February 24, 2010

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Cantarella Volume 1

Written by You Higuri
Illustrated by You Higuri
Go! Comi

[Posted for context since I am picking this series back up.]

Cantarella is the story of Cesare Borgia and the tortured life he leads as a result of the deals his father makes to try and seize the Papacy. Sold to the devil by his father, Cesare is forced to the sidelines as another of his bastard brothers gets all the glory.

Just as things seemingly can't get worse, Cesare is separated from a sister he loves and learns of the cruel fate awaiting him. What will he do with this knowledge? Only future volumes will tell...

This is a historical manga set in the late fifteenth century, complete with a few historical characters utilized for plot. This in an of itself makes this a refreshing change from the somewhat steady diet I've been on of angsty high schoolers and lone warriors. You can tell that Higuri has taken the time to research the period to get a solid setting for her story.

I know a little bit about the sordid side of the Catholic Church and I think Higuri nails it without being too harsh. The church had lots of power, and those who craved power would do whatever it takes to get ahead. I'm not saying that anyone was selling children to demons, but it's certainly plausible in that environment and makes for a good jumping off point as Higuri changes history to tell her story.

The art is nicely done, with all of the characters getting something to distinguish themselves. The clothing looks period-accurate to me, but I would imagine an SCA person could find a problem that I'd miss. I also don't feel like anyone is speaking anachronistically, which can be an issue in period pieces like this.

I enjoyed this one a lot, and will definitely keep reading.