Volume 1 Chapters:
- The Hunt Is On
- Helping Hands
- Gold Water
- X Marks the Spot
- Washing Away Debt
Step aside Shonen Jump, a new adventurer that refines what it means to have a heart of gold has appeared! Goldfisch is a new visionary world created by Nana Yaa that takes you on an adventure throughout a flooded world overrun with mutated monsters. With the release of the third and final volume of the series, the mysteries of the story come to a gut-wrenching conclusion. Nana Yaa is one of the featured International Woman of Manga from TOKYOPOP, and her tale of Morrey and friends is a soliloquy of the fantasies to becoming a great adventurer. The story captures the essence of an adventurer that displays the characteristics of a hero, while solving the mysteries of his family to undo the perils that have caused him so much grief. The main protagonist is Morrey Gibbs, and he is just your typical ordinary fisher-boy with one small catch.
Before diving in the world of Goldfisch, there is a four-page spread filled with colored images of the characters that give breath-taking life to the journey you’re about to embark. After a brief encounter between Morrey and his father, the chapter begins with the second protagonist, Shelly, searching for undiscovered artifacts. Upon her search, she comes across Morrey and Otta, his friend who is also an otter, in trouble. The three adventurers escape from peril, and that is when we find out that Morrey has the ability to turn anything he touches into gold; anything! Shelly is astonished by Morrey’s power, and wants to do more research on him, but the young fisher-boy is on his own quest. An important nugget of information is the explanation of the extra-terrestrial mutagens that were discharged from a meteorite that hit the world, and began causing mutations in people and animals; mutated animals are referred to as anomals. For some reason, Morrey is immune to the mutagens in the water, so he is able to swim freely in the rivers without worrying about developing a mutation.
After escaping more trouble, which seems to follow Morrey, the young fisher-boy heads off to a town deep in the swamp to search for a magician. Once Morrey, Otta, and Shelly reach the town, the story depicts a great visual of how people’s greed can make them into monsters. Morrey tries to do people a favor, but it is evident on how he is still naïve about his own powers, and how the world works outside his shed. With the help of Shelly, Morrey escapes the malicious mob, but is chased down by other individuals who want his powers for their own greed. After all of Morrey’s efforts in protecting his friends, the trio escapes, but at the price of the young fisher-boy sustaining a fatal injury. On the horizon, we get a brief introduction to two mysterious characters who have been scoping out Morrey’s actions with the anticipation to capturing him. Why can’t people just leave poor Morrey alone?
After the chaos, we get introduce to the healer Zaka, who seems to share some history with Shelly, and uses his own magical abilities to heal Morrey. The hilarious jokes Morrey says throughout the story makes it hard to take the guy seriously, but that’s what makes him so charming. The biggest reveal so far is when Morrey explains why he is searching for a magician. He lifts a sunken golden statue from the riverbed and tells everyone that is his twin brother Spencer! Oh Morrey, the struggles and tragic events that you must have gone through. He is in search of a magician to help lift his curse, and reverse the effects of his powers that were afflicted upon his twin brother. After we get a flash back to Morrey and Spencer, we begin to understand the differences in maturity between the brothers. We also get a good look at how dangerous the world really is, and the constant danger the people of the world face every day; Morrey and Spencer almost lose their lives. The family dynamic between the two is a result of how each one responded to their mother’s death and father’s abandonment. Talk about complex childhood upbringings.
Since the brothers were constantly left on their own, they had to fend for themselves by working odd jobs and protect one another form dangerous anomals. Morrey’s adventure takes off when he discovers an artifact in a secret room within their Mayor’s home. The artifact turned out to be a bottle with the powers of King Midas, which brings out the internal greed of those who hear it calling. Morrey discovers the artifact and is immediately affected by the artifact, but at the same moment, the Mayor gets killed by two Obtainers; the treasure bounty hunters who were spying on Morrey earlier in the manga. As the brothers try to escape, they are easily overpowered by the Obtainers and their artifacts. Without many options for escape, out of desperation, they leap out of a window which leads them to the dire situation that causes Morrey to drink the water from the bottle which gives him the power to turn anything he touches to gold; evidently leading to Spencer’s golden petrification.
Knowing that Morrey is responsible for his own brother’s state really adds a layer of character complexity that makes it that much more exciting to explore. After trying to figure out how to reverse Morrey’s golden powers, Zaka and his mother call upon a spirit for help, but the price for its assistance is an artifact. Morrey almost reveals that he has the powers of an artifact, but is saved by his friends; he takes the meaning of gullible to a whole new level. After revealing that he still has a map, that he pretended to burn to please Spencer, with the locations of other artifacts, the four team members embark on their new adventure.
The first volume comes to an end with the team finding the artifact, Gleipnir, but only after defeating a monstrous foe. The artifact has the ability to entwine anything without breaking. During the battle, Morrey also discovers that he cannot turn anything under water into gold. This discovery gives him a small glimmer of hope because up to this point, he hasn’t been able to touch anything or anyone without causing them to become golden. As the manga approaches its happy ending, the team gets cornered by the same two Obtainers from earlier. Morrey has awesome powers, but lacks the combat abilities of Zaka. Granted, the young healer can only do some much with his combat skills, therefore the tide of the battle might come down to Shelly once again. Shelly has a knack for knowing how to get the team out of tight situations. As we turn to the final pages, one can’t help but feel that ending the first volume in such a suspenseful way beautifully emulates what manga is all about.
The overall story keeps getting richer in details as the reader progresses in Morrey’s adventure. With the addition of lore from different time periods, and the peppering of surprisingly gruesome moments, Goldfisch fits in amongst the greats with a welcoming feeling. The overall story pokes at real life issues like child abandonment, greed, climate change, but are well placed to make one not feel overwhelmed by the topics; although, they shouldn’t be ignored either. The pacing of the manga is well balance, without avoiding any important details, and makes the adventure feel true. For the first volume, the story starts off filled with excitement, and the anticipation of the story progressing in the next two volumes almost feels a bit unbearable. Make sure to pick up volume 1 to catch up on the small details that were left out in this manga round-up, and look out for the round-ups of volumes 2 & 3!!