Monday, January 19, 2009

Since I have nothing of importance to say, I thought I should start nattering on about unimportant crap again, if only to reassure any folks who might be wondering that no, I have not yet made my way for the Grey Havens...

I've been buying a *lot* of manga. It's much, much cheaper in bulk at TRSI, and I went on a serious binge late last fall. As a result, I've got dozens of volumes sitting on my to-read stack on my 'breakfast table'.

One of the pleasant surprises has been CMX's Dorothea, by one-named mangaka Cuvie. CMX is one of those publishers which is a total crapshoot: they seem to just pick licenses out of a hat, so that there's no real guarantee one way or the other. Dorothea is one of the pleasant "hits" - a historical Joan-of-Arcish sword-and-politics comic from their high-end "Mature" imprint. The heroine is an albino swordmaiden-type from a vaguely pagan pocket of the late-fifteenth-century Germanies who goes off to be a mercenary with a Landesknecht company to "see the world with her own eyes", in hopes of preserving her homeland.

The political details and realism is relatively high, and impressively well-thought-out, at least for manga. There's an acknowledgment of both sides of most arguments, and while our heroine's intentions are manga-pure, she still lives in a real, consequential world. She's virtuously opposed to mercenary looting, and yet her intervention is ferociously rebuffed by the protected with the furious observation that she had just personally slaughtered the protector of the household being looted.

I say "relatively" because the details are kind of wonky - German Waldensians were supposedly pacifistic and certainly aren't famous for being witch-burners, and Nauders & Ems are on opposite sides of the Germanies from each other - but hey, you make allowances for mangaka, especially when they start in on abtruse subjects like 15th-century German religious politics. And it's clearly supposed to be some sort of alternate-history...

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