Cantarella Vol. #05 (Mania.com)

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008
Release Date: Thursday, November 30, 2006


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist: You Higuri
Translated by: Christine Schilling
Adapted by: Audrey Taylor

What They Say
Drink from the Cup of the Borgias.. If You Dare!

When a pair of seductive eyes comes between Cesare and his brother Juan, the escalating tension between the two finally explodes in a frenzy of rage. Will Juan's blade find Cesare's blood glistening on its edge, or will Cesare's ever-quickening descent into madness lead to a much more gruesome end for his dear brother? And caught between the two blades is Cesare's loyal but troubled friend, Chiaro, whose concern for his friend may soon be overwhelmed by his horror at Cesare's ruthlessness..

The Review
As Chiaro grows closer and closer to Lucrezia, his bond with Cesare seems to grow weaker.  He seems to not realize how utterly indispensable he is to Cesare's state of mind.  Meanwhile, Sancia has managed to get what she wants - or has she?  She's had Cesare's body, but he's seemingly impervious to the feminine wiles she uses to control other men.  Taking advantage of Juan's insecurities, she seduces him in a ploy to make Cesare jealous, but the one who ends up jealous is Juan.  

Juan's attempt at direct retaliation fails thanks to Chiaro, so he turns to more devious means and has Chiaro arrested and imprisoned.  When Cesare finally finds Chiaro, he's been brutally tortured and is no longer breathing.  Despair leaves Cesare vulnerable to a beautiful demon who's taken a painfully familiar form.  With the tables turned and a desperately wounded Chiaro riding to Cesare's rescue, will the time come for him to fulfill the painful promise he made so long ago?  Forced to face off against both enemies and former allies, Chiaro now faces the impossible task of saving Cesare's humanity, or destroying him. 

While the last couple of volumes have focused on Cesare's intrigues on both large scale and small, this one is much closer to home, focusing on the hate-filled relationship he has with the weak and insecure Juan and his own hidden vulnerabilities.  It's really a testament to how well-written and executed this series is that it works so well on both the large and small stages.  Cesare is a character with so many layers and masks that it seems like even he isn't sure what's real at times, which makes him fascinating to watch, and the other major characters are just as well executed.  The growing rivalry between Volpe, who's jealous of Chiaro and wants Cesare to have all the power and glory that he can grasp, and Chiaro, who wants Cesare to stay human, adds an extra dimension to Cesare's struggle.  This is a fantastic series from beginning to end - highly recommended.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Go! Comi
MSRP: 10.99
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Cantarella