Manga Review: Fallen (Volume 1), by Ogawa Burukku

Fallen is a webcomic I found in self-published book form at a local anime convention a few months ago. The artist is a young American woman living in Japan. Her main sources of inspiration are "magical girl" anime, but she puts a fierce new twist on the concept.

In Fallen, a bunch of girls wake up somewhere in caves, naked, and don't know who they are. Some weird misadventures then put them in an abandoned school building in hospital gowns, but the amnesia about their identities remains. A little gerbil is there, true to the magical girl formula, to explain to them that they have kick-ass magical powers they just need to remember they have. Of course, unlike in most anime, they're far from complacent in this "because destiny!" form of recruitment, but they start to, through the course of their adventures in this first volume, become aware of their powers, names, identities, and mission.

It's an interesting and entertaining read. The main conflict in this volume is between two of the main characters, Arma and Lamia. It's a "tomboy and girly girl" type of conflict, but it doesn't make either side wrong just for being different from the other, so I appreciated the finesse involved in that. This manga was a fun experience, and I'd like to read more installments of it. On the other hand, it wasn't too original, because this kind of story has been done before, but this artist put a lot of heart into her version of it.

4 stars for Fallen, Vol. 1

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