Every now and then a story will come about the evokes inspiration in new and unexpected ways. For myself, one such story came about last year in the form of a webcomic, a seemingly simple digital graphic novel whose story, characters, and artwork have been able to bring great wonder and emotions to my mind on a weekly basis. That story is “Blade Under Mask”.
“Blade Under Mask” is a story brought to us by a duo who call themselves The Torigami Team. Artists WhiteMantis and Marcotonio have worked together to weave a tale of mystery and drama, following the story of Asazaki Nae, a young maiko who dreams of one day becoming a renowned geisha. However, the young girl is plagued by strange dreams and horrific hallucinations that stand as unexplained obstacles in her path and cause her to question her very sanity.
The story itself takes place in the fictional world of Great Land, which is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese culture. The major difference being that all denizens of Great Land resemble anthropomorphic versions of insects. Asazaki Nae, for example, bares a striking and beautiful resemblance to a praying mantis. The rest of the world of Great Land, though inspired by Japan, boasts its own rich culture, deep religion, and history that makes it a world of its own. The currently ongoing story is filled with a great deal of intrigue and emotional depth, with many characters I at least can’t wait to read more about. And WhiteMantis’s use of colors and shadings in the artwork helps draw the eye about the page, evoking feelings of great beauty and movement in each scene. Or, great torment, with Nae’s hallucinations often portrayed with little color, or even simply in black and white.
All in all, “Blade Under Mask” is shaping up to be a wonderfully intrigue story, with the promise of mystery and intrigue in the near future. I for one can’t wait to follow this story along to the very end, riding through every twist and turn that is presented by The Torigami Team straight through to what could possibly be a very bitter end. In short, I highly recommend this graphic novel to anyone looking for a story with a bit of drama and intrigue.