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Manga Review: Coffee Moon Vol. 3 (2023) by Mochito Bota

Coffee Moon Vol 3 Review
A fresh start with a change in tone.

“Her double dealt with, Pieta has willed her way to a new tomorrow. With a bounce in her step, she splashes through sidewalk puddles, but mysteries still creep in damp alley ways…Her flames reduce the world to ash. People, possessions, joy―all ash. Her envy, fuel. Her world, all ash.” (Yen Press)

Volume three of 's “” sees a rather sharp tonal shift from the grim mystery of its protagonist caught in a loop that was the focus of the first two volumes. Unfortunately, this comes via a ‘twist' that is all too common in manga, where one premise makes way for a superhero story aimed at a shonen audience. However, defining if this is a turn for the worse is not as straightforward as other series that make the mistake of taking an intriguing premise and opting for safe predictability.

The element kept from the previous volumes is the consistent intrigue about the world in which “Coffee Moon” exists. Despite transforming the darkened city into a battleground, the never-ending gloomy rain that keeps the city in the dark still maintains a favorable vagueness that works wonderfully to draw readers in. In addition, the newly introduced creatures inhabiting the world maintain a contrast between cute and morbid, giving “Coffee Moon” a unique, praiseworthy visual style.

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However, it is undeniable that the shift proves to be detrimental to the series in a couple of ways. Notably, the visuals struggle in action-heavy sequences, showing its creator's limitations. The fights feel slightly awkward in flow, and the characters lose a modicum of the sleek aesthetic of their design when in movement. Admittedly, the action sequences still display the skill of a talented artist, but in comparing action versus static sequences, it is obvious where Bota's greater talents lie.

The other detriment to the series in this shift is more subjective to the reader's tastes. The mystery within the first two volumes switching to a faster-paced action series will certainly dissuade some, while it may give others a reason to check out a series that they may have thought was too somber and slow-paced. Personally, as a fan who enjoys darker content over action hero-driven stories, the shift is a letdown, though not substantial enough for me to want to disengage from the series entirely.

Regardless of how the tonal shift lands for readers, ” Coffee Moon” is still sleek and cool, thanks to the visual aesthetic and worldbuilding. In addition, the third entry almost acts as a reset for the series, meaning there is potential both for Bota to expand on her concept and integrate the particular change. Whether this pushes the series forward in exciting ways or completely drowns out the wonderfully emotional and bleak mystery that set the tone in the first two volumes remains to be seen.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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