- Cantarella (manga)
name = Cantarella
ja_name = カンタレラ
ja_name_trans = Kantarera
historical, supernaturalInfobox animanga/Manga
publisher = flagicon|Japan
publisher_other = flagicon|USA
magazine = Princess Gold Magazine
first = March 2001
last = ongoing
volumes = 10 (hiatus)
nihongo|"Cantarella"|カンタレラ| is an ongoing
mangaseries by You Higuri, serialized in the Japanese monthly comic magazine "Princess Gold Magazine" and published in tankoubonformat by "Akita Shoten". The first volume was published March 2001 and there have been 10 volumes published in Japanso far. The series is currently on hold in "Princess Gold Magazine" while Higuri's other series "Crown" finishes its serialization in the same magazine. "Cantarella" has also been translated into French by Asuka Comics (first volume May 2005), German by "Carlsen Comics", and English by Go! Comi(first volume October 2005).
Cantarella is the story of
Cesare Borgia, an Italian aristocratduring the Renaissance. In the manga, Cesare's father Rodrigo Borgia, a Cardinal, sells his infant son's soul to the Devilas part of a deal that will one day make him Pope( Pope Alexander VI). Cesare is consequently shunned by his father, who is unable to see him as anything but an agent of darkness and reminder of his sin. Increasingly alienated, Cesare eventually comes to rely on the dark powers within himself. He becomes obsessed with the idea of conquest, and is aided in his political machinations by the assassinDon Michelotto.
Illegitimate son of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, his soul was sold to the Devil by his father. Ever since his birth, he has been surrounded by evil spirits, who protect him from those who would harm him physically. The birth of Cesare was ominous: his pregnant mother, Nacine, had been struck by lighting and forced to deliver the baby earlier. After she gave birth to Cesare, she said that she felt like the lightning was meant for her and she heard a voice announcing that "the pact has been sealed". When the nun carries the baby away, she sees a monstrous shadow and confronts Rodrigo about the baby. The Cardinal denies everything and leaves. Terrified of what had happened to her child, the mother decides to strangle him, but that moment she is pushed behind by the evil spirits that surrounded her son and a candle falls down, starting a fire from which only Cesare survived. The baby is then given into the care of Vannozza dei Cattanei, the Cardinal's new mistress, who has the power to banish the evil spirits.
The next time we see Cesare is when he's older. By that time, he has a half-brother called Juan and a younger half-sister called Lucrezia, both Vannozza's children by the Cardinal. He doesn't get along well with Juan but seems to find a good friend in Lucrezia. His father cannot stand him, and often even refuses to look at his son, because he is a constant reminder of his sin. Cesare suffers a great deal of pain because his father won't accept him but manages to cope with all that thanks to Vannozza. But when the affair between the Cardinal and Vannozza is made public, Roderigo forces her to marry another man and leave. Cesare is left without his only support and becomes more and more depressed. Both he and his siblings are sent to live with Adriana de Mila, the (step)mother-in-law of the Cardinal's new mistress (Giulia Farnese), who makes both Cesare and Lucrezia unhappy. Next, Cesare tries to find a friend in Marrone, Giulia's other lover, but it proves out that he was trying to kill both his father and, finally, him. Losing all hope, Cesare tries to kill himself, but mysteriously survives and the demons take over him; he gains a dark, demonic side. An assassin, Chiarro, who tried to kill him more than once, becomes his companion, feeling that it is his responsibility to watch over the cursed boy, because he did not kill him when he was commanded.
Cesare grows to be very intelligent, manipulative, and tactful. He has a dark but irresistible charisma and uses it to achieve his own goals. As well as his dark side, Cesare has a playful and cheerful side, which he shows only to Chiarro and Lucrezia. He knows how people think and uses his looks and his mind to seduce them. He proves to be cold-hearted most of the time: he sends Chiarro to kill those who stand in his way, he convinces Lucrezia to marry an old man, using his influence on her.In order to succeed, Cesare knows he must be ruthless, but he cannot hide completely his human side. He is neither fully demon, nor fully human, but struggles against the horrible forces that dwell within his body.
Cesare Borgiais a real historic figure, and the major events of the manga are based on real historic events (albeit with supernatural embellishment). Some of the other the real people playing major or minor roles in "Cantarella" are:
Pope Alexander VI: Cesare's father, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia.
Vannozza dei Cattanei: the Cardinal's mistress, mother of Juan, Jorfe and Lucrezia; historically, Cesare's biological mother.
*Juan Borgia: Cesare's half-brother, chosen to inherit the Duchy of Gandia by their father.
Lucrezia Borgia: Cesare's younger half-sister.
Giulia Farnese: Giulia "la Bella" ("the Beautiful"), the Cardinal's mistress after Vannozza.
Giovanni Sforza: Italian nobleman, marries Lucrezia. Shown in the manga as being somewhat abusive. Lucrezia has no desire to consummate the relationship, especially after learning he is working against Cesare.
*Prince Jem of Turkey, in self-exile after losing the battle for succession with his brother Bayezid.
Niccolò Machiavelli: Historically a political theorist and an admirer of Cesare Borgia, in the manga he is a sorcerer with the ability to change into a moth.
Lady Sancia: Sometimes called Lady Sancha of Aragon, she was the bethrothed wife of Gioffre Borgia. In the manga, she is seen disliking Gioffre because he is very much a child, and instead sets her sights on Cesare, after heckling Lucrezia. Historically, she sleeps with both Giovanni and Cesare.
Don Michelotto (Chiaro) is based on the literary figure Miguel, who is mentioned as
Cesare Borgia's right-hand man in several plays. There are also references naming him as Pope Alexander VI's executioner. Alternately, "Michelotto" (Miguel de Corella) is mentioned in Brandolin's description of the death of Lucrezia's second husband as Alfonso's murderer.
"La cantarella" is described in the manga as a "sweet but paralyzing" poisonous plant, a
metaphorfor Cesare Borgia's demonicside. Historically, "la cantarella" referred to the secret poisonof the Borgiafamily. The exact recipe and method of preparation has been lost, but it is thought that the main ingredient was arsenic. The Borgiafamily were allegedly masters of the use of poisonand thought the use of straight arsenic to be too obvious and crude; once they perfected their "cantarella", the symptoms normally seen in arsenic victims were much more subtle. This poison was used only on those closest to the Borgia(for example, those cardinals that were bribed to elect Pope Alexander VI) and as such, was ironically called the "liquor of succession" by some. Traditionally, it is the Borgian women who use Cantarella. Supposedly, it was Vannozza dei Cattaneiwho created it. She later taught it to her daughter. However, the manga series does not follow this path.
* [http://www.gocomi.com/index.php Official site of Go! Comi publishing]
* [http://www.jttk.zaq.ne.jp/higuri/ You Higuri's official site] ja icon
* [http://www.livejournal.com/users/youhiguri You Higuri in English]
* [http://yaoisuki.giapet.net/content/view/33/1/ Yaoi Suki Review: Cantarella]
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