Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Apothecarius Argentum, v.1

By Tomomi Yamashita
Published in the U.S. by CMX

Slugline: From enslaved food taster to free apothecary -- but things only get more complicated for Argent.

At last, an explanation for the hair color of "platinums" -- it's a side effect of being acclimated to poisons. Argent is a "basilisk", a slave raised on toxins until he's toxic himself (a story idea explored long ago by, believe it or not, Nathaniel Hawthorne in "Rappaccini's Daughter"), used as a food taster for a young princess, Primula, whose kingdom is under a great deal of pressure.

Escaped and/or freed by the princess (there's some difference of opinion), he returns as a healer to help rather than kill. But it's never that simple for a basilisk.

The art is fairly standard. The plot has some non-surprises but also some good, unpleasantly realistic moments. The same can be said of the characters. It's set in a generically European fantasy world and the violence is indeed mild as noted on the cover, so I'm interpreting their age rating as 13+.

Apothecarius Argentum, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Miranda

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