This Manga is a short story collection by Nagabe; known for the manga series “The girl from the other side”. What drew me to Nagabe’s work was his distinctive art style. Reminiscent of the illustrations you would see in old European fairytale books.
I found his character designs to be simple yet elegant, while his drawings of animals and objects are beautiful with lots of detail.
Each story was intriguing and had me wanting to know more. However, I couldn’t help but feel certain stories were incomplete because of this and perhaps not fleshed out enough. Either more context would be nice or panels could have used more detail; all of this could have also been intentional.
Every story centered on the relationships between a human and either an animal or a beast. It instantly reminded me of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. Some of these stories of love are unexpected, innocent, wrong, and or creepy.
One in particular made me uncomfortable, as it was essentially child grooming.
But maybe it wasn’t. The questions that these stories might invoke could be ones such as:
What is a healthy relationship? What is love? What makes certain relationships ok and others not?
For me, I get a sense that the theme or symbolism of these stories is about the imperfections and flaws within romantic and platonic relationships. Characters seem to hide behind a mask or shoulder a burden that could threaten the relationship at any moment.
And steps have to be taken to not upset that balance. Perhaps, like someone would act in an abusive relationship, doing everything they can to not upset the other. It did not directly imply this in these stories, but some seem very peculiar.
I had a hard time analysing these stories, so if I missed something interesting or was off the mark, please comment.
Overall, I enjoyed this manga, and it was inline with the art I like. I felt though that even for short stories, I would have liked a little more detail; both for illustrations and story development.
But it can also be said that less is better.
I still recommend checking it out.