Recently, they cancelled two great shows I watch. Feeling like the world is against me, this amazing comic appears in my inbox! At first, I was sceptical, but I’m glad to be proven somewhat wrong. Aranya in Clouds isn’t exactly a masterpiece. But it is good with a lot to offer, including a spiritual undertone. The narrative follows monks that live on a mountain. Said mountain begins to float after the death of their former head monk, Rootless. They try to find their way back to the land below, as people begin to praise and admire the floating mountain.
This may not seem like an interesting read at first. I will admit, I enjoyed it better the further I read on. Xiaoyu Zhang, the author, clearly has a strong connection to his inspiration. You can tell this is so through the bonus pages in which he explains things to the reader. The art is lovely, crisp and beautiful, and remains consistent throughout. I would love to have some panels blown up on canvases to put up on my wall. The use of colours is flawless and utterly wonderful; yellows are saved for those special focal points, helping cut through the bland and subtle palette.
While not a subject I normally touch on, the typesetting is crisp. In the past year, I have read more than a handful of comics where the text is off. Words are usually broken up in weird places to fit panels. Demi Sienty actually fits the text correctly and doesn’t make me hate the typical comic font; an overused typesetting in manga and mainstream comics. Instead, it actually fits here by contrasting the art.
You can usually place most comics in one of two places. The first is the bookshelf; this is to keep around but not really to show off. The other is the coffee table; like all books that end up here, they’re conversation pieces with a lot of bright pictures and rarely ever read. Aranya feels like a coffee table book. But you could also put it on a bookshelf for those that enjoy the narrative. I never truly feel like a comic fits in two places, until now. This is an ode to how wonderful this work of art is.
Overall, this is a calm and peaceful read; especially if you want a break from the action comics that always seem to consume most fandoms. It’s a wonderful thing to get lost in since I rarely pickup any fictional narrative on Buddhism. While I doubt it’ll be the Kamala Khan of Buddhism, it’s still a piece that brings to light the religion and its values. If you’re in a slump and looking for a comic to keep around before the end of summer, this is one that deserves your attention! It’ll refresh your reading palette in ways you’ll never imagine.
If you enjoy stories that feature religion and have a supernatural element, then this is worth picking up. Aranya in Clouds reminds me of training arcs before big battles and wars in most shounen manga. What does it remind you of? If you want to check Aranya in Clouds out it’s available on Google Books. Let us know what you think of it down in the comments below, and all our other social medias like Instagram or Facebook!