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The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, A…

The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, A Rún, Volume 1: Once Upon A…

by Nagabe

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In a world of those cursed who live outside the wall and those who live inside the wall in fear of being cursed, The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún is a quiet fairy tale about a young girl, Shiva, who was abandoned in the forest by her aunt and raised by one of the Outsiders (those who are cursed) who she calls Teacher. Teacher goes to great lengths to protect Shiva from both other Outsiders and himself (all it takes is one touch from an Outsider to become cursed), and Shiva spends her days waiting for her Auntie to come take her home. Teacher knows that there is very little chance that Shiva's aunt will ever come to bring her home, so he tries his best to fill Shiva's days with lessons and fun.

When a mysterious Outsider invades their home and touches Shiva, Teacher and Shiva embark on a journey to discover the source and possible cure of the curse. Unbeknownst to either, Shiva may be at the center of a prophecy of the church of those on the Inside, and Teacher may have to go extremes he didn't know possible to protect Shiva. But is Shiva a child of the Inside or the Outside, and is her role in the balance of darkness and light beyond Teacher's control?

I absolutely love this series. The art is beautiful and the story is paced perfectly, a nice balance of quiet tranquil storytelling and the urgency that Teacher feels in keeping Shiva safe. The mystery surrounding Shiva and her role in the battle between the darkness and the light is intriguing. I will definitely be picking up subsequent volumes in this series. ( )
  tapestry100 | Jan 24, 2018 |
The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún by Nagabe was easily one of my most anticipated manga debuts of 2017. Nagabe is known as a creator of somewhat unusual or unorthodox manga, The Girl form the Other Side easily fitting into that category. (Nagabe's work was actually first brought to my attention thanks to a series of beautifully drawn boys' love doujinshi featuring birds.) The first volume of The Girl from the Other Side was originally published in Japan in 2016, while the English-language edition was released by Seven Seas early in 2017. The quality of the physical release is admittedly a little disappointing–the cover stock feels ephemeral and ink tends to smudge and transfer between pages (granted, this does at least seem to be thematically appropriate)–but I'm thrilled that The Girl from the Other Side is being translated at all. It's also worth noting that the manga does share some obvious parallels with another unusual series, Kore Yamazaki's The Ancient Magus' Bride, but even considering their similarities they are quite different from each another.

Once upon a time, two kingdoms existed in a world divided into the Outside and the Inside. Humans live on the Inside behind a wall intended to keep the monstrous Outsiders and the dark curse associated with them at bay. Coming into contact with an Outsider is to be avoided at all costs; to do otherwise means risking ones' life and humanity. But the darkness of the Outside is slowly encroaching upon the light of the Inside. Humans are succumbing to a cursed disease and are abandoning entire villages as they unsuccessfully try to flee from it. Out of fear and suspicion, people have started to turn against one another in a desperate effort to survive. In the midst of this turmoil is a young girl, Shiva. Unexpectedly left behind in an area which is now considered a part of the Outside, she is waiting to be reunited with her family. In a peculiar twist of fate, Shiva is being guarded and cared for by an inhuman Outsider who she simply calls "Teacher." The circumstances are unusual and dangerous for them both as Shiva's safety becoming more and more difficult to guarantee the longer she remains on the Outside, set apart from others.

The fact that Shiva's very life is in danger is clear from the beginning of The Girl from the Other Side. As a sort of prologue, the manga opens with her being warned of the curse brought by the touch of an Outsider while the first panel of the story-proper shows her lying listless on the stump of a tree. She has only fallen asleep, but the visual cues of the scene are closely reminiscent of death. An ominous feeling of uncertainty–is Shiva actually alive or is she dead, how much of her world is real and how much of it is a fairytale–pervades The Girl from the Other Side. Shiva is young enough that she doesn't completely understand everything that is happening to her and doesn't know enough to be afraid. But as she experiences more her awareness grows, even when Teacher tries to shield her from life's harsher realities. Likewise, readers gain more knowledge as the underlying truths of Shiva's situation are slowly revealed. However, they don't have Teacher to soften the blows for them. To some extent Shiva's innocence protects her from the tragedy and heartbreak inherent to The Girl from the Other Side which is so obvious from an outside perspective.

The Girl from the Other Side is incredibly atmospheric, a beautiful and surprisingly gentle and charming story which simultaneously manages to be disconcerting and unsettling. The series is very dark, in both theme and illustration. There is a tremendous amount of ink on the manga's pages–the oppressive shadow of death which haunts the story is reinforced visually, the darkness permeating the scenes. Shiva, with her light-colored hair and dressed in white, stands apart from the unwelcoming environment. She is obviously out of place, separate from what is around her. In contrast, Teacher is clothed in black and at times is barely discernible from the background. But although an Outsider and demonic in form, Teacher is Shiva's only hope, trying to safeguard her from anyone who would seek to do her harm. Their strange yet sweet and endearing relationship is core to The Girl on the Other Side. The life that they have, no matter how impermanent, carries great weight as they face an uncertain future together. The Girl from the Other Side is a gorgeous and striking work; I can't wait for the next volume to be released.

Experiments in Manga ( )
  PhoenixTerran | Apr 28, 2017 |
I was drawn to the cover of this manga at the bookstore and delighted by the description and the illustration throughout. This is described as a “quiet fairy tale” and that is a wonderful description of this book. I really enjoyed this a lot; it’s mysterious and very different from other manga I have read.

The illustration is detailed and beautiful and I loved the scenes between Shiva and the demon, Teacher, that takes care of her. The scenes between them are sweet and humorous all at once, and I enjoyed the father-daughter relationship they have developed. Teacher takes care of Shiva with what seems to be a some puzzled bemusement as he learns to navigate her desire for tea parties and storytelling. Shiva’s childish enthusiasm was sweet and contagious and fun to read about.

The whole story is shrouded in mystery. Some of the mythology behind how the Outside and the Inside became separate is given; however there is a lot of mystery around this Curse. Supposedly if an Outsider touches an Insider then the Insider is cursed to change into an evil demonic beast. This has caused the Insiders to hate and hunt the Outsiders.

The book ends on a cliffhanger which has me dying to know what happens to Shiva next. I loved how this story flowed and how sweet, mysterious, and humorous it was. This was a very unique manga and I definitely plan on continuing the series.

Overall this is an amazing manga that is very different from other fantasy mangas I have read. This manga builds a unique world around the quiet and fairy-tale-like life of two creatures that aren’t meant to live in the same world. The illustration is beautiful and easy to follow and I enjoyed it a lot. I would recommend to those who enjoy fantasy manga and those to whom the description of “a quiet fairy-tale” manga appeals. ( )
  krau0098 | Mar 31, 2017 |
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"In a land far away, there were two kingdoms: the Outside, where twisted beasts roamed that could curse with a touch, and the Inside, where humans lived in safety and peace. The girl and the beast should never have met, but when they do, a quiet fairytale begins"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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