The Girl from the Other Side

The Girl from the Other Side vol 1 cover artAn outsider's touch is a curse.  If one touches you (even a little), you become an outsider.  A hideous monster, doomed to live in the outside away from humankind.  To the humans (insiders) living in walled kingdoms, the outsiders are a plague.  Better to be dead than be transformed, and anyone suspected of being infected by an outsider is put to death.

In this world Shiva should not exist.  She's a young uncursed human child, but she’s been abandoned in the outside.  She's found by an outsider she calls Teacher.  He warns her about the curse and promises to take care of her.  But how long can Shiva live in the outside before she is cursed?  And why did her family abandon her to a fate worse than death?

If the synopsis of The Girl from the Outside by Nagabe isn't sufficiently creepy for you, look at that cover.  That's Shiva and Teacher, and the entire book looks like that.  The art switches between predominantly grey and black to more traditional white and black scenes.  The shading gives the story a sinister feel even though the story itself tends to be pretty sweet.  Shiva is a typical kid who wants to explore, play, and have tea parties.  The fact that Teacher is a monster doesn't matter to her.  But living in the outside means that Shiva is always in danger, even if she doesn't know it.  I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending of volume one made me want to immediately go read volume two.

There's not a lot of manga out there like this.  From the unusual artwork to the story that's both sweet and a bit morbid, it's a slow mystery with a little adventure that you can tell is laying the groundwork for some big reveals later on.


Lauren C.