Rozi is a curious mix of cute, adorable and yet creepy. A perfect read for this time of year!
As some of you may know, I occasionally just buy first volumes of manga I know nothing about for fun. I am slowly starting to collect them on kindle which I enjoy a lot and I strongly recommend going the digital way if you want to explore.
However, I’m still not completely weaned off my habit of collecting physical volumes. There’s just something so attractive and comforting about a room full of books, even if some of those are so-so.
Rozi in the Labyrinth is one of those first volumes I just got on a whim. Occasionally it really works out for me but I have also gotten my fair share of subpar manga or just stuff that’s not really for me. Where will Rozi fall?
Why I Picked up Rozi in the Labyrinth
You know, to be perfectly honest with you, I think I bought the first volume of Rozi in the Labyrinth because I confused it with some other manga. Right now, I can’t remember what manga I thought it was but I do know that when I received it I thought to myself, wait a minute, that’s not it…
This is a particularly useful paragraph, isn’t it?
A lavishly illustrated manga in which a young girl–guided by handsome monster boys–explores a mysterious maze of alleyways!
The Labyrinth: a world of never-ending streets and intertwined alleyways, where time and space are not what they seem. Those who wander here from other worlds find themselves with odd powers and even odder appearances. Curious and ever-cheerful Rozi lives in the Labyrinth with her inhuman family—cat-eared Chemin, timid Mur, and Kay, the animated doll—who act as her guides and guardians in this strange and mysterious world.
My First Impression
I have no clue what’s going on but I really like it. Also, this is like a mix of Somali and the Forest Spirit and the old Labyrinth movie!
Some of you may have picked up on the fact that this isn’t a Manga First Impression post. It’s a full review. Rozi in the Labyrinth is a 3 volume manga and after more or less accidentally getting volume 1, I immediately got volumes 2 and 3 as soon as I could get my little hands on them!
That tells you how I felt about reading Rozi in the Labyrinth but it’s not going to tell you if you should read it.
To be honest, I have a problem here. I really have no clue how to begin to talk about Rozi in the Labyrinth. The entire story is quite surreal which happens to be something I love. Most of my favourite anime can be described as surreal. There’s a wistfulness and melancholy emanating from the story but it’s subtle and never really spelled out to the point where I can’t tell entirely for sure if it wasn’t something I was adding to the reading experience myself. I don’t think so but I can’t be sure.
What I do know is that there’s also an edge of menace in those three volumes. I was often worried for the characters, and it didn’t feel impossible that everything would end quite badly for them.
Which would have been awful as I got very attached to almost everyone in the story. Some only have minimal development but they are all crafted in a very emotional way. By that, I mean that characters bring feeling and atmosphere to the story rather than utility which makes it much easier to bond with them even if you don’t know that much about them.
See what I mean, I can’t seem to tell you anything concrete about Rozi in the Labyrinth. It’s that type of story. I tried to see what else the author had written but this was the only work of theirs I had access to.
Let me try this again. The Labyrinth of Rozi in the Labyrinth seems to be some sort of liminal space. The labyrinth in itself is huge and from what we understand very dangerous and people lose themselves and their humanity simply by existing in it. However, the story takes place in this sort of oasis called the Queen’s Garden where the chaos is somewhat tamed. People still need to actively work at being human and despite that still, slowly lose their humanity and human shape, but it takes longer.
There are also all sorts of magic and mysteries taking place as you can imagine. We follow a few characters. Chemin (road in French) who is a forceful young (*time doesn’t really pass the same way in the labyrinth) man researching the secrets of the place in hopes of stopping himself from becoming a cat. Mur (wall in French) a young boy who Chemin once helped and who has become a huge young man whose still very bashful. Kay (whose name is written with the Kanji character for path) the oldest of the bunch. He got to the labyrinth over a century ago as a young Japanese boy but now looks more like a tiny puppet and takes care of the newer folks. And finally, Rozi (from the Japanese word for roads) who is a little girl and we’re not quite sure what she is or why she’s there.
Throughout the 3 volumes, they explore the mysteries of the labyrinth, meet the exotic and eccentric folks that inhabit it and finally have an adventure to save the Queen’s garden.
However, a lot of the story happens between the panels, in the things left unsaid. It’s a gentle rumination on regret and trauma but also a sort of celebration of living in the moment. It made me happy. A series like Rozi in the Labyrinth is the reason why I can’t seem to give up buying random volume 1 manga. Sometimes you get a real gem!
7 thoughts on “Rozi in the Labyrinth – Manga Review”
I relate. I buy first volumes at the time, especially for my Kindle app.
There’s a little thrill to it, isn’t there?
What a fascinating concept! Plus, the small child looks so cute~!
She really is!
Somali and the Forest Spirit blended with the Labyrinth movie! Count me in! This sounds like such a fun series for the season. I totally understand how some manga series are wonderful, but are really hard to put into words why they are so great. It must have been particularly difficult because the storyline was so amorphous.
Sounds great right? Hopefully you’ll like it as much as I did