Written By: Nie Jun
Illustrated By: Nie Jun
Translated By: Edward Gauvin
Page Count: 136pgs
Series Length: 4 Volumes
Published By: Graphic Universe
Release Date: 2nd March 2021
Xinyue, his older brother Qiliu and their mother are travelling along the infamous Silk Road, in search of the legendary Aweto. A rare plant that is said to cure all illnesses, there is said to be one amongst them called the Celestial Aweto that may even grant eternal life. This trio of travellers are known far and wide as the Aweto Seekers, who sell their findings to the rich and wealthy for a hefty profit. However they are also feared by many, as in order to obtain this plant they must steal it from the enormous Earth deities: the Chadolos, that many follow and protect. After one such hunt, Xinyue discovers the offspring of their prey and instead vows to protect it from his family. All the while, they are being followed by warriors from the same tribe that they just stole this little creature from. Much danger lies ahead for Xinyue, but just who can he rely on when his secret is exposed.
This story is visually stunning, and is one that carries a unique storytelling and artstyle belonging to the author. Nie Jun was born in Qinghai, a province in the western part of China. It mostly consists of a high altitude Tibetan plateau, that is sparsely populated. However it also has a strong culture and is home to many Buddhist monks, who are renowned producers of thangka, which are religious paintings depicted on silk or cotton. Which I believe is very reminiscent of the artstyle in this series. The story also takes place in a country much similar to China, centuries ago. Much similar in ways to our own, but also more mystical and magical with the addition of giant Earth deities, large insects and similar races that seem to be a cross between humans and insects. In some ways, it kind of reminds me of the world from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
This is only Book One and our story is just beginning, but we have a good stable start at the moment as well as a quick introduction into our characters. From the get go, this trio seemed like an unusual bunch. Having later discovered the truth behind this ‘family’, Xinyue’s reality has shattered. With little to no information on his heritage and homeland, just what will happen to him next? His ‘brother’ Qiliu also has his own mysteries to solve. Just what exactly is he? How did he meet Xinyue and just why is he so obsessed about finding the celestial aweto?
Both Xinyue and Qiliu have their own special talents, the former is capable of controlling insects with the beating of his drums and is able to speak an ancient language that is used by the divine Chadolos. Whilst the older brother has large insect wings that protrude from his back allowing him to glide through the air. Just who exactly are these two boys?
Aweto Seekers is a dying occupation, due to how difficult the job has become. Although it can wield a high profit, the Aweto have become scarce to find. These plants are found on top of a Chadolos head, and have been said to be the home of the giants’ spirit. Once removed, the Chadolo dies. In this book, we meet a tribe who have been worshipping their Chadolo as it has provided for them ever since they were once attacked by ‘wolf ravagers’. Now remember that name, as it will appear again at the end of the book and should give a big clue as to where this story will be going. I am also very curious to see where Qiliu’s story goes, as so far this is the more interesting backstory. Also it won’t be long I say, before the warriors of the tribe they attacked catch up wanting to take revenge and rescue the young chadolo.
Both the story and illustrations for “Seekers of Aweto” was created by Nie Jun. As I have mentioned before, he was born in the Tibetan plateau of Qinghai in China. A remote place, but that didn’t stop this man from developing his talent for drawing and coming up with fun stories. Much of which has to do with ‘wandering’ lead characters. Having later discovered the art of cartooning from around the world, which led him to Japan where he worked as a researcher at the Manga Department of Kyoto Seika University. Since then, he has refined his artistic skill so that his work can be recognized as a ‘Chinese’ cartoon. As he wished to differentiate his work from other Japanese manga, Western comics and Korean Manhwa. Nowadays, he lives in Beijing and teaches drawing to university students whilst also working on his own books.
You can order your copy today from your local bookshop, or online through Lerner Books in the link below: