The Girl From The Other Side (Vol. 1, Vol. 2. & Vol. 3) by Nagabe
Those who live inside the wall are safe from the curse. The curse that turns human beings into hideous beasts. But as of late, it seems that more and more humans are showing signs of infection.
Those who live on the outside – outsiders – have been cursed. Many are already dead, but there are a few who live. They have one thing in common: they long for a pure white soul. All but one: Teacher.
Teacher isn’t like the others infected with the curse. Teacher is nice. Teacher doesn’t act like an animal or a beast. Teacher is the guardian of Shiva, a little girl from the other side who has been abandoned on the outside.
Teacher does his best to make sure that Shiva is cared for and to ensure that she never ever touches him. Touching him can lead to infection. But what he can’t stop is a stranger from touching her.
Teacher is convinced that since Shiva has been touched by a cursed outsider she too will start to show symptoms. But she feels fine, and she looks fine to. How is it possible that this human girl, who has been touched by an outside, not be cursed?
Needing answers Teacher and Shiva set out to find the other outsider. But what they find is something more disturbing: other outsiders who are here to steal Shiva’s pure soul.
He can’t let that happen, fleeing towards the safety of home, Teacher and Shiva meet another stranger along the way. Only this time, she isn’t a stranger … she’s Shiva’s aunt, the one who abandoned her on the otherside.
Shiva’s aunt has returned. And with her is the promise that they’ll return home to the Inside safely. Teacher isn’t certain that Shiva’s aunt is being truthful, but what choice does he have? He has to let her go.
But when an Outsider – another beast – is found in Shiva’s village on the inside, it’s up to Teacher to save Shiva.
But is it too late? Is Shiva in danger of contracting the curse.
A little while ago I discovered the wide world of manga. It’s fair to say that I went on a bit of a binge after reading and loving a few. I checked out a bunch from my local library, and I even bought a few. Some I checked out/bought I loved and some not so much. The Girl From the Other Side by Nagabe was one of those manga that I randomly bought.
I picked up volume one randomly, mainly because I liked the cover. After reading the very brief synopsis it sounded interesting enough to purchase. And I’m so glad I did.
At the core The Girl From the Other Side is a fairy tale. It’s a story set in a faraway land with unimaginable creatures – some good and some bad that roam said land. But what I personally love most is that in many respects this is a story of opposites: good and evil, nature and nurture. It’s the kind of story that I easily love getting sucked into.
Because this series is a manga, it doesn’t rely heavily on the words. While sparse, the text that is present is powerful. Each word is calculated. Each sentence measured. And it’s leading up to something … but at this point (since I’ve only read the first three volumes) I’m not exactly sure what.
But more powerful that the text are the images. They may all be illustrated in black and white, but they are vividly bright and boldly rich with context. This is a story that doesn’t rely on words to tell a mesmerizing story; the images alone tell a story as well.
One of the main reasons why I enjoy The Girl From the Other Side, isn’t only because it’s a dark story, but because it makes me think. But not just think about what’s going on in the plot, but also about how good and evil, nature and nurture function in our very own world.
There is a lot to love about this series. And as you can tell, I’m definitely hooked. I am thoroughly looking forward to the future volumes I will read. If you’re into dark fairy tales, with one innocent character and a dark mysterious beast, than I think you’d like The Girl From the Other Side.
(Cover images from Goodreads)