I know it’s been a while, I have been busy (mostly playing Fallout: New Vegas…) but I’m going to try and get back on the wagon again. This time I bring you a title I just finished recently called Pansy by Mariko Okumura. It’s a historical fiction (though starts to drift a little into light fantasy by the end) shoujo title from the late 80s. Pansy is a feral girl, recently found in Africa, living in the wild being raised by chimpanzees. Mark Animal the young man, who found her, takes her back to his European-esque home country of Roland to study her. Pansy meets a slightly older boy than herself named Edo (who in one of the more obvious turns in the story is the prince of the country) who loves her free spirit. Upon hearing the Traumerei played memories of her past start to awaken. Quickly though events start to roll changing Pansy’s life even further. The story of Pansy quickly turns into one of high adventure and political intrigue.
At first it’s just something small as Mark’s fiancé being jealous of Pansy and having a local reporter take photos of the girl acting like a monkey. Soon she is embroiled in the affairs of the royal family as the throne is being usurped by Edo’s jealous cousin Wirald. Something is always happening to Pansy and new people are always coming in and sometimes old characters come back for a surprise. It is what really made this manga really enjoyable though was I never really knew what was going to happen next. So much crazy crap happens, but because Pansy just rolls with it all it just seems to work. She gets lost, becomes a maid, and might be from a noble family. Then when everything looks like it might work out just fine, BAM! everything she has is destroyed. Pansy ends up doing a little bit of everything and ends up in trouble a whole lot but she remains a strong lead through it all.
The writing is kind of odd, while there are story arcs and they have a somewhat normal structure the overall story isn’t so structured and it kind of rambles on into the series next event. Also while most of the story would be considered historical fiction towards the end the story introduces a country where the nobles worship Satan (at this point I gave a hardy WTF?). This apparently grants them some magic powers like staying young and seeing through a crystal ball like a security camera. It’s kind of odd but at that point so many other barmy things had happened I just kind of rolled with it. I also have to note that the scanalations of this series are from different language from the original Japanese. So, it is a translation of a translation and early on it really shows. In the first few chapters the wrong forum of various pronouns are used. Thankfully over the course of the scans the translation gets better.
The art is well done but pretty typical of 80s shoujo so looks a bit dated today. Thankfully, it’s a period piece so it isn’t as dated as some other titles of the time. The art is well drawn and a lot of the formal clothes have very nice details to them. These are drawing you can see that some care went into creating them. I’d also say the screen tone used in this title is very well done, not too much and done with care.
I got to say I enjoyed this title way more than I thought I would. I finished off all eleven volumes in just a couple of days. It was almost like playing Civilization expect instead of one more turn it was one more page just to see what crazy thing would happen next.