Cantarella #2 by You Higuri Manga Review


Title: Cantarella #2

Author:  You Higuri

Publisher:  Go! Comi

ISBN:  0976895749

May Contain Spoilers

Broken hearted by the revelation that his father traded his soul for his ambitions, Cesare Borgia leaps from a building in a futile effort to kill himself.  Fate intervenes, and he’s saved by Chiaro, who is also Michelotto, an assassin that has been ordered to kill  Cesare.  Unable to complete is his mission, Chiaro instead watches as the evil forces surrounding Cesare heal his wounds, strengthening their hold over their helpless pawn.  Chiaro is determined to protect his new friend, at least until he turns into the monster he’s destined to become.  If that happens, he’s sworn to kill him.

Filled with interesting characters and non-stop political wrangling, Cantarella deftly tells the story of Cesare Borgia, a tortured soul longing for one thing – the love of his father.  Confronted with the awful truth that his father, Cardinal Rodrigo, made a pact with the minions of Hell with his soul as the prize, Cesare makes a vain suicide attempt.  By intervening, Chiaro paves the way for Cesare’s destructive path.  Feeling sorry for the boy, Chiaro is determined to help Cesare overcome his inner demons, or kill him if he succumbs to them.

Turning the tables on his father, Cesare blackmails Rodrigo after the death of the Pope.  Though the death seemed natural, Cesare knows the truth – his father  poisoned the old man. And Cesare, older and much more sinister than Rodrigo recalls, will guide his father to the position he’s schemed to possess, as long as he obeys him.  And so the Devil, in the form of Cesare, will have his due.

Cesare has become so creepy!  Now that he’s an instrument for the evil forces to wreak havoc, he has stepped neatly into his new role.  Blackmailing his father, binding his sister in a loveless but advantageous marriage,  he thinks little of destroying people to attain his own goals.  Fanning the political flames, he’s biding his time, waiting for the moment when Italy, bickering amongst its own territories, is at her most defenseless.

Chiaro, having overheard Cesare’s conversation with his brother, Juan, feels sorry for the boy and can no longer carry out his mission to assassinate him. Chiaro is now Cesare’s fast companion, despite knowing the truth about the evil spirits within him.  Convinced that his fate can be changed, Chiaro will stand by, ready to kill him if he becomes too dangerous to continue to live.

This is an overlooked series with wonderful art and a deep, involved storyline.  Plus, look at that cover!  How many guys look that sexy holding a moldy old skull over their heads?

 Grade: B+

Rated for Older Teens 16+

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