22nd Jun2017

Graphic Novel Review: ‘Ravina the Witch?’

by Richard Axtell

Written by Junko Mizuno | Art by Junko Mizuno | Published by Titan Comics


A bewitching and beautiful tale of an orphan girl who was raised by crows in a trash heap. One day, a dying witch gifts her with a mysterious magic wand and her life changes forever! Now, the human world is hers to play with… Or will this land of fear and corruption prove too much for the fledgling witch? In a time of witch hunts, Ravina must have her wits about her!

I’ll admit, when I first glanced at a page of Ravina the Witch? the layout put me off. The art choice was different to what I usually read, so I moved it further down my ‘to review’ list and read something else instead.

I feel bad. Never again will I judge a book so harshly without giving it a chance. I came back to Ravina the Witch? today and, luckily, my initial reaction was proven wrong.

Ravina, written and drawn by Junko Mizuno, is a strange story that, like any good fairy tale, will stay with you after you have finished. My initial judgement that it was childlike was…well… half right. It’s written in a childlike way, possibly to mimic the fairy tale style it is going for, but readers will very quickly realise that this is not a story for children. Laden with dark themes and light erotica, this fairy tale is very much closer to original Brothers Grimm than their shiny, Disney remakes.

The art, like the story in Ravina, has its own special flavour. As previously mentioned, it put me off at first, but the blending of light colours and darkness soon pulled me in. Add this with the tone and flowery patterns and Ravina is set apart from the rest. Mizuno has also opted for a more traditional, story-book style of telling the story, through paragraphs under or between the panels, which put me off at first glance. If you’re looking for speech bubbles and captions, look elsewhere. You shall not find them here.

Ironically, the one of things I praised earlier is also one of the biggest problems I have with Ravina. The blend of childlike language and the inclusion of erotic and very adult elements left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. I know this won’t bother everyone, but for me I was unsure how to react to what I was reading. Now that I’ve written that down, it occurs to me that maybe that was its intention. Maybe the whole point was to make the reader feel uncomfortable with the subject matter at hand. The strange and uncomfortable world of Ravina.

This dark, erotic fairy tale is a strange tale of magic and adventure. Looking for something a bit different, yet beautifully dark to add to your collection? Ravina the Witch? might be for you.

**** 4/5


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