The ultimate European Ballet, Japanese Supernatural lovestory
A collection of one-shots all based on popular ballets, but in Japanese setting and with a definite supernatural twist! Ghosts were once humans, too, and their love is still alive, told by the master of lovely, but eerie supernatural stories, Kamata Kimiko. – Aerandria Scans
Not gonna lie, I was pulled in by the gorgeous colour visuals on the cover and the sumptuous promise of dark ballet japanised.
Beautifully and compellingly drawn. Clear lines and interesting faces, even if the women do appear quite alike. Reminiscent of 80s manga without the bonkers eyes. Lush historical Japan setting and eye for detail in all manner of things, architecture, society, kimono, hair, everything. Also, she manages to make them male edo hairstyles look good. That’s accomplishment if I ever saw it.
Highly skilled mangaka with the conceptualisation and execution of these oneshots. I loved the comedy and sincerity she could invoke within such a short amount of pages.
Five stories, varying in quality but all inherently readable. A volume well worth reading, 10/10 for a volume of oneshots. Not only enjoyable, but weighty. Most oneshot volumes feel like eating a series of tasty but lacklustre snacks. This feels like a feast of tapas. Tasty, filling, Japanese tapas.
Soul of A Doll (Copellia)
Interesting and intriguing storyline. However, as expected from a oneshot, its development was rapid and without good enough explanation. The relationship between the protagonist and his love was more developed than the sinister scheme and unravelling of the plot. Some bursts of comedy that surprised me.
I checked the plot against the original (which I didn’t recognise) afterward and it is similar in concept and beginning but not in resolution (which is pure Japanese). Overall a delightful oneshot including key aspects of Edo period culture, which was nice. By the last page, it even managed to create a sense of meaning with the doll’s resolution.
Midnight Theatre (Giselle)
Again with the unexpected spots of comedy. It works, but I was surprised by it, when otherwise surrounded by such sincerity. But it seemed to carry this oneshot through the gloomy subject it covered.
Despite the comedy, the end still managed to be emotional and sincere (for a oneshot or short manga). Man this mangaka is gooood.
In comparison to its inspiration, the key concept is followed with some major changes. It’s beautifully adapted to Japanese Buddhism.
Sleeping Beauty (No prizes for which ballet here)
Highlight: adorable protagonist consulting with kappa. This was the moment when I started searching to see what this mangaka’s series are like. (Most are oneshots, sadly).
Aaand then this oneshot turned into a pile of charming shit plot wise, nice but nonsensical. This is what happens when you decide to take one singular concept from sleeping beauty and make it into something its not, with only 44 pages to explain it all in.
Unsurprising in a oneshot, but not as good as I have come to expect Kamata Kimiko’s oneshot’s to be.
Clockwork Innocence (The Nutcracker)
Based on my favourite Ballet (not going to lie, courtesy of a certain Barbie film), it held nothing of the original. Some doll coming to life imagery, and a transformation of “true self”, but I had to search for resemblance.
I shipped the clockwork master and the wilful ojousama together. Alas, it was not to be. Tsk, how dare these oneshots not fulfil my shipping fantasies.
All in all another nonsensical fail of marrying the ballet and the Japanese together. Yet I still hold up the volume as a masterclass, for the other oneshots the mangaka manages to pull off.
The Missing Groom (La Sylphide)
And the unexpected comedy prize of the lot goes to The Missing Groom! I didn’t see that coming a mile off. Who was the groom stolen by? I guarantee you can’t guess, and it’s hilarious. Spoiler picture way down below.
Its plotline is the most similar to the original yet, but better than the rather macabre ending than the ballet in question. A joyful original read like most of the others (which have all been original, if not all a joy), proving once again the mastery of this Mangaka within the realm of supernatural oneshots, and apparently, in cross genre transformations.
Husband Stealer Spoiler down below