Yup! You heard me! Natsuki Takaya the popular author of the best selling shojo manga, Fruits Basket (which is the FIRST best selling shojo manga in the USA, and SECOND best selling shojo in Japan) has yet again created a “I-never-want-to-put-this-book-down” series!! Giving a twist between fairy tales and a medieval type aura, Takaya-Sensei has presented us with yet again, a pitiful yet kindhearted heroine.
Liselotte to Majo no Mori or “Liselotte and the Witch’s Forest” is about a young lady living in exile in “a far far away place, in the east of the east of the east”. She is accompanied by her two twin servants, Anna and Alto, who worry for her well-being daily. (Well who wouldn’t, she manages to cause an uproar every time she tries something new, e.g get’s blisters on the second day of trying to learn how to plant crop or tries to cook, proving no avail and almost poisons one of the characters in the story..)
While on one of her gardening routines, she finally meets a witch who provokes her with different colors of apples (it’s snow white gone colorful O.o) and surrounds her with pitch black darkness. She is saved by a mysterious person named “Engetsu” who remind her of someone of her past…..just who is this person? Why did her brother banish her after taking the family throne? And is “En” the person who she has always been looking for?
If your familiar to Takaya’s works from either Fruits Basket or the citically acclaimed Hoshi wa Utau, you’ll know just how she adores creating characters with such simplicity yet uniqueness. Her lines are nice and clean, making the characters neat and adorable at the same time. One thing special about her artwork that you seem to notice is that she likes to play with a type of cinematography. She draws her characters from different angles, experiments with light shadings, and includes small distinct details in each panel.
An example of this is when she darkens her drawing and creates shadows when trying to show that her characters are behind a tree.
Plot: Takaya-Senei had always been inspired by things out of the ordinary. From Zodiac spirits to broom flying witches, she has always been able to bring her readers into the story.
In Liselotte to Majo no Mori, we can sense our main characters trying to piece together her life back and try beginning to “live” We can see in recent chapters that it hard for her to try expalining her situations and just basically just brushes off her misfortune by telling everyone she aa-okay. As the story progresses we begin to further see what happened before she moved to the forest and all the pain she was put though (T_T of gosh I’m going to cry)
Tragedy put aside, we also have some comical moments such as that of her servant Alto, being the protective person he is, not being able to accept “En” into the household. We also have an amazingly adorable witch’s familiar (ooops, spoiler) who makes you just wanna go “awwwwwww >///<” every time you see him. (at least, I think it’s a him =__=)
Given the tone of the character’s daily life, you can also consider this manga as a slice of life type manga, something you can read that will just make you feel comforted and relax.
Finally, for those who are interested in those historical themes, the manga is filled with monorchial terms such as days of provisions or royalty ranking, and that of fantasy references. (witches, familiars, magic, curses…you get the picture)
Another thing that Tayaka-Sensei is able to create are her memorable characters. One of these is “Engetsu” who is a somewhat dimwitted and straight forward individual. His quiet composure makes him seem like he’s holding many secrets, including his wish to find a certain witch. Although Engetsu doesn’t speak much and frequently disappears (yes, he just vanishes), he is always popping up to help Liselotte either in physical or mental matters. (as seen when he is hug…..AHH! Spoiler! Really, you guys need to read it before I ruin the story!!)
Now, if your really into those quiet mysterious guys, you really need to check out this manga and see for yourself just how adorable he is.
We also have Alto, which is the COMPLETE opposite of “En”. After his mistress had been banished, her bravely decided to follow her along with his sister to become her support system. Although he may seem a little uptight, it’s because of his loyalty that he is able to go through great lengths to see Liselotte safe and sound.
We also have Anna-san who is a down to earth, although she is protective of her lady, she i fully accepts her determination to try and learn different things and is always trying to help Liselotte towards her goals.
As you can see, or read…the characters are very genuine and subtle, making Liselotte to Majo no Mori a must read for this month !!