Review Vol.1 From The Red Fog

The pan manga of Panini editions undeniably maintains a policy of authors, in particular by publishing works by Akimi Yoshida, or Tsutomu Takahashi, to name but a few. If they are renowned figures, this policy is also valid for the “newbies” to join the Panini team. This is the case of Mosae Nohara who returns to us after BEM with his latest series.

From the Red Fog is a story published in Japan since 2020 in the G-Fantasy of Square Enix editions, and which currently has 4 volumes in Japan (the fifth being about to appear at the time of these lines written). After an altruistic manga, the author offers us this time a dark and bloody work in which the protagonist has nothing of a figure capable of attracting our empathy…

The story is that of Ruwanda, in 19th century England. Throughout his childhood, the boy was sequestered by his noble mother with psychopathic impulses, taking advantage of her offspring to take care of the corpses she left behind. Over time, the boy developed a fascination with blood and murder, to the point of becoming his only desires in life. When her mother is arrested, Ruwanda takes the opportunity to escape. Left to himself, it is by adopting a double face that he will have to survive: Faced with ordinary mortals, he is a wise and smiling teenager, but a moment of bewilderment is enough for an ordinary individual to let him become the prey of this being who satiates himself with murder.

A very morbid synopsis, therefore, for a first opus which is just as morbid, and especially on its first two chapters. Mosae Nohara does not intend to leave his reader in a state of tranquillity, which is felt both by the macabre aesthetics that his line exudes here and by many characters with glaucous fascinations, whose hobbies juggle between torture and the killing of living species. From the outset, From the Red Fog promises to be a title not to be put in all hands, and to be reserved for a mature readership in search of thrills. And even for this part, the beginning of the story can quickly show limits, both because the profiles of unstable characters multiply and because the first two episodes do not have the ambition to question their actions… or almost . However, giving this volume a chance in its entirety is perhaps essential to grasping the full potential of the series.

On its second half, the shutter finds a better balance and more nuances. While more moderate characters enter the scene, a whole framework of organized crime sets in, enough to give Ruwanda a better environment in which to evolve. From then on, the author finds good ideas to flesh out her scenario. Because one of the pitfalls that the work had to avoid is to fall into a banal one-upmanship of the morbid without any bottom, which the end of the work makes it possible to avoid. To this are therefore added some narrative issues which complete the unique nuance of the protagonist revealed in the first chapter: The latter is deliberately criminal and without morals, but things could well change according to future volumes. Some characters related to him are still alive, and you just have to take a look at the covers of the volumes published in Japan to understand that they will be of interest later on.

So, it is by detaching itself from the free macabre that From the Red Frog finds a better way, all served by the very black paw of the mangaka. A disturbing first volume at first, but which finally manages to find a narrative and thematic interest over the chapters. We are therefore tempted to give a chance to the story which, if well developed, has something to satisfy.

On the publishing side, Panini serves up a perfectly decent copy. We particularly salute the balanced lettering of Lara Iacucci as well as the effective translation in the tone of Akiko Indei and Pierre Fernande.

Review Vol.1 From The Red Fog – Manga