Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Juana and the Dragonnewts' Seven Kingdoms Vol. 1 Review

Set in a distant future where humanity has been an extinct species for generations and dragons have gained sentience, culture, and high-level reasoning and emotional lives. A junk scavenger named Nid finds a human girl named Juana knowing not what to do with the girl in a city where Nid is discriminated against because he is a Carnivore in a city mostly populated by Herbivores. Along with fears for Juana's safety. Nid and Juana set out to hopefully discover more about the human girl while also avoiding perils of having such a rare "creature" that others might seek to use, abuse, or own. Juana and the Dragonnewts' Seven Kingdoms' is one of the stranger series I have read feeling at home with such oddball series like Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui or Girls Last Tour by Tsukumizu. A world where discrimination is still rife and barriers to species and language keep real connections from being had between Juana and Nid. Even the audience has a hard time connecting to Juana due to her dialogue all being in monosyllabic Spanish phrases and possibly French and some Portuguese. Still, it's not hard to be charmed by the little girl who wants to travel and her easily persuaded protector. Feeling in places like Kino's Journey with a focus on questions of humanity and even a side story that chronicles what is really important in life and mortality with stark and heartfelt emotion leaving the timeless question of Mark 8:36 ringing in my brain, not something I would have expected but this series is full of surprises in the best way. World building is effortless and flows naturally never feeling like the audience is being talked at about the past. Feeling like a thoughtful look at many issues and themes. This series may be a little hard to follow and sometimes the art does feel muddy due to the gray tone. Yet the narrative moves along well while also introducing side characters from the four-armed Dragonewt seamstress Remi. Who takes an immediate shine to Juana even going so far as to design weather safety gear out of an old space suit that Nid's old teacher the sly merchant Zeddan had in storage. A hearty recommendation for a series that can be at times whimsical, thoughtful, and tense it left me satisfied with the story but also wanting to know desperately what happens in the next volume.

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