By: Nana Yaa
Translator: Michael Waaler
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
I love shonen. It’s probably my absolute favorite genre of manga. So when I received a copy of a newly translated shonen manga I jumped on it. Goldfisch by Nana Yaa is a great action story set in a slightly dystopian world with endearing characters.
Goldfischis a story about Morrey, a young boy who has the ability to turn whatever he touches into gold. Of course, this is more of a curse than anything else, leaving Morrey unable to do much without his otter friend to help him. Together with Shelly, a new friend and inventor, Morrey sets off to break this curse. With bounty hunters hot on his trail, Morrey and Shelly must navigate their flooded, ruined world overrun with mutated creatures in order to turn Morrey back to normal once and for all.
The world the story is set in is an interesting one. There is something dark in this world’s past, something that is hinted at but not explicitly stated, at least not yet. Much of the world is flooded, but the water can’t be swam in for fear of contamination. Great beasts changed by this water attack indiscriminately, protecting their lairs from all who dare trespass. People have also been changed, either through a lack of immunity to the water or else seemingly born with special powers, such as the healing abilities certain characters exhibit. It is clear that something happened, something catastrophic, but not what.
Morrey is a great character. He’s enthusiastic, friendly, but sometimes doesn’t think things through. Behind his smiles is a past that isn’t quite as care-free as we might think. The nature behind his powers, the mistakes he’s made, and the knowledge that all might not be as it seemed with people Morrey trusted all come to light.
A rather lighthearted, fun story begins to get darker as the story continues. Bounty hunters are searching for Morrey, and getting rid of his Midas Touch curse is proving to be much more complex than either Morrey or his friends suspected.
The art in Goldfisch was fantastic. The colored pages included at the start of the volume are gorgeous. Plenty of fun, wonderful moments are included. My favorite example is a moment when Morrey physically tears through the page to voice his displeasure at something Shelly says.
A wide range of myth and legends are incorporated Goldfisch. The most obvious is the story of King Midas who turned everything he touched to gold. Plenty of the monsters are simply that – regular creatures that have been somehow changed by the water. Others are based on creatures from myth. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so terrified by a water nymph, of all things. I always like references to mythology and seeing myth used in new ways, and this manga certainly delivered.
The only gripes I have are with the English translation of Goldfisch by TokyoPop. If you are familiar with TokyoPop’s older titles you will most likely know exactly what I’m talking about. These are the generally completely avoidable mistakes that have always plagued their releases. ‘Fail day’ isn’t localized, making the dialogue feel awkward. Morrey is misspelled in one place, only having one r while there are two everywhere else. On is misspelled as one in another place. However, this is hardly a fault on the mangaka, but must be addressed nonetheless.
I really, really loved Goldfisch Vol. 1 by Nana Yaa. This is a series I will absolutely be continuing with, and one I hope you will read as well. If you like shonen you will love this manga.