Spirit’s Bloom Review

“The mysterious origins of how webcomic dahlia-darling Erma’s parents came together.

After innumerable requests from fans, asking how an apparently average human man could meet (let alone fall in love with!) a mysterious dark spirit, Brandon Santiago presents the much-anticipated backstory. Learn how they met! How they came to care for each other! And the beginning of Erma herself!”

 

spiritsbloom

 

I adore the Erma webcomic and with the intriguing family reunion story currently unfolding decided to pull the trigger on getting this print only prequel showing how Erma’s parents met.

I’m a huge fan of “slice-of-life” style stories and tend to be perfectly fine with deliberately placed stories that know when to get out of their own way an let the narrative unfold naturally. But honestly this is almost too minimalist, feeling like something was a bit lacking. It’s always a tough thing to balance as the author knows all the details, so the line of providing too much information versus too little can be tricky to navigate. I personally felt Santiago was too sparing and secretive with information in this case.

There were more questions than answers regarding Emiko’s family situation, as well as huge new cliffhangers and ominous foreshadowing. For something that was seemed poised to fill in some context for long running questions it falls short, instead raising many more dangling mysteries than it addresses. Because of this it paradoxically feels both inessential and essential at the same time, containing a major plot point I don’t recall seeing yet in the main comic amid a story that otherwise seems to want to save important reveals for the regular comic.

All that said, there are still decent story threads here that span from cute and heartwarming to dark and ominous. It’s an enjoyable read with a handful of fantastic moments and a nice addition to Erma’s mythos overall. But at the same time I personally hoped for more from it and can’t help but wonder the heights it could’ve achieved with a tweaked approach.

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