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Keeping in tune with what is in, fresh and interesting to young people, St. Martin's Press brings us "The Manga Tarot" by Taiwanese artist Selena Lin. Ms. Lin specializes in Manga and Manhua art, Japanese and Chinese comics, in the Shojo or romantic/comic style. She is highly celebrated for her talents and has produced calendars, colouring books, comics and magazines in her unique style.

What is Manga? Manga is the Japanese word for comics and Manga art is created around the world. Manga is a multi-billion dollar industry in Japan, comprising 40% of all publishing sales, and it is enjoyed by all ages of people. In the US, where popularity is growing, sales are $300 million annually. Manga is created in many genres with the exception of superheroes. Manga comics cover romance, adventure, fantasy, comedy and horror. We have all heard of the adventures of Pokémon but there is a large adult audience and the Manga is more dramatic, complex or darker. Manga has a unique and distinctive look and all artists have their own style. There is an emphasis on very clean lines, large almond shaped eyes and body parts which are drawn out of proportion. The eyes and mouths are used to show the various characters emotions. Most Manga is created in pen and ink and Anime uses the same type of artistic style.

I am late in reviewing this deck because since it came into my home, I rarely get to see it. It has been to school, parties and other social events - this deck has had a better social life than I have. The reason, I have a teenager and a young adult in my home who have always loved Anime and Manga. This deck just hit a home run with them. I had a little difficulty figuring out how to open the box, they soon had me fixed up. The box is very novel. Tidy, compact and very pink. The top slides over to reveal the deck in the bottom, flip up the lid and you find the book, with a nice little ribbon to help you pull it out of the box. It is a pretty package and Manga Tarot is a very appealing deck. It is fresh and thoughtful. The cards are numbered and titled, the minor pips are depicted with images of the suit in that number on soft backgrounds. The Court Cards are quite effective; the expressions of the eyes, so criticial in Manga, is wonderfully effective in a Tarot deck. The Majors have a gentle, child-like quality about them and the artwork on Death, the Devil and the Tower are darker but very powerful images.

If you have a teenager or young adult in your home or family that you would like to introduce to the Tarot, this is the absolutely perfect deck. The companion book is small, 64 pages. It provides good information on preparing for a reading, three nice layouts to utilize and the interpretations for the cards are quite good, fine tuned for a young person and layered with good advice. A mature Tarot enthusiast might pass on the book but the deck is really a delight and would make a nice addition to a collection.





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