This weeks title is called Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku, or The Music of Marie in english. It’s a short, bitter sweet story that will stun you with it’s ending.
Language: Japanese, French, Russian, Polish
Direction: Right to Left
by: Usamaru Furuya
Type: Series (Two Volumes)
Genre: Shojo, Romance, Mecha
Marie floats above her world, giving comfort and protection to all who see her. Her land is peaceful and calm, and none who live in it are hateful or violent. Below her, the boy Kai grows into manhood, and as he does so, he begins to hear the subtle music of Marie, inaudible to others. This music will lead him on a journey of discovery, and grant him a startling realization about the nature of Marie and of the world.
I love this series and would love to see someone pick it up for mainstream western release. I think this is a prime target for either DMP or Vertical, both of whom pick up niche titles.
Pipi is our lost damsel in this volume. She’s in love with Kai the lead, and has been since they met when they were 10. She’s got an interesting personality and talks in a childish way despite being 18 (she talks like: “Pipi is tired” or “Pipi loves Kai”). She’s a great character well developed and she has an amazing character design.
Kai, the so called hero and the object of Pipi’s desires. Kai’s personality is weird and I have to admit I wasn’t sure about him even at the end. It wasn’t until the last chapter that things all clicked together. Sadly while he see’s Pipi as a close friend, he only has eyes for Marie.
Marie, the weirdest of the triangle. She’s the ‘goddess’ that floats around in the sky protecting the world. She seems to have some sort of connection to Kai. Hard to describe her since she doesn’t say or do anything until the very end. Yet she has such a huge impact on the story.
I really lucked out with this series recently, an old colleague of mine who now lives in Japan found me the two volumes and offered to ship them to me. It was expensive, but I couldn’t resist the temptation for long (well, I lasted nearly a minute hehe).
The story feels rushed, but it really isn’t. It just takes place over a short space of time. The first volume does an excellent job of setting up the atmosphere . It starts of lightly with some humour, and slowly shows the way life is on the island.
It also establishes the love triangle fairly well, showing how much Pipi likes Kai. Yet at the same time it shows that Kai is fixated on Marie. Furuya also drops loads of hints about Kai and his special abilities.
Reading about how he disappeared and returned changed was amazing.
At the end of the volume Furuya starts to set things in motion for the fast paced volume two.
The second volume is different from the first, in that it moves from setting the stage, to the events itself. The way the second volume unfolds, is really done well. It starts with Kai having to figure out what’s happening and then the big finale playing out.
I love how these events play out, since it deals with Kai having to come to terms with who he is, and also having to decide whether ‘god’ should continue to exist or not. I like the way that Furuya leads Kai through his turmoil and to his ultimate decision.
The last bit of the volume is what I really loved though. It sets you up with a bitter sweet parting, with a mildly sad ending. Which on it’s own I would have been satisfied with. However just when you think it’s over we get the real ending, an ending that really hits you over the head with surprise and makes you cry with the sadness.
The other aspect of the series that really made my day is the art. Furuya is an excellent artist and she draws some stunning settings. I wasn’t keen on the character designs at first, but that changed by the end of the first volume. I was also impressed with the attention to detail she gives the machines and scenery.
Sadly this two volume is unlikely to ever get licensed because it’s to much of a niche title. It’s not your typical shojo story. Though I hope someone will pick it up at some point and give it a real HQ release. I’d line up to buy it!!