My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Digital ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Say hi to Morrey Gibbs! A fisher-boy in a flooded world overrun with dangerous mutated animals known as “anomals,” he’s got his own problems to worry about. Namely, how everything he touches turns to gold! Sure it sounds great, but gold underpants aren’t exactly stylish — or comfortable!
Together with his otter buddy and new inventor friend Shelly, Morrey’s on a quest to rid himself of his blessing-turned-curse and undo the tragedy it caused. That is of course, if they can dodge the treasure-hungry bounty hunters…
This was so cute okay??
I’ve actually been a fan of Nana Yaa and her art for awhile now. Her style is one of my absolute favourites (especially when it comes to manga styles), because there’s something about it that just is both gorgeous and full of motion and emotion? I love both her ‘proper’ character designs, and the cute little chibi (??) styles she uses to exaggerate emotions and responses.
Also holy backgrounds, Batman! Nana has always showed a particular attention to detail, never shying away from really complex designs, and boy did it show in the backgrounds of this book. I honestly spent a lot of time just admiring them while I read…
I’d heard about Goldfisch as her more “proper” work, but until now it was only ever available in German, which I sort of don’t understand… So when I saw this book come up on Netgalley I was quite excited! (It published in English as of January, so English audiences are in luck!!)
Fortunately, she surpassed even my raised expectations. The premise — a boy cursed with King Midas touch, trying to get rid of it — is combined with an incredible setting — some dystopian?? yet also not dystopian future, where the water levels have risen creating these islands and swaps. In this future, radiation/toxicity has caused a number of mutations amongst those not born immune, which leads to a mix of characters disfigured by contact with the water and a number with superhuman powers (like the ability to heal with a touch). Throw in some really lovely characters (thus far) and you’ve got a recipe for something brilliant.
I really do enjoy all of the characters I’ve met so far. I mean, I love girls on a mission, especially capable girls like Shelley, and Zaka, the healer (my grumpy little son) is the perfect balance to Morrey. Of course, I’ve already got a particular soft spot for Morrey. I mean he’s a loveable little shit, and I love how earnest and optimistic he is (without being entirely naive?). He seems to be just growing into his powers, and I really like that you see him learning the extent of his control (and the limitations) and the consequences of the mistakes he’s made.
Also I’m usually kinda iffy about animal side kicks, buuut Otto is kind of the best. I like that he presents a reasonable solution to a lot of the questions about how Morrey is able to operate with the Midas touch. (I mean, someone has gotta help him button up his clothes…)
I was pleased to get a glimpse of a deeper, darker story. On one hand I’ve got to say it’s nice to see something mostly?? lighter from Nana, and I’m high key scared that this means this is going to destroy me with later volume. It is nice, for now, to have something that kinda feels like the manga I used to read — all exciting adventures without angst for the sake of angst.
Buuuut I like the depth that this story is already showing. I mean, with the bounty hunters and the ‘treasures’ used as bargaining tools, and then the mystery surrounding his father, and the problem of his brother, there’s a lot going on that isn’t necessarily as black and white as adventuring boy on a mission.
I’m really interested to see where she takes the plot from here, mostly because I know it means more gorgeous art and character development… And also because I have my theories but I need to know who Morrey’s father actually was.
I will absolutely be checking out the second volume as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on it, and in the meantime I recommend this for any fans of manga (esp if you’re in the mood for a bit of a pretty nostalgia).