Girls Talk Comics

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Girls Write Reviews - Cagaster vol 1

Cagaster's English publication was done through Ablaze Manga. It was writthen by and originally serialized and published by Kachou Hashimoto.

Cagaster is set in the year 2125 AD and in southwest Asia. Humanity has been struck down by a incurable disease that violently and rapidly transforms people into a bug. The disease spread rapidly, transforming people into massive and hungry bugs that proceeded to destroy human populations. The grew in number and grew in size and built horrifying nests in the ruins of cities. This upended society and gave rise to the Exterminators, bounty hunters who will take out these bugs... for a price. They are ruthless; they are cold; and apparently our hero Kidow is super young, super talented (and totally "not" a Mary Sue, am I right?) and the best Exterminator money could pay for.

We immediately see him in action, swooping, jumping, and slicing through the spine of a massive bug. I read this on Hoopla, and let me tell you, it made for a rather confusing series of panels. The action was impressive, but it was sure hard to follow when the app wants you to swipe left and yet you had to read right to left. I use certain cues - like which direction I'm flipping pages - to help me determine which direction I'm reading the text bubbles. (I sure hope this problem exists only on the Hoopla app, and not with Ablaze Manga.) When I figured out the right reading direction, I reread the action scenes; it was pretty impressive.

Much of this first volume is world building and introducing characters. Our hero is Kidow; he lives with an ecclectic group of outcasts; and now has an innocent, young, lady ward he has been entrusted to keep safe. Her name is Ilie and she soon proves herself to be innocent and stronger than she looks. But, her character design and age sure do make me uncomfortable. Kidow is only 17 years old and Ilie seems younger; Kidow is immediately goaded about taking an interest in women; and Ilie is later teased for seeming to fall for him. They are set up for a romance right from the start, and Ilie is immediately framed as "needing" him. Honestly, it's kinda boring. Ilie is a fun character, as she shows over time, but she is only a Damsel in Distress in Volume 1. I have no idea if that changes in the future volumes.

This volume is full of intrigue, too. A cannibal is running amok through Kidow's city and is targeting Exterminators - with Kidow as a special target. Whoever is hunting Exterminators reveals that their search is for Kidow in particular. They also clearly demonstrate how willing they are to kill to find him and even send him a threatening letter asking them to meet up at sunset - but guess what! That's also where Ilie will be after she solved her own problems! While Kidow was out killing bugs, Ilie took on the toughest challenge yet: proving herself to the local children by beating them - IN A GAME OF TAG! Unfortunately for Ilie and all these orphaned children, their game ends where - and when - this confrontation is meant to begin.

What a cliffhanger, am I right? Here's the deal: I'm going to keep reading this. It's pretty midtier, but it's free through Hoopla and just predictable enough to be comfortable in this time of high stress. Sure, I might guess the direction of the plot, but the theme and setting is new enough that I will be entertained. It's worth picking up, maybe checking out, and if y'all try the anime on Netflix, will you please let me know if it's worth it?

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