I did find a copy that was not all wrapped up and glad I did. I was not really sure with the French Horned Clown on the front cover, but once inside, it makes all the difference. Here is the first page that starts off the story as you can view on your right. Nothing says a good story than a girl with ripped clothing dripping in blood with a even as hell grin.
Our main character March is there to take care of the situation. She uses her thorns to "re-capture" the Ill objects so that no one else can come to harm. It is a twisted tale the further you read into the book. You actually learn about March, who she was, where she came from and why she is the person she is now. I have to say it is a really sad existence for such a lovely young lady. Who of course is actually hiding the fact she is a girl from the world.
One of the more interesting characters if Jake. She reminded me so much of the witches in many of the Hayao Miyazaki movies (Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away). She was also a Hunter and actually "saves" March and is kind of a nurse maid for her. She is now a Fortune Teller and provides March with info on possible new Ill's that have surfaced.
You are also introduced to the handsome Rodin who runs a shop. We still have to see more on him, but we do know he sells Ill objects to the rich for reasons we do not understand. Well, except the Fox one which I think is funny in the 3rd chapter.
First off the art is amazing. It is clean and crisp at times and then dark and scary the next. They really pulled out all the stops in illustrating this. What I find bizarre is the mixture of character designs throughout the series. Hell, take Jake for instance - large head, big bust and body for a female. Then you have Rodin who is elegant and drawn extremely detailed and normal. I really like how they took all the rich people and made them so crazy deformed to match their arrogant ways.
The story really does grab you and it flows extremely well. I was quite surprised to learn the history of March so soon in the series. I am sure however that it does help with the ground work in the future chapters. You not only see the horrors that March has endured, but you also see the poor victims of the Ill. Each one has such as much a sad story and you really feel bad for them. Hell, in the first chapter I was yelling at the girl not to pick up the ear ring. Talk about getting engrossed in the story.
Did I mention horror - for those of you that like blood shed and human trauma, get this. If you think I am wrong, then check out this panel of poor young March waking up after being taken by "Her Ladyship". Serious, how fucked up would you be as a kid to wake up to this shit.
They do have nudity in this and they do not shy away from it. It can be sexy or gory, but there is not denying there it is. Here are some fine examples from the first volume that I had to share with you.
With that said, I am adding this to my long list of Manga to buy. If you want a preview to see for yourself the awesomeness, check out mangareader. Remember, if you like the story, BUY the Manga. We need to keep food on their tables to keep the stories coming!
Reviewed copy I bought a Borders. Speaking of which, how about someone sending me a copy of a new Manga to review (l am talking to you fancy Publishers and Distributors).