Rohan at the Louvre (The Louvre collection)
by Hirohiko Araki
Cover Artist: Hirohiko Araki
Review by Gayle Surrette
NBM Publishing Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781561636150
Date: 01 April 2012 List Price $19.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Hirohiko Araki has not only told a good story that includes some interesting information about the famous Paris gallery, the Louvre, he's managed to embed two other linked stories within the main narration. The complexity of the story grows on the reader slowly as the story unfolds and what at first appeared to be simple digression becomes essential clues to what's happening.
Rohan wishes to visit the Louvre to see a painting that he heard about when he was young and learning to join art and storytelling as a mangaka. He's met a mysterious woman while staying at his grandmother's one summer. Nanase Fujikura told him a story about a painting -- an evil painting -- and of an artist who cursed it years ago. The story stayed with Rohan and years later he wished to see it.
Now, in Paris, he learns the artwork he came to see is in storage. However, the storage area also has a story -- a dark one. In fact, there are very strict rules about who can go to that storage area and how long they can stay. For a while it looks like he may not even be allowed.
Rohan must put the clues he's received in Paris and those snippets of stories he heard long ago to solve the mystery of this dark painting and its curse.
The artwork is very bright as you can tell from the cover. The people are easily identified once introduced and some of the panels give hints of the history of art in Japan as well as modern works. The art works well with the text to expand upon the story and carry it forward.
Even more important to me, having had a problem with some graphic stories, the text is readable without having to resort to magnifying glasses. Text is crisp and black on white for good contrast and the letter size is great for reading comfort.
After the story, there's a written section with more information on the various collection held at the Louvre. This series of graphic novels each adds to the readers knowledge of the Louvre -- how it works and the art it displays and has collected for the museum.