At the time of this review only two volumes are released, I was torn on if I should wait for more volumes before making a review but what the hell, why not? It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want I initially negatively judged the first volume by its cover, the art was nice but I didn’t really didn’t care for the protagonist’s appearance. He simply looked like a baby-faced boy (with horns and a tail) that runs around in a jester costume. I guess that combination just didn’t compute somewhere in my mind and I left the series alone. But a single glance at a gorgeously ornately drawn panel from the first volume immediately made me buy it without reading a word of the blog review. Bluedrakon is also enjoying this series. This is one of those situations where buying my manga purely off Amazon/online might prevent me from getting a title I might otherwise grab after flipping through it. But I suppose that point is moot, because I’d imagine all of these volumes are tightly wrapped for its mature content. I don’t know about you guys but when I’m in a bookstore I can’t bring myself to tear through the plastic to actually browse through it and see what I’m buying. But I suppose we’re not supposed to do that anyway…
Plot Summary (from Viz)
Among the quiet villages and towns of 18th century Europe, demons known as the Ill hide within the most beautiful works of art, sparked to life by the torment of their creators. Attracted by their jewel-like allure, the unwary find themselves possessed by the Ill and driven to horrific acts of violence. Only the hunters of the Ciste Vihad can dispel the Ill. March is one such hunter, tracking the Ill from town to town to find the antiques that contain the demons before they can possess anyone. If the worst has come to pass, March’s full powers are unleashed to battle the fiendish Ill. Born of tragedy, the artifacts all have their own tales to tell, as do each of their victims. But March’s story may be the most tragic of all.
Each volume seems to be made up of a number of small stories with a (dark) ironic twist that the main character is witness to (I love this type of plot setup). People with the best of intentions (and some with terrible intentions) come across the Ill, and their world completely changes as a result. But March’s task isn’t necessarily to rescue these people, despite how unfair their demise may be. Once an Ill has taken a life, the ill and their human host must be eliminated. This part kind of reminds me Enmai Ai from Jigoku Shoujo, they’re both main characters that try to perform their destined tasks while remaining emotionally distant, but their heart is crying out for the victims. The smaller stories are very entertaining with characters that make me shiver from how utterly mad and murderous they are. There are also lovely characters with people they wish to love/protect that have touching stories that feel as if they were almost “happily ever after”. It’s a delicious experience to get so many different characters and stories in one series, and still always wondering what will happen with the (interesting) main plot concerning March. I enjoy that March Story did something so few series do, the first volume reveals the background of the main character. Sometimes when a story drags out the mystery of the background of a main character I get bored before I find out what makes that character worth cheering for. I rarely drop a series once I start it, but I know plenty of people (rightfully) give anime/manga series a certain period of time to draw them in before it gets dropped. And it’s frustrating when you know a series is great…but other potential fans are dropping it before it picks up its pace. As long as this series follows up with interesting developments, I think its up front approach on the history of the main character is a great way to go.
What can I say about the art, it’s beautiful and is entirely the reason I decided to try out this series. The costumes, characters, background, and ESPECIALLY the objects are incredibly detailed and make me feel like I’m watching a dark dream. Great art makes a great story more enjoyable, but it can only compensate for a story that doesn’t have the right momentum for a little while. I hope that the plot in this series will continue to match the beauty of the art. My only issue with the art is that one character REALLY reminds me of a Hayao Miyazaki creation, it’s difficult not to think of Yubaba from Spirited Away when she’s in one of the panels. It’s not a bad design, just something I thought was unique to another story.
As of the first 2 volumes I’ll say I recommend this series, it’s another one of the few series that I drop everything for when a new volume arrives. I hope that March Story continues to entertain me all the way until the end.Volume 1 can be sampled at a reasonable price (at the time of this post). Sellers on Amazon are selling new and used copies at under one dollar plus shipping. I look forward to Vol. 3 this October