martes, 21 de abril de 2015

Garden Dreams

It's been a while since I made you suffer with my robotic english for the last time. I tried to exploit the last holidays for reading a small percentage of the tons of manga that keep getting wasted dawn in my basement and deep into my closet. This time, I rescued a one shot by Fumi Yoshinaga, who you may know because of her awarded and ongoing series Ooku: The inner chambers. Garden Dreams contains four short stories settled at an era which may correspond with Victorian England.

Farhad lost both his parents as a child in the middle of a war, he certainly would have died if it weren't for Saud, a young man who rescued him in the desert and adopted him. They have been traveling as bards, singing and playing the lire to make a living, ever since. One day, Farhad and Saud end up in a western land lead by Baron Bianni, a sad man who also carries a mournful past...

Although this volume consists of four independent stories, they all fit perfectly in the same story-line. This may not appear obvious from the beginning but as long as the story goes on, the pieces start to connect. All the main characters share a tragic background and have suffered because of the deaths of their beloved ones, either their parents, their children or their lovers.

One of the strengths of Garden Dreams is that even when they all have encountered with similar tragedies, they all react very differently in a sort of "you can not chose what happens to you but how you react afterwards" moral. Victor isolates himself into his castle despising his own life, Saud feels an unbearable guilt and blames himself for the fate of his offspring while Farhad simply accepts his past and moves on, ready to love and to be loved.

I've been kind of confused with the sexual orientation of the characters since two out of three main characters seem to be bisexual and even though I know that is plausible, I find it too convenient to the plot and slightly out of context taking into account the time-space setting of the story. On the other hand, I've got used to this ambiguity when it comes to manga. It is just another cliche to add to the list.

Regarding the art style, I'd say irregular. Overall, it is beautiful enough: the simplicity of Yoshinaga's lines and absence of background are gorgeous at some panels, but still it appears clearly to me that Garden Dreams (1999) is the work of an inexperienced mangaka. In fact, it wasn't until someone referred to Farhad as a "son" that I realized that he was a man and not a woman. I guess that may be due to the author's devotion to yaoi genre in which is not that uncommon to find feminized ukes. And no, Garden Dreams is not yaoi nor BL!

I guess I just was too hyped by later work of Fumi Yoshinaga, Ooku, and by a handful of fans who encouraged me to buy a copy of this title that it is not that surprising that I felt disappointed. I am not saying this is a bad comic but just that such a melodramatic argument does not work for me (anymore). In fact, I find it slightly insulting to deal with life and death with so little concern...

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