Title: Storm Fairy
Scored a: B+
Status: Read the first story.
Gosh! What a lovely little fairytale. .
Little backstory: I got this book via a kickstarter run by Digital Manga/Emanga.com as part of their ongoing project to publish tons of Tezuka’s work. My copy came with a collection of bookmarks and postcards as well as a cute lil’ Unico pin.
Anyway, here’s the summary of Storm Fairy:
Once upon a time, an Empress flees her burning castle to the nearby forest where she encounters a forest fairy. A deal is struck where in exchange for the fairy’s favor, the Empress must give up the face of her next born child. Thus, two girls’ lives become entwined: one has to wear a mask to hide her disfigured face, the other born with the face of the first. One night, a malcontent discovered Princess Ruri’s curse and steals her mask to put his own daughter on the throne. Ruri, now on the run, meets a samurai Tonosuke who decides to care for her. Hakobe, the fairy born with Ruri’s face, finds out the princess is on the run and decides to help her win back her kingdom, but little does she know, she wears the face of the one she’s trying to save…
I really liked this! Sometimes I’m not too sure with Osamu Tezuka’s work, it can become unexpectedly gory but this was the kind of fairytale story that I was used to as a kid before I was allowed into the old translations. Princess Ruri, Hakobe the fairy, Tonosuke the ronin, this was the sort of story I wish was as old as it felt so I could share it with everyone. It would have fit in perfectly with my shelves of fairytale books when I was a child.
The story is fast paced – it’s not what I’d call short and it felt like there was a new exciting development on every page. Osamu Tezuka’s art is unique, a fun cartoony style (part of why it’s so disorienting when it gets gory) that gets across the action with ease. Some of the scenes are downright adorable, like when Hakobe is thrown to the snakes. Really, it’s cute.
There is also a hot air balloon battle.
The reason I didn’t give it a full A is because I think it was just missing a tiny thing I can’t put my finger on to make it exceptional. But it’s definitely worth your time and money to get a copy. There’s some references in here I didn’t get as usual with Tezuka (keep that in mind when you read), but that’s not why I dinged him. These comics are old and I am young plus the whole cultural divide so it’s very likely it’s just something out of my personal experience.
I hope to read the next two stories, one about a girl detective and another about magic clouds, soon.
Other titles by Osamu Tezuka you may know: