Sunday, November 25, 2007

'The Tarot Café' Vol. 3 by Sang-Sun Park & Jung-Su Kim

ISBN: 1595325573
Format: Paperback, 192pp
Publisher: TOKYOPOP
Pub. Date: September 2005
Price: $9.99

The Tarot Café continues in volume three of this seven part series. Pamela and Aaron, the werewolf with the painful past who now works at the café, are getting along well, even if he is a bit nosey. In the last volume, we were introduced to a character named Ash who wears a face out of Pamela’s past, a long dead love that is somehow tied into the fact that she cannot die herself.

In this volume, the relationship between Pamela and Belus, which has been hinted at as being something more, starts to come out into the light. Though they aren’t lovers and not exactly friends, we have yet to see what the exact circumstances are. We learn that Pamela must collect all the pieces of Berial’s necklace, though who or what that person is remains a mystery, as part of a contract between herself and Belus.

What this contract entails we haven’t learned yet beyond the fact that Pamela and Belus are tied to each other. Though Pamela cannot die, she can still be hurt and does feel pain. Belus can feel Pamela’s pain and tries to protect her as best he can. He has already come to her rescue several times, the last being from episode seven, “Witch Hunt,” when Ash and Pamela were abducted and almost killed.

Episode eight, “The Star of Jealousy,” dips into Pamela’s distant past. In the year 1529, Pamela met a King who fell in love with a young slave but let his jealous emotions destroy the one thing he cared for. This story relates how Pamela came to have one of the major pieces of Beria’s necklace, a beautiful blue stone that holds the reddish ting of jealousy.

Episode nine, “Lady of the Lake,” is the light hearted bit of volume three, as well as providing a little comic relief. While so far most of the stories in The Tarot Café have been bittersweet, this one actually has a happy ending. A broke collage student falls in love with a water spirit but becomes so wrapped up in giving her material things that he doesn’t realize all she really wants is his time.

In episode ten, “Dragon Heart,” we learn the more about Ash and Pamela’s love affair. Though this new Ash resembles the one from the past, and could very well be, he seems to be suffering from amnesia - though he does seem to know Pamela from somewhere and have plans of his own for her. He also knows Belus, though what their connection is remains to be seen.

When another face shows up out of Pamela’s past, she is stunned. Alecto was Ash’s best friend and for hundreds of years was convinced that Pamela had killed Ash. But when Alecto comes to take his revenge on Pamela and sees the current reincarnation of Ash, or whatever he is, Alecto changes his plans.

The art, as with the previous volumes, continues to be wonderful. Though this volume lacked a lot of the full-page carefully drawn characterizations that the first two held, it does feature a few. There is more going on with each of the characters than meets the eye, and the story is really starting to pick up. Pamela isn’t the only one with a dark past, and it’s obvious that Belus and Ash both have hidden agendas. How it all relates to Pamela and Aaron, who is still looking for Nebiros, only time will tell.


Nothingman said...

That is very confusing, makes me want to read it even more :) cheers!


T.C. said...

Ditto to Nothingman. Very confusing, but it sounds much more fun because of it!

Yoga Gal said...

What Tarot card do you see yourself as? I see myself as the High Priestess. Love reading your blog!

Katie said...

Nothingman, yeah it is kind of confusing... it makes more sense when you're reading it though.

Katie said...

T.C. yeah, I love these. lots of fun.

Yoga Gal, I don't know too much about Tarot cards. I'm learing a little from these manga, each story starts with a reading and then the cards are explained. Which is very cool. I don't think I know enough though see myself as one. I'll have to look them up and check it out.