Review: Pilli Adventure


There’s something about mythology that just invites writers to make it their own. The ability to delve into collective stories and make references to characters or ideas that resonate easily with an audience is a strong temptation for people who want to save a little energy establishing plot, setting, or characters. Hence, the Greco-Roman pantheon shows up in works like the Percy Jackson series, while Norse mythology gets used in works as diverse as Baldur’s Gate, Oh! My Goddess, and Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki. If there’s a treasure trove of folkloric wisdom to be found, rest assured that there is a storyteller or game designer just itching to plunder that mythological booty.*

Filling in the niche for Mesoamerican folklore is cartoonist Gustavo Duarte Yza Algeya, whose comic Pilli Adventure pits its hapless title character against the contents of the Popol Vuh, all because she bound the soul of her dead boyfriend into a calavera doll. Or at least, the About page insists that these actions are connected, and I’m willing to believe what it says. Along the way, Pilli also deals with high school, magical girls, and medusa.

Algeya is a native Mexican, and his English tends to be unpredictable. Punctuation often takes a backseat to excitement, and online slang and abbreviations crop up on a regular basis. As a result, the comic sometimes feels like the illustrated logs from a chat-room role playing game—a feeling that gets compounded by how quickly story arcs tend to veer off toward relationship issues and almost-but-not-quite fanservice.

Speaking of fanservice, the art style owes a lot to various manga and anime (although with characters like Jinx the magical girl, the line between inspiration, homage, and parody gets blurry). It sort of says something when a cursed water pot looks vaguely similar to a Dogu. And I’m not entirely sure how to feel about the depiction of all Americans as either frat boys or alien spies for NASA (although with how green Pilli’s skin has become over the last couple of arcs, I’m left to wonder what she is, exactly).

The thing I find most interesting about Pilli Adventure is how many of the mythological baddies have surprisingly harmless motives. Some of the monsters may be out to destroy all humanity or wipe out the Spaniards, but the majority of the monsters Pilli dispatches are following a spectacularly daft personal goal that just happens to cause major collateral damage. Several of them even mention that they’re only in it for the fun. And in the end, that’s what Pilli Adventure seems to be about: having fun**.

Comic Rating: Four heaps of inadvertent nudity.

* Whilst saying things like “arrrrr” and “avast,” natch.
** Let’s hope the casualty count stays low.

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  1. #1 by normando on 25 June 2010 - 3:31 PM

    Water pot monster is based in this museum piece http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tTFdYezGXMQ/SgGIkByOg4I/AAAAAAAAESA/l4Z5CuCqh5E/s400/vasija_tlaloc.jpg
    they are dozens of variants of this piece all around the country since its based on one of the main deities in the Maya and Aztec mithologies

    • #2 by Luprand on 25 June 2010 - 10:53 PM

      Ahh, okay. You learn something new every day – thanks!

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