At heart, then, Pavane is a horror manga, even if its packaging and art don’t give that impression. Shojo artist Koge-Donbo is known for creating cute and highly romantic manga (Pita-Ten), not gothic fare like this. Her art is so light-hearted, her heroines so visually childlike, that it works against the story’s themes. Even when we’re provided a flashback to our Bryonic protagonist’s damaged youth to learn why he hates and despises the world, the renderings of our young boy hero don’t quite bolster this — though the image of a small pox riddled Takenomaru come close. On more than one occasion, reading this book, I found myself thinking back to the manga adaptation of The Ring, another instance where art and subject matter were not in sync.
A very strange little title, then, that makes me curious (almost in spite of myself) as to where Koge-Dondo intended to take her handsome anti-hero. Too bad the publisher appears to have gone the way of Takenomaru’s first victim. . .