Lettera Vol: 1
Writer/Artist: Studio Kosen
Publisher: Chromatic Press
Book Type: Ebook
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes
Garnet Rune is a powerful witch with a bad attitude. After ticking off the wrong person, she is cursed so that whenever she uses her magic, a poisonous tattoo is etched into her flesh--enough tattoos, and the poisonous ink will kill her. Of course, instead of taking this as an opportunity to right past wrongs and fix her behavior, Rune sets off on a quest to find the witch who cursed her and make her pay!
Studio Kosen's comedic fantasy series is now available in English for the first time, with new pages every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!
Studio Kosen's name is synonymous with other manga I have reviewed, mainly of the yaoi variety (their Saihoshi: The Guardian and Stallion being favorites), now here is a new series for fans of their unique manga style to get interested in. From the off, Garnet Rune knows how to rub others up the wrong way, and her cocky ways get the better of her when she is confronted by the witch who shouts Lettera! to seal her doom. With that one word, she is cursed and has no power of her own. The witch is long gone, but if Garnet can find her, she can have her power returned.
For those who remember Saihoshi, Kosen have a way of using humour in their manga (and cute chibi characters) to lighten the mood of the manga in general, and this lighthearted way of portraying Garnet here gave me a welcome flashback to Kosen's earlier works. Lost in the middle of the desert, no one said that finding the witch would be easy, in fact it looks like Garnet is going through hell trying to locate her and the occasional monster isn't making things easier either. I did notice one thing, Kosen seem to be very interested in body tattoos as Sastre the guardian from Saihoshi had tattoos all over his back when he pressed his twin swords onto his body. In Lettera, Garnet now has tattoos that grow more so every time she tries to use her powers and if she uses them to excess, one day her body will be consumed with black - and she will die.
The artwork has only been subtly changed for Garnet who is obviously a young woman, while the other male characters still have a very appealing androgynous look about them that fans will still be interested in seeing. As is the norm for Kosen, their pace is fast-moving as there is plenty of ground to get through with the story as well as some fun one-liners for Garnet to get off her chest when she gets annoyed. Her journey has taken her as far as Valoria city, the one place she hopes she can get far enough to find what she is looking for, but, like in computer games, she keeps coming across obstacles in the form of warrior men, or female guardians.
Garnet thinks she has the perfect opportunity to take hostage a young boy who she thinks is the son of the witch who cursed her, but things do not always go to plan when someone else is also intent on making sure this doesn't happen. Garnet's story keeps the interest while Kosen aren't afraid of putting their characters in danger and like to use new and crafty angles for each panel of art. This is a new manga I would recommend to anyone who likes adventure, female lead characters, witches and magic.