Genre = Manga, Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Fantasy
Author = Nagabe, Adrienne Beck
This Manga follows a little girl named Shiva who lives in the woods with a creature (I just can’t call he a beast) that looks after her. But where are here parents and why don’t they look after her? Why is the forest and the little town she lives in empty? Who is this creature that looks after her and why does he feel so connected to her? Also why won’t he let her go out alone? He says her grandmother is coming to fetch her soon but when?
My Pitch To You:
I know I shouldn’t do this but on a occasion I do when I bought this manga I did just buy it because of the cover because it is quite a striking cover that shows the contrast between the light and dark side of life. Plus I had heard good things about the story from a friend of mine so I thought it was time to delve back into a mysterious woods story which I believe are some of the best stories.
In terms of the plot of this manga it is quite a slow pace with a lot of tension building between the dialogue of the girl and the creature. This added to that thought I had in the back of my mind throughout reading it that something wasn’t quite right in this situation but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. This is quite a sinister story because you have this feeling that the relationship between the creature and the girl shouldn’t be a thing but then I felt like I was judging the relationship too quickly because he does take care of her. However, then I thought maybe this is a trick as the story is luring you into a false sense of security. This story really played on my mind because of that and I had in my head all the time stereotypical notion of the woods being this scary place.
The other reason that this story played on my mind so much was the two characters as they look by their drawings especially on the front of the book like polar opposites to each other. However, as you go deeper into their conversation which are some of the sweetest and hardest to hear conversations plus as the trust between them still isn’t quite there yet. The innocence of girl who just wants to explore the woods which I love that quality. Reading it takes me back to my exploring days as a kid. The girl is a wonderful character that you think is just this innocent and oblivious child but as go on you can see that she knows more than she is letting on and maybe to extent prefers this life to her previous one which I hope we see more in later volumes. The creature is fascinating and you know has this rich history with a myth surrounding him that by the end you think is not true and just made up by some scared humans but you are wondering where it started.
The illustrations in this manga are beautiful and show the depth of emotion that black and white sketching can show. The eeriness you can feel as your eyes wonder from panel to panel with the light shifting. The creature itself is a beautiful towering figure with a piercing eyes but the shape of his head has a softness to it that reminds me of the characters in Narnia. The soldiers have this Arthurian look to them which gives you a feeling of fear towards them although when they start talking you realise they are just kids. I think my favourite illustration would be towards the beginning which is of the girl and the creature holding hands walking off into the woods there is a feeling of danger and hope at the same time.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story it was a fascinating start to uncover a secret in the woods with a possible magical element to it. I found the creature the most intriguing character with a weight of the world on his back that you just want to sit down and make a cup of tea for him and listen to him unload it. It is story that will make question the situation so much because you don’t have all the facts and you don’t want to make assumptions but you are worried something isn’t quite right. I think if you are fan of manga and unnerving stories you will really enjoy this.
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