O Othello, Othello, wherefore art thou, Othello? Whether ’tis nobler to sling the… Yeah, I’m not doing a Shakespeare schtick. For one, the manga is named after the game of all things. Makes sense, given the black/white motif. More to the point, Othello is lauded as Shakespeare’s greatest works. I consider myself genre-savvy, but media never really parodies, references, or uses dialogue from Othello, so I’m at a loss for good jokes anyway.
I dislike Othello’s setup. The premise is fine, but it’s an awful setup. Yaya is SUCH A LOSER. Late mom? What else? But that leads to her following her dreams, singing, and being rejected by her peers. Typical. Her father is overprotective of Yaya, given she’s all he has. Ugh. Natural cause and effect of the universe, get to the good stuff. Yaya has no friends, so she gets some that bully her. Mm-hm. She’s also a Japanese goth in private. Okay, that’s more interesting. So she goes aggressive when she goes goth? NOPE! Unrelated and under-utilized! LOLOLOLOLOLOL
When Yaya gets a locket her young self mailed to her present self, looking into the future changes her into… NANA! See, “yes” and “no.” YAYA! NANA! Othello! Nana, unlike Yaya, is outspoken and brave, solving Yaya’s problems without her being aware when Nana leaves. Wait. The Othello motive doesn’t work. The cover is almost a complete lie! Nana does not get dark hair, so it’s mostly worthless. In fact, goth Yaya has dark hair in her first appearance, but goth Nana is blonde. I’m oddly forgiving of this, but still uncomfortable.
So! Does Yaya/Nana take on harsh parents, jerk guys, and bully friends? I have to assume “eventually” is the answer for the first two. The entire first volume has Nana take on her bullies. How limiting! After the first chapter, the bullies should disappear! Heck, Nana saved them from being raped, and they still make her life a living hell! “Thank you from saving me from a trauma many akin to the end of life. I’m going to steal your mixtape.”
Moe and Seri are irredeemable. The following are the methods they use to make Yaya miserable, all while claiming “friendship”:
-Spilling sandwiches into the lake
-Theft of property
-Theft of love interests
-Theft of confidence
-Not ceasing to be a threat after Nana saves them from being raped
See, it can be fun sometimes, but I feel that the duo distracts from Othello having had become better than it was. There’s a distraught daddy and promises of a goth band member showing up. But no, show four chapters of bullying without realized moral. And the last chapter has Nana wish to be separated from the duo, but the preview for volume 2 shows they’re still in the plot. Come on! They suck!
There’s also a love interest. Worst love/hate transition. Yaya goes from hate to love way too quickly. Not great, in my opinion. Nana likes him so much that she kisses him on stage, so what do I know?
Nana is cute, but not amazing. Weak antagonism rules to first volume and the pacing is sloppy. But it’s easy to root for someone like Nana, and I couldn’t help but get excited when she showed up. The art is generic shojo, albeit a bit overly toned, but nothing offensive. I say have a Go! Because Go, the game with black and white chips. Like Othello. It’s a joke wasted on you.