Today’s review is truly, “Now for Something Completely Different”. World Canvas by Godley Malabanan is the first commercially published Yuri comic in Tagalog!
We live in amazing (wonderful/awful) times. Even a few years ago, I would have only been able to look at the pictures, but Google Translate no w includes “Filipino” and so, I was able to actually read this book by typing in the words. Machine translation is not perfect, but it’s plenty good enough for manga. ^_^
The story follows Sera, who is the younger sister of museum curator and in art school herself. She’s got heterochromia, and her left eye bestows a power and a burden – if she sees something a person has written, she can “read” their life story in it. Needless to say, this has kept her alienated from people. Through trope-y circumstance, she encounters a younger woman, Rhiannon, and gets sucked into her life.
The story, while is enjoyable, is chock-full of tropes, even aside from the magic heterochromia (which is merely a backdrop to the story and Sera’s life.) Rhiannon is passive-aggressive, saved from harassment by street toughs, abusive adults, and a parental abuse back story.
Additionally, although Sera is stated to be 21 and Rhiannon 14 (which is problematic in itself) Sera is drawn more like the eternal 15 of manga and Rhia more like 9. While I did not love the character designs, the art as a whole was superb.
In terms of characterization, Sera is really well developed, especially for a short single-volume like this. I really grew to respect her through the course of the story. Since the story is essentially the rescue of Rhiannon from her awful real life, hidden behind the veil of a glamorous life, she’s much less developed. As with so many stories, I wish we could check back with them in a couple of years and see who they have become.
And I look forward to more work by Godley Malabanan, now that’s she’s hopefully worked through all the tropes.
The book is published by Black Ink Comics and is available at National Book Store and Precious Pages stores. I know we have a lot of Filipino readers – here is your chance to support you very own home-grown Yuri! How exciting is that?
Art – 9
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 1 on principle
Overall – A solid 7
Today’s review was sponsored by Okazu Superhero and friend, James W. who spotted this book in Manila and nabbed it for me. And congratulations and good luck to Ms. Malabanan!