Stunning art, beautiful packaging, and confusing short stories make Goths Cage a mixed bag. Recommended for fans of Yasushi Suzuki, gothic stories/art, and those seeking the unique gems of American published Japanese media.
Writer/Artist: Yasushi Suzuki
Translation: Gayle Tan
Adaptation: Gayle Tan
What They Say
Goth's Cage is an anthology based on popular fairy tales - with a malicious twist of love and romance! In Glass Magic, a servant girl who wishes to fall in love with a prince and become a princess is granted a magic potion by an old hag - but she must abandon her heart in order for magic to work! In Flower Basket, when a prince shoots an arrow and injures a young bird, he discovers a beautiful girl in its stead!
DrMaster did an amazing job with this book. Goths Cage is a full-color release with a hardcover, and is somewhat larger than a standard B6 manga release. The book cover is smooth with embossing for the title on both the front and back. The visual appeal of the book continues to the interior. The book’s high quality glossy pages are reminiscent of full-sized artbook releases from Japan. Page alignment is smooth with no apparent cutoff along the outer edges or the spine, and the colors seem to be free of blemishes. Some people may dislike the small white section between the pages along the spine. It doesn’t personally bother me, and I would rather see that then lose art or text when the pages are trimmed too close to the spine.
The art receives an A for style and variety. Some pages are full-color while others are two-tone, and even some pages are two-tone with a full-color panel in the middle or off to the side. Suzuki’s art is elegantly dirty. What I mean is the subject matter usually involves something ugly or horrific, such as a monster, devilwoman, dismembered arms, or a person tormented. However, Suzuki’s creative character designs never fail to pull the viewer into the picture, if for nothing else to figure out what they are wearing.
The short stories in this book have little text and make it difficult to grade the translation. The translation itself reads well enough, I think the real problem is the story itself and the tug of war between the images and the text. The author attempts to tell as much of the story as possible with the pictures, so the small amount of text lacks some detail that would otherwise make the story read better. The Japanese SFX are translated into English.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Goths Cage is a full color collection of short stories, somewhat reminiscent of the picture book storytelling style of robot. The stories are short, unrelated, and rely on the art to tell the story with small amounts of text filling in the rest. Goths Cage has three short stories rounding out this 32 page book. The first story is about a servant girl who looks like the walking dead. She dreams of someday becoming a beautiful princess and escaping her dreary world of servitude. A mysterious witch appears to grant her wish, but will the price of giving up her soul be worth finding a prince to love her?
The next story is about a young thief trapped in a strange castle-like prison. The interior seems to be more for torturing its inhabitants than keeping them away from the outside world. Will the young man accept the help of a devilwoman? What will the price be and is the outcome ever worth making a deal with the devil?
The final story is almost a cross between ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’, all with a gothic flair. After the death of his wife, a barber becomes obsessed with her lost beauty and resurrecting her. He begins to kill his female clients and collect the most beautiful body parts to replace the rotting pieces of his wife. The barber’s handiwork doesn’t go unnoticed by the authorities. A masked detective begins tracking the barber with the plans of killing him for his sins. Who will survive their battle? Will the barber’s wife ever see the day her body is resurrected?
Goths Cage is somewhat of a cross between an anthology and an artbook. The book itself is only 32 pages, but it has a hardcover and glossy color pages, so it isn’t a bad deal for $12.95. Unfortunately, like Purgatory Kabuki, Goths Cage is more interesting for the art than the storytelling.