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"Soara and the House of Monsters" Vol. 1 Review

Updated: Dec 28, 2023



Background


Imagine your world at war. You've been indoctrinated from childhood that the monsters are the enemy. You've endured years of brutal training to kill these monsters and ensure the domination of the human race. Your training is complete and you're ready to deploy only to be told that the war is over.




Wait, what?! So what now?


This is the premise of "Soara and the House of Monsters" written by Hidenori Yamaji. What do you do when all you know is violence and war but there's no war to fight anymore? Well, there's a lot of homeless monsters and


In Japan, Soara runs in Shogakukan's Sunday Webry Comics, a digital manga reading platform similar to Shueisha's MangaPlus, Kodansha's K Manga, or Viz's Shonen Jump app in North America. This is a series that I have been wanting to read in English for some time. So much so, I've submitted it into 7 Seas's reader survey every month.


Luckily, 7 Seas Entertainment actually listened to my suggestion and licensed the series for an official English release! With that, I wanted to see if the series lived up to my hype.



 

General Thoughts


The premise is interesting. It reminds me of a mix of Violet Evergarden and Build King. Instead of learning of acclimate into everyday life, Soara is learning about her "enemies" outside the war. One of the greatest necessities for both humans and monsters is a place to live. It doesn't matter who you are, everyone deserves a roof over their head. That's the theme the series conveys to the reader.


 

Characters


Soara is like a more emotive Violet Evergarden. I like how the mangaka tied her desire with the desire of her "enemies". You start to see her slowly open up as the story progresses. Even though she still has some prejudice, you can start to see her perception slowly change.





Kirik is a solid partner to Soara. His contrast as mentor to Soara is funny, especially when you start comparing him with her old master. The author handled the difference between him and Soara's old master pretty well.


Some of the banter between Soara and Kirik & Co is pretty funny. I like that they call her out on biases she has.

 

What I liked


I like how her desire is tied into the desire of her "enemies". It hammers in the theme that everyone, no matter who you are, should have a roof over their head and a comfortable living.


I like how resourceful Kirik is with their payments. At one point, they get Griffin feathers as a reward and in turn, decide to use that as materials for another project to help someone else out. It's really creative and highlights the resourcefulness of the group.


The art is pretty cool. There's a lot of details on the houses. You can tell the mangaka thought through the designs for each house built to be unique and detailed. This is emphasized by the double page spreads given to the houses.



 

What I Disliked


The series speeds through the construction of the houses. They're usually complete in a page or two. While I'm not asking for an entire volume for one house to be built, dedicating more pages within a single chapter to the designing and materials gathering would improve the experience. Basically, the mangaka should let the construction process breathe.


Everything they seem to need for the houses exist in the area they're located or they're carrying. So there's no need to forage and make compromises. I think having the group make compromises and use alternate materials to build the houses would show the creativity of the group.


 

Final Thoughts


This manga is a cozy read (think cozy like Legends & Lattes). There aren't any high stakes or intense moments, although I wouldn't call it a slice of life. It's just a group wandering around building houses for monsters. While we get a dive into Soara's past in pieces, the focus is the house building.


I'd recommend the series if you want a warm, cozy fantasy manga to read. If you're looking for something serious or with high stakes, this isn't for you.

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