“The true colors of reality…”
Eleven year old Emma lives a happy and idyllic life as one of the oldest orphans at Grace Field House under the supervision of a loving caretaker… paying no mind to the rigorous daily tests, identification numbers on everyone’s necks, or surrounding wall with a locked entrance gate they are forbidden to venture beyond.
I only had the barest inkling of what to expect from this going in, and certainly wasn’t quite prepared for what awaited me. The first chapter sets the stage in excellent fashion, both feeling like it spends enough time introducing the status quo and getting into the gruesome details of what the story is really about fast.
I won’t get into specific spoilers, but fair warning: this is a dark, tense read. Grace Field House becomes the scene of a cat and mouse game, wonderfully engaged in by smart, differing agents acting with a variety of goals and agendas. It already stands out among its genre (something awful lurking underneath a seemingly perfect life), as the layers and levels at play even throughout just this first volume are impressive and intriguing.
The art is intentionally exaggerated often, which works sometimes to increase the impact and eeriness of certain situations but feels extremely odd and jarring at others. Hopefully it’ll even out a bit in future volumes.
There are moments of info dumping, but given the nature of the story it’s somewhat unavoidable and done well enough. Several characters are trying to plan several steps ahead and outthink each other covertly, and the author does a great job of balancing this and the ways in which they interact with / run afoul of each other.
Strong start overall for this creepy, layered manga.