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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pavane for a Dead Girl vol. 1 Impression

Who would you sacrifice for a heart’s desire?

Pavane for a Dead Girl volume 1 from Tokyopop is unlike any manga I’ve had the chance to take in. It has a very innocent look in its design leading one to think it will skew younger but the core of the story is anything but. This tale of violin prodigy Takenomaru Sagami holds many secrets that justify the OT (older teen, 16+ rating) but no secret is of the perverted or sick for sick sake, not here. This is a solid story of tough decisions.
Takenomaru Sagami is a violin prodigy, taken in by Professor Chogo Sagami who teaches at a prestigious all-female music academy. Takenomaru hones his skills but hides a secret in his past that controls his present and future. He made an agreement, at deaths door, to be blessed with not only the violin skill of a master but the looks to match. Being a half-blood jaded Takenomaru and this deal he struck with the Great Angel, for these two blessings, forces Takenomaru to seek the Tears of Maria. Newly arrived Nanao Kaga is a candidate for these tears as she seeks out Takenomaru whom she’s dubbed the “Prince of Harmony” after hearing him play at a younger age. Upon meeting him Nanao receives a brooch which oddly change color and she and Takenomaru begin to grow closers, a dream come true … or is it? Takenomaru’s agenda is only to harvest the Tears of Maria but why must he make a girl fall for him? What role does the color changing brooch play? How exactly are the tears harvested from the targets heart? It truly is a sad melody Takenomaru plays for his craft.

The art as mentioned carries a younger look with the large eyes, very younger Shoujo, and the plethora of young ladies in frilly outfits but this is no kiddy looking book. Contradicting myself, in a manner but when readers dive in they will find an art style that is sharp, well detailed and puts a focus on characters emotions that flies off the pages. Readers can feel Takenomaru’s hate and regret as well as each young ladies enamored with Takenomaru or their plain cockiness in their talents. This is not by any means a harem type manga, not by a long shot. The art shifts from the beauty readers can almost hear coming off the violin to the racist violence and hate for a boy born to parents of different backgrounds. Yeah, not kids stuff and the art is rock solid in delivering a full range of emotions even with frilly frocks and big eyes.

The story is quite serious in it’s basically a deal with the devil but one called an angel (wasn’t the devil an angel?). Anyway Takenomaru cuts a deal and becomes a harvester for these Tears of Maria which seem to be, well part of the story I’m not going to ruin, but it’s dangerous what he has to do and how he has to nurture these tears before their harvest. His life is by no means easier than it was as a poor down and out mixed breed. Volume 1 sets the stage for what Takenomaru is, what he must do but what I found very interesting is the time it invest in character development for those making short stays in the tale. Takenomaru is the focus and his quest for the Tears of Maria is the goal. What challenges will he face, opposition and potential enemies? More importantly what happens when he fails to collect the tears? This one question is more than enough reason for coming back for more in volume 2, will you be there to harvest along with Takenomaru?

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