February 13, 2009

Well, here’s one that flew under the radar.  This is a one-shot Korean series published by Infinity Studios.  I picked it up because it was based on an old fairy tale, and that’s all the justification I need for a one-shot like this.

I’m not familiar with the fairy tale it’s based on, “The Swan Prince.”  Apparently seven brothers are transformed into swans, and when they’re transformed back, something goes wrong and the last brother’s arm stays as a wing, and they all live happily ever after.  The author says it was always something that bothered her as a kid since she knew there was more of a story to go along with someone with a wing for an arm.  Apparently in the extended version of the tale, his brothers go on to achieve enlightenment while he becomes a beloved king (which seems like kind of a bum deal to me, but I don’t know that much about enlightenment or being a king).  The author disliked this too, so she decided to have her own go at the legend.

The story itself is pretty shallow.  An amnesiac girl (the titular Bambi) wakes up and is cared for by a couple mountain spirits and Arkid, a boy with a wing for an arm.  She decided to stay with them rather than find out about her past, but they are both quickly drawn into Arkid’s family’s plot to overthrow the king.  The king apparently murdered Arkid’s father, an his sister and brother have been trying to get revenge for years.  Bambi and Arkid both play big parts, and it all gets very tragic, then very happy at the end, because that’s how fairy tales work.

I don’t really have that much to say about it.  There’s a few short encounters at the beginning of the volume that are nice (encounters with stray spirits, and also a bit of backstory for the two spirits that Bambi and Arkid live with), but they don’t really develop the characters, and other than their strong friendship and relationship, Bambi and Arkid don’t have that much to them.  The plot itself is pretty simple and predictable, and you can pretty much see the twists and endings coming.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing since… really, that’s how fairy tales work, and it’s good at being a retelling of a classic story.  Just don’t expect anything more from it.

It’s definitely not for me, but it might actually be quite good for little girls.  Other than some dark themes at the supposed murder of the father and the whole revenge plot (it’s got a 13+ rating, but I’m not sure why), the story is pretty squeaky clean, and I can imagine the right kinds of little girls getting a big kick out of it.  It’s shallow but fun, and that’s what fairy tales are, right?