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Comic: Bittersweet Candy Bowl 5/5
NOTE: This review is split into two parts. The first half was made before I finished reading the rest of it (stopped somewhere before the Awakening Arc). The second half was made when I finally caught up with the comic wherein Back and Forth was just starting so I may be missing some things that have happened in the latter strips. Anyway, on to the review:

FIRST HALF:
Before anything, may I just point out that yes, it has quite a feminine name and that banner really doesnít help in dousing the feminine ring to it. But I assure you gentlemen, itís not in anyway so girly that youíd be hung for reading it. Think of it as the Powerpuff Girls (admit it, you liked that show and it kicked major ass).

So yes, letís proceed with this introduction. Note though that Iíve not yet finished reading the rest of the webcomic so do forgive me for any plots I will be missing. Also, spoiler warning!

Bittersweet Candy Bowl is a webcomic about two childhood friends, namely Michael (Mike for short) and Lucy. Itís a pretty basic slice-of-life themed webcomic, where everything in the comic could happen in real life (except for the talking pets). The story progresses through time so they grow up and age.

Bittersweet Candy Bowlís cast is quite the interesting one. I personally donít find any of them boring as they all add some spice to the webcomic. Up first is Mike, a humble and thoughtful main male character of the webcomic. Heís quite the charmer but is very sensitive to loud sounds and is subjective to the cold (which is why he wears a scarf). He is the childhood friend of Lucy, a tomboy (kinda) and the tough main female character of the webcomic. She has a deficiency though, and that is her left ear, which is deaf. She wears a big pink bow, given to her by her mother. They are quite the rivals at mostly anything because of Lucyís nature to beat Mike at everything he does.

This friendly rivalry dates way back in their preschool days, where they first met.

Theyíre accompanied by their pets. Lucy has Yashy, a little Yoshi-like female who likes running her mouth a lot, so much so that she frequently gets punted off-screen by the characters because of her excessive insults towards them. She is friends with Mikeís pet, Blur, a bluebird that Mike saved one day. He is named so because he has amnesia and could not remember his name.

Them being as pets, both of them cannot always be around our two main characters, so come in the supporting cast: Their friends from school.

First off, we have Daisy, a smart feline who has quite the crush on Mike (she even calls her Mikie). She is usually happy and very carefree. She wears a necklace, a gift from her parents. Next up is Paulo, another feline who is your typical pervert. He always hits on Lucy who always beats him up whenever he tries his charms on her. Despite this, he is very confident and handsome (Lucy said that). Last to the fray is David, a dimwitted canine who knows nothing better than to think of sexual innuendos. He is the only dog in their circle of friends and I must say heís pretty random at times, so random that heís funny.

They end up staying together, even through high school, meeting new friends along the way. So yes, the cast does increase in time.

Now we move on to story.

As said before, itís your typical slice-of-life webcomic. Thereís no extraordinary thing happening here. Itís mostly light-hearted and geared towards comedy, but it has its serious times (also sprinkled with comedy). As far as my reading goes, there have been quite the number of serious events in the webcomic, all of which develops a character even further. Theyíre also very interesting and engaging, not a long, dragged-out essay about them. Overall (from what Iíve read), itís a really fun and enjoyable read. No chapter has bored me yet and Iím excited to see what happens in the following ones.

The art is a bit to be desired though. At times, you cannot make out what the characters are doing unless you stare at it for some time. It is however, cute and it fits the theme of the webcomic. This problem also translates to the text which is barely readable at times. Happily, it gets better. Judging from the latest strip, it looks rather nice and still keeps the cutesy factor.

So yeah, if you have the time (itís 450+ pages long and counting) I definitely recommend reading this rather surprisingly well-written and amusing webcomic.

SECOND PART:
Now that Iíve read through the entire webcomic up until the latest one, I can finally give my full opinions about it. Yep, this is merely a follow-up to my first post, so welcome back Bittersweet Candy Bowl! Please note once again that there WILL be spoilers. If you donít want to be spoiled, leave immediately!

From where I stopped (which I have sadly forgotten, but I think it was Chapter 28 or even earlier), the drama was kicking in. The direction of the comic was taking a turn from a very light-hearted and quite plotless comedy to an often thought-provoking and heart-tugging drama (I should stop with the hyphenated words). Happily though, the comedy was still intact when the drama rolled in and at often times balanced the theme, which in turn didnít evolve into a whole bawling-your-eyes-out webcomic wherein itís just asking you to take it really seriously. This is whatís so great about Bittersweet Candy Bowl, it doesnít go all out with the drama, it just kinda knows when to stop and give you a breather or something.

New characters have joined the fray, both main and sub characters. One main character introduced to us is Abbey, a gentle and loving bunny (who is weirdly considered a cat). However, this ďpansyĒ (as Paulo would put it) of a character can become very cross and help out those who are in need whatever means necessary. He has a troubled past which makes him quite an unstable character. Another character is Tess, a senior (was a junior when the gang met her) who acts as the gangís ďschool guideĒ for their freshman year. She is a protective and encouraging (albeit persuasive) female. She too has a dark and rather troubled past regarding her past years in the school and in the long run haunts her present. Despite this, the gang still accepts her as a friend and is often protected when unsolicited violence comes knocking up her door.

Another thing Iíve noticed is that the chapters are divided up into several arcs in the archive section. These chapters focus on a specific event in their lives. For example, the Old Flame Arc heavily focuses on Mikeís infatuation with Sandy.

As said earlier, the plot has thickened a lot. Character development is now one of the main focuses of the webcomic and a common method of developing a character in this webcomic is through flashbacks. I canít count how many flashbacks have happened. Itís not one of those quick flashbacks either where only one scene is shown. Sometimes, a whole chapter is dedicated to oneís flashback. It works really well in narrating the past of the characters.

The story has increasingly become deeper, focusing on Lucyís troubled state with Mike. The following chapters have focused on developing both characters very intricately in a way that you somehow get attached to them (mostly with Lucy). These string of events donít leave the other characters ignored and at bay though as they too have their time of shining with their own development.

The art has improved by a mile, even the text is now readable most of the time. Chapter 47 is where the style truly changes from traditional black and white media inking to fully digital with color and shading, even. The result is amazing and makes the comic much more attractive. The characters look much more refined and it even mimics the style of the old comics with a pop-art theme. Despite these major changes, the cutesy is still there front and center.

Overall, I still think itís a well-written and amusing webcomic. By reading through the whole thing however, it isnít just well-written and amusing, but a very thorough and incredibly enjoyable webcomic. A deep and compelling storyline coupled up with interesting and captivating characters make this webcomic an absolute gem among others. Only a few from my list of recommended webcomics have captured my emotions (Better Days and a little bit of Jack if youíre wondering) and this is one of them. Undeniably, this is one of the best Iíve ever read.

5/5

 
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