Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Palette of 12 Secret Colors, vol. 4

The story: We finally learn a little more about Dr. Guell and his past when his two best friends visit Opal. The two research scientists/siblings/palettes, Gosti and Mage, help focus this volume on Dr. Guell. Their visit also inspires Cello to think about her future and what she'd like to do once she graduates. The story closes with a tense moment between Cello and Dr. Guell. And, again, there's another cute one-shot, titled "Full-Fledged Housekeeper," about a fox spirit serving as a housekeeper.

Reaction: I liked Mage and Gosti, especially since Gosti's conversation with Cello made her think more deeply upon her future. It was also pretty funny when Cello was sick from "brain fever," which happens to people "when a normally dormant brain is suddenly used." And while I know it's bad form to enjoy the fox spirit side-story more than the actual volume, I was left wishing there was more to "Full-Fledged Housekeeper."

Deep thoughts: I think it's great to have another strong female character in Gosti. While Cello's mother and grandmother are strong women, they're seen infrequently and are carpenters, not palettes. Especially after the initial chapter, where the female teacher cum burglar felt inferior, it's nice to see a successful woman who was able to achieve her dreams of being a palette and leaving Opal.

Artwork: I loved the character designs for Gosti and Mage and their bird partners, especially considering the huge differences in size (Mage's partner is an ostrich, while Gosti's bird fits in her cleavage). I also thought the fox spirit in "Full-Fledged Housekeeper" was super cute and reminiscent of Shippo from Inuyasha.

The verdict: If only... I liked the focus on the new characters, but, again, it was the relationship between Dr. Guell and Cello that got to me. Sure, she's a little older, but now she's curious as to the tense moment with Guell and why it made her feel the way she did. Guell also alludes to what she's doing to him (presumably teasing him), which I can't really say I support. If it weren't for Gosti and the one-shot at the end, I don't know that I would have liked this volume very much. The Palette of 12 Secret Colors is available in the U.S. from CMX.

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