A girl makes the acquaintance of a monstrous creature who believes himself to be quite human.
“I don’t want to be alone anymore. Lie to me. I’ll believe every word you say.”
What a beautiful one-shot manga by an emerging mangaka, Midnight Waltz is a marvelously drawn story about a girl teaching a monster how to waltz. Even though the comic is very short it has a lot to say about loneliness and acceptance of one’s circumstances. The monster in the story believes that he is human, he is unaware of exactly what he is though he is suspicious. All of the servants around him lie in an attempt to spare his feelings, keeping him in the dark as to who or what he really is.
Despite the fact that the monster is surrounded by comfortable white lies, he’s still terribly lonely, struggling with his identity and wanting desperately to be “human,” to be normal. This manga was heartbreaking in how directly it deals with issues of identity. I honestly wish this manga was longer and the themes could have been explored in greater depth, but as a one-shot it is brilliant.
Nagabe’s art style is quite dark but also fanciful, they always remind me of fairy tales. His body of work seems to center on questions of what defines humans and monsters which I greatly enjoy and will be following more of his work in the future.
Strengths: Beautifully illustrated
Weaknesses: Extremely short