Pullbox Reviews Heirs of Agione- A manga fantasy graphic novel from Europe Comics, with a no-nonsense princess, a plucky sidekick, & horrific monsters

The gorgeous cover illustration is what really got my attention…
  • Heirs of Agione
  • Europe Comics
  • Written & Illustrated by Tpiu

In the kingdom of Tyriadoc, in the event of premature death, everyone is entitled to a second life known as “The Ëdra.” Sometimes, death is so violent that rebirth becomes disastrous. This spawns Accursed Ones, monsters created in the very image of their own demise. Yet, there is one exception to the Ëdra: newborn babies. Too weak and too pure, none of them ever come back to life. None but Adalise, the King’s daughter. She inspires fear and hatred in her people, who have nicknamed her “The Corpse Princess.” But Adalise desires only one thing: to find her missing mother and solve the mystery that enshrouds her stillbirth.

With Heirs of Agione, manga fans are treated to everything there is to love about the style. Images are used to express character traits, taking the concept of “show, don’t tell” to higher levels. Facial expressions and figures will shift from the story’s main style, into an exaggerated “cartoony” look for emphasis. It all comes together and highlights the fact that the Japanese characters forming the word “manga” translates as “pictures run riot”. Comics are a visual medium, but manga seems to take that fact and squeeze it for all it’s worth.

In Heirs of Agione, fantasy fans are treated to everything there is to love about the genre. Fairy tale elements are kept from seizure-inducing levels of saccharine by truly disturbing monsters called the Accursed Ones. A brave princess destined for great things & definitely not in need of a hero to get her there. The kingdom of Tyriadoc is ruled by an aging king, & his heirs are in a constant struggle of one-upmanship. The least favored among the siblings is Adalise, the “corpse princess” and our story’s true hero. Lowest on the royal line of succession, she’s the one most suited to deal with the challenges ahead of her.

Creator/writer/illustrator Tpiu puts together a story that follows much of the formula in both fantasy and manga, creating a plucky heroine with a past, and throwing as much misfortune in her path as may be possible. She even dies at birth! What I like the most about Heirs of Agione is none of the moments readers might expect to find go so far as to annoy the more curmudgeonly among us. I can admit, there are many stories manga diehards would consider “must-read classics” that push me away, but Tpiu walks that fine line with style and grace. And among all the nightmare fuel monsters found in these pages, there are equal amounts of pure chuckle-inducing humor to smooth them out.

For a romping stomping trek through a slightly askew manga fantasy world full of monsters & mayhem, readers could do so much worse. Princess Adalise is the hero her kingdom needs, and most decidedly not the one it often deserves. The downside is that there may be difficulty in finding the book. Currently, American readers can find Heirs on Google Play and Kobo. Armed with that knowledge, get thee hence as this quest isn’t gonna finish itself!

Final Score: 11/13

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