Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: Tarot Café

Title: Tarot Café (2002)
Author: Sang-Sun Park
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Shoujo, Shounen Ai, Supernatural
Volumes: 7

You voted and here it is, the first manga review...well, manhwa, which is almost the same thing. Anyway, the reason I wanted to do this is because I read a lot of manga and I know manga is just as in demand as anime. I don't get to share or recommend manga that often either. I've attempted a book review, but they didn't seem too popular. So, the only book reviews I do now are book to movie comparisons from time to time. Anyway, let's move on to the first manga review on Muddy Cult!

Meet Pamela, a tarot card reader who helps supernatural beings living in the human world. She'll help anyone, whether they're a love-stricken cat, a vampire spending eternal life running from his one true love, an unattractive waitress looking for the man of her dreams, or even a magician who creates a humanoid doll to serve the woman he loves. Although she is good-natured, there is a deep dark secret that she must deal with before she can move on to the next life. (Source: Tokyopop)

Every now and then, I want to try something new at my workplace, so I pick up interesting sounding series from the shelves. I also look through the library's collection to stop myself from buying manga for a certain amount of time. So, I've read a few manhwa in the past, so I don't discriminate against them in the least. Hopefully, I will be able to share my thoughts on them. When I began reading the first volume, I wasn't completely sure if I wanted to continue forward or not, but usually when I feel uncertain after reading the first volume, I read the next one to see where my feelings lie. Once I started reading the second volume, I had a clearer picture of what I felt about the series.

The story contains a lot of fantastical, horror-ish themes throughout. It has one overarching story dealing with Pamela's mysterious past and several subplots throughout each volume that involve the mystical and supernatural clients that visit Pamela for a reading. If you're not familiar with tarot cards and how to read them, the manhwa gives plenty of details during the readings for the characters and in between each chapter. So, this could be helpful for those who are interested in tarot. Because of the multiple plots throughout the series, it took me a while to really get into it and care about Pamela, but the characters are so intriguing and unique that it was hard not to give it another chance to delve into the story more. Initially, I wanted Tarot Cafe to be a standard main plot focus like most manga series, but after about the fourth volume, I was more adjusted to reading the clients' backstories that eventually connected to Pamela's past. The characters are very interested and you gradually began to care more and more for the reoccurring cast. I also find myself attaching to some of the smaller charaingers in the subplots as some of those stories were truly heartbreaking or admirable. Lastly, I really enjoyed the gothic art style of this manhwa. I think that was another reason I wanted to give it more of a chance while reading.

This is a fairly short series and I'm glad they didn't force it to be anything longer that what it ended up being. The story may take some adjusting to as it incorporates smaller stories in the larger plot. The characters are well rounded, whether they're part of the main cast or simply a client at Pamela's cafe. It may be a tiny bit confusing toward the final two volumes, but things do end in a clearer presentation. The art is unique and fitting for the subject matter. I would recommend this to those who are not oppose to tarot cards and enjoy a little romantic flare mixed with horror and supernatural elements.

Rating: 3/5

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