A Nico-Colored Canvas Vol. 1 Review – Anyone can be Van Gogh!

    Title: A Nico-Colored Canvas Vol. 1
    Author: Nao Shikita
    Release Date: June 21, 2022
    Publisher: Kodansha

Believing that you can do anything you put your mind to is a very powerful tool for self-confidence and creativity, while to other people, it may look as if you are fighting for the impossible. The words “you failed” or “you can’t” will ring inside the mind, stopping many people from pursuing goals that could lead them to achieve their dreams.

A Nico-colored Canvas Vol. 1 takes this dilemma and executes it using Nico, the main character; however, she isn’t the one experiencing the sense of helplessness. Instead, the characters around her could use her outlook on life. But, on the other hand, Nico is very free-spirited and displays it proudly even in moments where it may seem rude or impolite to the others around, unapologetically her.

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Nico is attending Art University, and her optimism for her experience is through the roof. It’s a significant contrast from another Kodansha-published art manga, Blue Period. It is refreshing seeing a different approach to what could come off as a similar story concept, with the entire tone being focused on Nico’s static character type affecting the new people she meets.

My favorite moments of the volume were Nico showing off her eccentric personality while being looked down upon by others who eventually realized her talent. She shows moments of worry and unconfidence, but they are slight compared to moments when she feels the need to speak her beliefs.

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The immersion needed to keep the audience intrigued with the story makes hobby manga challenging to write. The necessity to flesh out characters and give them personalities that can carry through the series is crucial, and it seems that Nao Shikita, the author of A Nico-Colored Canvas, has this understanding and brings very nuanced writing to the side characters while expanding on their own and Nico’s world views.

Specifically, Nao highlights the topic of talent vs. hard work, focusing on the perception of those who stand on either side; do the people who lack talent belong in the same place as those that just work hard? Nico believes so, and this belief becomes the first stepping stone to her character development, giving more depth to what we know about Nico as we watch her fight to prove her beliefs to be correct; that anyone can be Van Gogh!

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From just volume one, I can confidently say that the name A Nico-Colored Canvas is perfect for this manga. Nico’s character literally adds color and pop to the world around her, making characters already seen as eccentrics look very normal in comparison. She proudly struts about almost naively, but there are small phrases and word choices that she makes that hint at some hidden insecurities within her. Still, how these insecurities come to light will surely be a fantastic experience to read, and how the author pushes the story in the next volume will be exciting to read.


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Jalil Shareef

Name is Jalil but everyone calls me Danchou! I am a major JRPG & Animanga nerd who loves breaking down the analytical aspects to stories as well as the writers behind them! My favorite animanga of all time is Hunter x Hunter & I hope to make a fantasy story of my own some day!