Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Me on Tanpopo Volume 2

Title: Tanpopo Volume 2
Artist: Camilla d'Errico
Release Date: 2009
Published by d'Errico Studios

Free from a purely analytical mind, Tanpopo leaves the safety that knowledge provides and explores the realm of the unknown... emotion. Kuro, her devil in disguise companion, stays true and grants her wish to experience the emotion of the real world, but little does she know he has a surprise in store, a painful lesson in what it means to be human.

Volume 2 marks a return to d'Errico's familiar manga style of art. Every page is so striking, bright colours, yellows and pinks and blues, combined with thin black lines like scratches from a pen. Tanpopo's eyes are so big and clear, and so important. They are how she sees this new world, the one Kuro had pulled her into to teach her about emotion, and here on the beach, to teach her about sadness.

This is Tanpopo's first sight of the outside world, her first moments away from the knowledge machine, away from what is controlled and cold and easy to understand. Bringing her to the sea, having her witness the shooting of the albatross, the encounter with the strangers, it almost seems like too much, like the sadness would bring her to her knees and make her question the world.

Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner plays off of d'Errico's artwork in the same way the artwork plays off of Coleridge. That epic poem has been reimagined, twisted and turned, but is still something beautiful and haunting. The message here is harder to understand, perhaps a mix of Coleridge's fault and my own. It seems to me that the lesson of Kuro's to Tanpopo is that of life and death, that blame comes when it isn't deserved all because of what the situation appears to look like, and that he has the power to take life away as well as give it.

Tanpopo's journey into the world of emotion will not be easy, that much is clear, but if every step of the way is as haunting and lyrical as the last, as visually enchanting, then I will relish the journey, no matter how long it takes.

(I own a copy of this graphic novel.)

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