Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Hollow Fields

At around what was kind of the beginning of the steampunk movement in the geek zeitgeist, Hollow Fields was one of the original English language(or "OEL")manga put out by Seven Seas Entertainment. This all-ages comic was first shown online, then as separate a three-volume mini-series, and then as a single large graphic novel omnibus.

Nine-year old Lucy Snow is sent off to an all girls school, but ends up making her way to a mysterious estate in the middle of the dark scary forest. There, she is greeted by the strange clockwork maid Notch who mistakes her for a new student in the school of Hollow Fields. Lucy is a little intimidated at first, but after hearing the school offers free tuition and boarding, she signs the contract to stay there. It seems okay at first, but she gets put down by most of the other students by being the newbie. Plus, the entire staff is made up of equally weird clockwork creations that were originally completely human, like the creepy Miss Weaver who school's head and founder, as well as teacher of the robotics class. Lucy's first week keeps getting worse and worse as she finds out the school is meant for up-and-coming young mad scientists. Coupled with that is the fact that every week one student is sent to detention from which they're never heard from again. After being given an impending assignment from Miss Weaver to make a functioning robot, Lucy finds some solace in a talking puzzle box who used to be a teacher at the school named Dr. Bleak. He instructs her on building a nearly passable robot which just saves her from being sent to detention, afterwards she dedicates herself to finding out what is happening to the missing students and the mystery of Hollow Fields.

This is an impressive work for creator Madeline Rose, who later went on to do another steampunk-themed manga, Clockwork Sky. I'd highly recommend getting a hold of the full Omnibus Collection version. A must for all steampunk fans, or for young fantasy like Harry Potter.

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