GRAPHIC NOVEL
Othello
Volume 3

Author: Satomi Ikezawa
Artist: Satomi Ikezawa
Tanoshimi
RRP: 5.99, US $10.95
ISBN: 978 0 009 50649 2
Ages: 16+
Available 05 July 2007


Yaya is a shy, introverted sixteen year old girl, who, having lost her mother at a young age, lives with her over protective and emotionally invalidating father. School isn't much better as Yaya is the butt of her so-called friend's jokes. Although very aware of this Yaya is too timid to fight back. Only on the weekend, when she dresses in emulation of her favourite band Juliet and hangs around with similar people, does she get respite from the horror that is her week. All this is about to change when Nana hits town, self assured and unafraid she watches Yaya's back and rights the wrongs done to her. They should be the best of friend, if only they could meet. The problem with that is that via a child's magic compact it is Yaya who, unbeknownst to her, transforms into Nana...

Volume Three of Othello, by Satomi Ikezawa, is a tale of teenage angst and body swapping. Volume Three contains four more entertaining and intelligent chapters as well as translation notes.

Many things have changed since Volume Two. Yaya is much more aware of Nana, and Moriyama has finally declared his feeling for Yaya. Yet still some things are less than welcome, with Nana's public antics she has drawn the attention of Shohei Shingyoji, a promoter of sorts. When he approaches her in the first part of the book, chapter nine: Never could Forget, she has the suspicion that this is the same Shohei who is a teen idol from her favourite band Juliet.

In chapter ten: Declaration of War, Ikezawa shows her street cred, with the over thirties, by including Led Zeppelin's song Black Dog in her manga as Nana discovers that Shohei is indeed from Juliet and the person Yaya most lusts after - when Shohei shows an interest in Nana, Moriyama steps in.

In Double Booking the story continues to move away from its school yard origins and into the difficulties of an emotional ménage a trios, well trios at least on the body count - given that each character also has some sort of alter ego things could become complex very quickly. To further the problems of having a multiple personality Yaya and Nana (Mimi only comes out on weekends) take on different commitments for the same time and place.

The last chapter, Something's Wrong with You, and Yaya, makes a new friend in Hano, though Hano makes an enemy of Nana.

Othello continues to entertain me in a way that still surprises. What should just be a female teen manga has so many other levels. It grips your attention without the need to stoop to flashes of panties or meaningless and repetitive fight scenes. The art continues to be of a high quality as does the writing. All in all it's a bit of a gem.

Charles Packer

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