Strawberry Seafoam by Bryan Golden takes you to a magical and vibrant undersea world where Frasei, a young mermaid, attends Delphic Academy. The colorful and dynamic art style, along with the empowering character arcs, will draw you in. The story incorporates familiar tropes from Japan’s magical girl genre, but the characters and story are too endearing to pass up.
In Strawberry Seafoam, Frasei’s dream of attending Delphic Academy, where young mermaids like her hone their magical craft, turns into reality on her first day being there. She befriends Rogue, Bijou, and Sage, who, like Frasei, gain the ability to transform into magical girl versions of themselves (Sage is a magical boy). Together, they protect their sea from the sea witch Delmare and her minions while keeping their newfound powers a secret from the Academy. But Delmare’s biggest threat has yet to arrive, and it looks like Frasei and her friends need to brace themselves for it.
Strawberry Seafoam reminds me of magical girl anime like Sailor Moon, Princess Tutu, and Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. From its art style, it’s adorable and uplifting at the same time. Young women (and men) teaming up to help others and themselves. Fighting the villain’s henchman or monster of the week. An animal companion that guides them — in this case, a young dolphin wearing a floaty named Soleil. With a good balance of humor and action, the story knows when to explore serious themes and issues.
The story navigates themes of self-worth and mental health. Rogue, at first, seems like an overachiever, on top at the Academy. However, in reality, her parents push her to work harder. Rogue, depressed and struggling with her self esteem, gets cursed during Frasei’s first battle with Delmare’s minions. Rogue’s insecurities manifest into a wicked shadow of herself, and even after defeating it, the shadow comes back. Sage attends the merman’s Academy but he possesses the rare power to give good or bad luck — a power usually inherited in mermaids. He initially doubts his chances of transferring to Delphic Academy but later becomes confident in himself. Really, the characters are lovable and complicated, and even the villain becomes more than she seems.
A gorgeous and layered story, Strawberry Seafoam celebrates friendship and self-worth. It’s a webcomic with well drawn transformation sequences (changing tails!) and a beautiful soundtrack.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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