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Silver Seed: Silver Diamond Volume 1    by Shiho Sugiura order for
Silver Seed
by Shiho Sugiura
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Silver Seed, the first volume of Shiho Sugiura's Silver Diamond, is the start to what promises to be a unique fantasy. Silver Seed introduces a dark, fantasy world where plants hold mysterious properties - leading to plenty of strange situations when it mixes with the real world.

Ever since his mother died and he took over her garden, Sawa Rakan has had a way with plants. One day, as he is watering, a strange man awakens in his garden in the exact spot where Rakan and his mother were found when Rakan was a boy. Accompaning the stranger is a bizarre and violent creature. The man, Chigusa, hands Rakan a fruit which grows into a gun. After taking care of the monster, Chigusa explains that Rakan is a Sanome (a person who can make things grow) and looks exactly like the prince from Chigusa's land.

Things grow even weirder later when Narushige and his talking snake, Koh, arrive to hunt down Chigusa. However, the sight and power of Rakan keeps Narushige from completing his task. As the three become uneasy roommates, Rakan tries to learn about their world while Chigusa and Narushige try to figure out his connection to their prince.

The mood of Silver Seed is very somber, as portrayed through Sugiura's stunning artwork. Each panel is carefully rendered to display the emotions of the characters and flowers. Both detailed drawings and fun screentones abound. The characters are all very different as Sugiura clearly displays their attitudes through speech, facial espression, and body language. The story does jump around a little, but it is very engaging, intense, and unique, so it is easy to stick with it. To keep it from being too dark, Koh adds fun comic relief.

The world of Silver Diamond is touched upon just enough in Silver Seed to draw in the reader. There is plenty for Shiho Sugiura to explore in subsequent volumes, such as growing character dynamics and learning more about the world of Rakan's house guests. The Silver Diamond series shows seeds of growing into a must read for fantasy lovers.

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