R: IL PERSONA takes inspiration from the Latin word ‘persona’, which means ‘the mask’. Starlight City Entertainment introduces the persona as a psychological disguise of the true self as well as main characters Rade and Strykes, who have hidden identities. Rade finds himself questioning who he is and whether he really killed the people the surrounding him. He also discovers he is part of the holy ‘Diavolo Unit’, united against the ‘Republic of Sol’.
When Rade asks Strykes about why the war is being fought, she reveals that she doesn’t exactly know why and that they are both soldiers who just need to act, in relation to orders they receive. I feel this aspect gives respectable depth to the story, especially as there are wars in our day and age, where people take sides and may not categorise them as either good or bad. There are lots of fight scenes ad this means R: IL PERSONA would definitely appeal to those who like an action-packed adventure.
I really like the creativity and different angles which are brought to action scenes. Whilst the digital artwork for R: IL PERSONA is predominantly monochrome, the white glow of explosions is really luminous. I also admire the transparent quality brought to the characters where Strykes activates her invisibility power. This touches upon the idea that some characters in R: IL PERSONA are able to activate superhuman abilities based on their ‘etheric connection’, which could be described like a sixth sense. Characters also have high-tech body suits, which provide defence and spy-like gadgetry and help portray a futuristic feel for the comic.
R: IL PERSONA carries a tone which is a little cheesy, but this is no different to the kind of dialogue which may be conveyed in other manga or animé. At first, readers may be confused by the fact that characters have different kinds of etheric powers and attacks. For instance, there are places where characters call attack names like “Starlight Illumination: The Beautiful Light of Death”.
However, etheric powers are well explained to the reader, as Rade, with his amnesia, has to come to understand what they are within a short space of time, whilst both he and Strykes are on the run. As R: IL PERSONA is action heavy, little detail is shown in backgrounds for panels. This is possibly to show a more or less minimalist environment, which can often be seen in sci-fi series.
Overall, R: IL PERSONA is really run to read, particularly if you like following stories which are fast paced. I think the fact that etheric powers have been introduced early within the story really adds value and helps keep the reader feel engaged. Sometimes, stories may grasp on to too many secrets for too long before they are revealed but I think R: IL PERSONA has got the balance just right. Cleverly, R: IL PERSONA is written in way in which the reader has just as much knowledge about what is going on as Rade does. This means the reader can easily relate the character and how the story develops. Beyond vol. 1, I am looking forward to reading more R: IL PERSONA online.
Wish to learn more about R: IL PERSONA? Check out my interview with the creator, Shaun, Starlight City Project who updates the R: IL PERSONA web comic website every Wednesday :