Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Othello, an interesting manga surprise.

I am not a very big fan of shojo manga. I liked it back when I was 16 (Sailor Moon and all CLAMP works were my favorite back then) but lately, all the girls in distress and drooling over misterious masked guys were getting on my nerves. However, this week I had to read the first volume of Othello for reviewing, and I have to admit, it was not at all what I was expecting.

Sure, the plot sounds a bit contrived: a girl who is too shy to even stand for herself develops a second personality who goes on avenging wrongs and beating bullies, and, in the middle of it, finding love and a music career for the original personality. It's like modern maho shojo 101, but without the sparkly transformation.

But in practice, Othello ended being quite different. The first thing that I noticed was that there was no sparkly trasnformation in sight, not even when the original 'gimmick' to go between Yaya (the shy, quiet personality) and Nana (the outgoing, and a bit violent) was Yaya looking at her reflection in a mirror. Yaya never remembers what Nana does, and in fact isn't even aware of her existence, while Nana knows everything that Yaya thinks, and at first just works to avenge those who made Yaya feel bad with herself.

There is a cute guy on all this, Matsuyama, who knows Yaya's secret, and swears to protect her all the time, but in truth, he ends up being moral support for Yaya when she finally realizes what's going on, and just stays in the sidelines while Yaya/Nana fix things for themselves.

The art is very shojo-standart, but I'm amazed how you can distinguish perfectly between Nana and Yaya even when Nana is dressed like Yaya. There's no change of hair color, no change of eye shape, just attitude. And while one could dismiss Othello as a 'makeover story' with a gimmick, I can honestly say that it was a worthwhile read.


3 comments:

neto said...

Whoa, it sound interesting...
Not the traditional cute-girl-who-transforms-is-cute-and-save -the-world story...
I'll search a little bit about this...
Cheers...

Adalisa said...

Cheers :)

Just a word of warning, some of the stuff in Othello is not what you would expect in a stereotypical shojo. it deals a bit with sexual harrasment, as Nana's first appearance is while Yaya has been set up by her 'friends' to be raped, and the same subject of girls being set up to be used as sexual objects by her own friends comes up again later on.

Other than that, yep, it's one of Del Rey's best shojo offerings.

aaauut said...

I read this as well. It's not very popular and that bugs me a lot- It's way less annoying and much more interesting then those transforming pink/blonde-haired girls that wave around sticks that they call wands.

This is a fun comedy but serious at the same time. Really, it's a mix of genres and that just makes it better. It gets a bit sappy at the ending, but it's got to somewhere right? And i'll say this... I wasn't very happy about the ending chapter. Something happened that made me a bit ticked off, but it would have been to typical to end off all happy-ever-after. I don't want 2 spoil anything, so I won't speak any further.

I RECOMEND THIS MANGA 100%. You can find it at

Onemanga.com/Othello/1