A Magical Girl Adventure
Zodiak is an independent comic produced by a young lady pen named TÂM. In her interview with Captain Nostalgia last year (episode 76 of Victims and Villains) we discover that this has been a work of passion for TÂM for the last 10 years. So how does this decade-long work come together? Let’s talk about it…
Let me start by stating that I’m not a huge Magical Girl fan though as a kid of the 90’s; Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Fushigi Yuugi do hold a special place in my heart. This manga hits all the right notes for the genre. You have a feisty young lady who is on a journey to fight evil using a mysterious special power! For this story, our main character is a young lady named Aries who is tasked with leading two other fellow Zodiak Warriors to find mystical crystals that correspond with each Zodiac symbol.
The drama of the story is often accompanied by small comedic breaks that take place between our heroes and even the villains of this story. One of my pet peeves in comics and manga is reading an issue that feels like it’s just a filler that doesn’t progress the story. These 3 issues give you the satisfaction of a full story while leaving you with an excellent connection for the next issue. Think of it as watching your favourite Saturday morning cartoon. You have a complete story in a single episode, but it helps to continue an overall story.
In her 2017 interview with Josh, TÂM mentioned that she was profoundly influenced by Sailor Moon and other 90’s manga. I have you say that you can absolutely see the influence. The structure of her panels, the break up between a more refined manga art to a chibi, the comedic timing, and Arie’s transformation all carry hints of Sailor Moon. There’s even a Chibiusa styled character named Cancer. As I read through it, I can see traces of other influences such as Yu-Yu Hakusho and Dennou Shoujo Mink. The panels have a nice flow that carries the action in semi Tezuka fashion.
A fascinating aspect about each issue is that TÂM has drawn in a few real-life locations from Italy. She features sites such as the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, Aviano Town Square in North East Italy, and The Madonna del Monte Sanctuary. Her artistic representations fit nicely into the world she’s created while holding a reasonable resemblance to their real-life counterparts.
One critique I would give to this book is that I think it would be better in a traditional black and white format rather than colored. Due to TÂM’s Sailor Moon influences this comic, in my opinion, would simply flow better if the art was left in black in white and then have various colored splash pages in each issue.
Roads to Hope
Here at Victims and Villains, we are always looking for a connection between the content we take part in and the opportunity to show hope. In this particular book, I’d say that it shows the beauty and necessity of friendship. Our three heroes genuinely care about each other. They may annoy and aggravate each other at times, but they realize that they don’t need to let their differences get between them. We need friends who can encourage us, challenge us, and maybe even correct us. Not just that we need be willing to be that for others in our lives.
After reading through these three issues, I had to step back and really wonder how to rate this manga. The question of who the target audience it was a real point of contention. While the story is light-hearted and fun, I don’t think it was written explicitly for smaller kids although they may enjoy it. Honestly, I think this was written for a younger teenager on up through adults who just want something fun to read. With its diversity, it’s story, and art design I’m going to give this book a 4 out of 5. If you’d like to get your hands on this series visit her website at http://teallioncomics.storenvy.com/ You can also connect with her via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thuytamart