Modern Visual Culture

Recommended Works



Mangaka: You Higuri 氷栗 優
Born: Osaka, Japan
Original Publisher: Akita Shoten
English Language Publisher:
Published: March 2001 to August 2009
Status: Finished
Number of Volumes: 12
Serialized: Princess プリンセス
Genre: Historical, Supernatural
Demographic: shojo

Based on the life of infamous schemer Cesare Borgia, Cantarella is a tale full of plots and poisons set in the Italian Renaissance; the manga is even named after the poison purportedly used by the Borgias to eliminate their enemies.

In the manga, Cesare’s father sells his infant son’s soul to the devil in exchange for being made the next Pope. Shunned by his father, Cesare grows up with his stepmother and his step sister, Lucrezia Borgia. Surrounded by hellish spirits from birth as a consequence of his father’s demonic deal, then separated from the sister who loves him, the increasingly alienated Cesare comes to rely on the dark powers.

Undergoing an abrupt personality change, he becomes obsessed with the idea of conquest - first Italy, and then the world. Aided in his political machinations by Don Michelotto, a mysterious assassin, Cesare acts against a backdrop of papal power struggles and a corrupt nobility.

Filled with attractive main characters and authentic-looking historical settings, Cantarella is a solid drama, the main events of which are based on actual historic events, with supernatural elements added.
Background & Impact
Cantarella ran for eight years; it was mangaka You Higuri's longest running series, and the last major work of historical fiction that she has released.