Theo is a mechanic who loves to read and dreams of going on adventures. He’s loved by all and lives in a town full of pollution. One day, while visiting a junk heap he affectionately calls “Island of Dreams”, Theo finds Mia, a small girl with one wing torn off. Theo brings her home and cares for her, and she can’t remember anything about her life. He sets to work building a new wing to replace hers, and they read stories at night. One day, while testing a prototype, Mia and Theo are attacked. Theo has many gadgets made to protect them, including a hot sauce bomb and instant-dry that stiffens the bad guys’ clothing, but the bad guys aren’t messing around with kiddy things, and they shoot Theo in the shoulder. Mia becomes enraged and calls forth a cat-like specter who attacks the bad guys. She falls into a comatose state and runs a really high fever, the only cure for which is with the Sage of the Forest. Wounded as he may be, Theo is determined to fetch the medicine and save Mia again.
This story is very cutsy, despite the gun violence and cat spectre, and it feels like a steam punk JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game). Theo is on a fetch quest for medicine (a fetch quest is when the main character must travel far and wide to obtain an unobtainable object to further the story). He also tells his friend Hotch that he needs to get stronger to protect Mia, so that leans into the leveling up theory from RPGs. The setting itself is sort of rushed - we don’t see much of Yellow Town before we get into the action. I would have liked to see more of it as Theo went about his life before he found Mia. The art is beautiful and very detailed. I felt very immersed in this fantasy land, even though we mostly see the inside of Theo's house.
Kodansha’s rating is Teen (13+) and there’s nothing in volume 1 that I would say makes this inappropriate for junior high. There is blood when Theo is shot, and Mia’s defense of herself and Theo could be a tad scary to younger audiences.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability level: Grades 7-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy
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