Petite Cossette Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 196
  • ISBN: 1-59816-530-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Petite Cossette Vol. #01

By Michelle Ramonetti     October 19, 2006
Release Date: July 30, 2006


Petite Cossette Vol.#01
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Cossette House/Aniplex (Story); Asuka Katsura (Art)
Translated by:Aska Yoshizu
Adapted by:Gina Ferenzi and Tim Seeley

What They Say
Based on the popular anime!

Eiri works part-time at an antique shop where he becomes obsessed with Cossette--a girl whose portrait is on sale in the store. But Cossette has a tragic story: People who own the painting have all been murdered in bizarre ways. When Cossette's spirit appears in front of Eiri, she asks him to save her . . .

Filled with timeless themes of love and redemption, this tragic Gothic romance is an unforgettable journey into the heart of a tortured soul.

The Review
Packaging:
Elaborate artwork features a pale Cossette, upside down in her distinctive black dress, floating through chains and rose petals. The violet title logo is identical to that of the Geneon dubbed anime, except that it includes the "e" after "Petite" (as in proper French) and the Japanese title in smaller characters. The volume number is included on the bottom, with credits to the story and art creators beneath it. The Tokyopop logo is stamped in white on both sides of the spine, within a decorative border that adds to the gothic look. The only downside to the cover art is that, since the illustration obscures the title, it can be hard to tell which side is up.

On the back cover is the remainder of the front cover illustration and the volume's summary. Extras include a preview of the second volume and ads for Beck, Grenadier, Afterlife, Voices of a Distant Star, Seikai: Crest of the Stars "-Princess of the Empire, and Peach Girl: Sae's Story.

Art:
Ragged, scratchy artwork dominates this manga, almost as if the refined beauty of the anime "-and the manga cover- "is being purposefully rejected. Though many panels detail antique furniture, clothing, and architecture, even those are drawn with squiggled lines and stark shading, the only exception being Eiri's pencil drawing of Cossette. While such a departure shakes up the reader, balances gothic beauty with horror, and distinguishes the manga from the anime, it becomes more difficult for the reader to be drawn into Cossette's spell.

SFX/Text:
Sound effects have been left untranslated, and honorifics are kept. Certain conceptual words, like Thanatos, are asterisked with a definition. Readers who do not know Japanese will miss out on the sound effects; it would help to have liner notes, or at least an appendix for them. The overall text, however, clearly adapts the Japanese translation without censoring it.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The manga version of Petite Cossette deviates not only in its artwork, but in its plot and characterization. The story begins with Eiri not obsessed with a girl in a glass, but with a girl whose image he feels compelled to draw. When Eiri then finds Cossette's infamous portrait, his boss, who appears often in this story, warns him about the stories of strange deaths circulating around it; when Cossette finally appears before Eiri, however, he is so taken with her that he promises to help her recover all her cursed objects before they harm other people. And so, the primary focus of this volume is of Cossette and Eiri guiding each other to the recovery of Cossette's former belongings "-and of the greater danger Eiri begins to place himself in for Cossette's sake. Even the structure of the manga version is different, telling the tale in two parts rather than the OVA's three.

Whether or not the reader is familiar with the OVA this manga is based upon, it is obvious that this manga maintains the same core genre: Gothic Lolita. The entirety of Petite Cossette is influenced by this, infusing the story with haunting mystery and the delightfully strange blend of horror and romance.

Comments
For those unfamiliar with Gothic Lolita, it is a fashion phenomenon in Japan that combines dark, Gothic style with baby doll cuteness. The creators of Petite Cossette had this very style in mind, infusing the Gothic literary genre fathered by Edgar Allen Poe with a delicate, beautiful atmosphere and allure. This Gothic Lolita style and tone can been seen most clearly in Cossette herself, a heroine who embodies both childlike beauty and deep angst.

Eiri, on the other hand, is an ordinary art student who finds himself entranced by Cossette's beauty and sadness. In fact, the manga takes great pains to reintroduce Eiri as an ordinary young man who works with his boss at the antique shop, makes sarcastic comments, and hesitates before promising to help Cossette.

The manga also captures a simplicity not found in the anime. Since Cossette's cursed belongings are tainted by her vengeful spirit, Eiri's involvement puts him in danger, but as is the case in many a meaningful manga, he chooses to face danger anyway to help Cossette find peace. In this first volume, at least, I think the relationship of these two characters is healthier and more endearing, since it focuses on a man with a strong mind offering simple courage to Cossette's restless soul. As a result, Cossette and Eiri's encounter and subsequent mission make for a ghostly romance that weaves a dark, suspenseful, and yet tender tale of redemption.

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