The Tarot Café

The Tarot Café

Infobox manhwa

imagesize= 200
caption = Cover, "The Tarot Café" volume 1 (Tokyopop edition)
ko_hangul =
romanized =
genre =
Horror = y
Romance = y
author = Park Sang-sun
publisher = flagicon|South Korea Sigongsa
publisher_en = flagicon|United States Tokyopop
publisher_other = flagicon|Spain La Cupula
flagicon|France Vegetal Soleil
flagicon|Hungary Fumax
flagicon|Argentina Deux Studio
flagicon|Italy Flashbook
demographic =
magazine =
first = March 8, 2005
last = June 17, 2008
volumes = 7
subcat = Tokyopop
sort = Tarot Cafe

"The Tarot Café" is a manhwa by Park Sang-sun (박 상선) being published by Sigongsa in Korea, and distributed by Tokyopop in the United States. Seven volumes have been published in Korea, all of which have been translated into English. Each chapter starts or ends with a modified tarot card often relating to the story, featuring well known commercial tarot decks replaced with story characters.


In contemporary Great Britain, Pamela is the owner of a mysterious Tarot Cafe. After midnight, she receives supernatural clients who come to her for advice through tarot readings. From cats to fairies to vampires, they tell her their stories even as she unravels their past, present and future through her cards. In exchange for her advice, they pay her with beads of Berial's Necklace, which Pamela gathers for her own secret ends.


Pamela: Pamela was orphaned at age eleven when her mother was burned at the stake for witchcraft. She, because of her mother's begging, was spared, in spite of her ability to foresee the future, and was lead from her village by a priest, who then abandoned her in the forest. After a chance encounter, she was raised by a dragon named Ash, who ultimately became both her lover and her tormentor. Years later, Ash was murdered, and whilst dying in Pamela's arms, inadvertently gave Pamela his immortal life through a drop of blood from his heart, which manifested as a mark on her forehead. After trying unsuccessfully to end her life by many means, she makes a pact with Belus. In exchange for collecting the beads of Berial's necklace, he has agreed to kill her. Now, hundreds of years later, she is the wise proprietor of the Tarot Café. She is both kind and stern with her many customers, particularly her "special" ones. In her own words, she doesn't profess to know the future but instead depends on examining her clients to fully understand their motivations and problems. Also to aid her is a vast store of esoteric knowledge, particularly identification of magical creatures, and her companion Belus. Pamela is a kind-hearted young woman, shown when she takes in the young werewolf Aaron after he comes to her for a tarot reading, but at times cynical about humanity (though not quite to the extent of Belus). She has a complicated relationship with Belus, who she is bound to by a pact. While they appear to dislike each other and violently deny any sort of romantic relationship with one another, they tolerate and ultimately depend on one another for strength (or a good shove in one direction or another).

Belus: A mysterious young man with an intimate tie with Pamela, Belus is always at her shop to annoy her or offer cynical remarks about humanity and her clients. He is often shown smoking a small opium pipe. Mercurial and flippant, he nevertheless shows a serious side, particularly when Pamela is threatened. This may be because he has made a pact with her; in exchange for her gathering all the pieces of the mystic 'Berial's Necklace', he will end her immortal life. He also has a strange connection with Ash and Nebiros, and seems to know either everything or nothing at all about any given subject. He is often found to be involved in different episodes where one might not expect him to be. According to Ash, he left to find Pamela because she made him happier than anyone else. Eventually, he comes to be nearly killed defending Pamela.

Aaron: Abused and ultimately sold by his alcoholic father, Aaron is a young boy who once was the companion of a demon named Nebiros, who granted his every wish. But he ultimately grew bored and dissatisfied in Nebiros's castle, lured by the enticing company of a young shepherd girl who persuaded him to run away with her. Once he left the castle, however, she turned into a werewolf and bit him with the intention of devouring him. He was ultimately rescued by Nebiros, but stung by his young charge's betrayal, the demon abandoned him. Thanks to the bite of the female werewolf, Aaron is now cursed to turn into a werewolf every full moon. After Pamela takes him from the streets and reads his cards, she adopts him and hires him as her assistant. He is a flighty but ultimately good-hearted boy (described by Pamela as having 'the nose of a dog and the brain of a bird') who is haunted by the horrific change that comes over him every month and with the memory of the man who was like a true father to him.

Ash: The name of two virtually identical men with intimate connections to Pamela: one her former teacher and lover and the other a mysterious young man who suddenly appears on Pamela's doorstep. The original Ash was a dragon of great rank, though a kind, slightly scatterbrained recluse, in comparison to his closest friend, the serious and belligerent, though dutiful, Alecto. He discovered Pamela after her mother was executed, and raised her, ultimately falling in love with her against the misgivings of Alecto. Pamela's and Ash's idyllic existence soon was shattered upon Ash's death and the passing of his immortality to her with the last drop of his blood. Despite his love for Pamela and his genuine affection for Alecto, he truly detested life and wanted nothing more to die, unleashing a tragic series of events that resulted in Pamela's anguished inheritance of his immortality.:The present day Ash appears to have no memories of his past and yet seems to attract the worst sort of company. Despite his sweet, almost innocent demeanor, he is in reality a cruel sociopath who has no trouble torturing and seducing others for mere amusement. He was apparently raised by the curious fortuneteller Cora since childhood though he shows her no real affection. He has a similarly tumultuous relationship with Belus, able to threaten the other man without repercussions. According to him, Belus was his teacher and friend, but abandoned him for Pamela. Eventually he comes to be kidnapped by a confused Alecto and after a failed seduction attempt, faints at the speaking of "his" past name. Once he is returned, he comes to haunt both Pamela and Cora's steps once more, culminating in a devastating revelation about his past and purpose. Alecto tells the Ash of this time that he is only a doll created by Belial and given life by a gemstone of Belial's necklace.

Alecto: Another dragon from the days of Dark England, with a grim prophecy hanging over him: the day he falls in love with a human would be the day he dies. Though friends with Ash, he treats him with open contempt and a gruff concern, particularly regarding Ash's taking care of Pamela. His callousness extends to the point that he calls Ash a useless dragon, and were he a female Alecto would impregnate the other to propagate the species. Belatedly finding of Ash's death from a loyal wind servant, he was unable to find anything at the site of the death. He has since hunted Pamela, insistent she killed Ash, whether in malice or carelessness. So when he finally finds her, and proceeds to attack her, who should walk into the cafe but Ash himself. Confused, Alecto questions him fiercely, only to be told that this was not the real Ash. Refusing to accept the fact, he later kidnaps Ash and chains him in his bedchamber. After nearly being taken in by Ash's charms, he flees and later returns to explain to the new Ash about his past. When he speaks the past Dragon's name, he is then thrown back by a mysterious force and obliterated. Later, it turns out that he was sent to Hell and spoke with a three-headed crone who told him his fate. It is later revealed that Alecto was also in love with Pamela since he first saw her and that he wishes to kill her to end his pain.

Nebiros: Nebiros is a mysterious figure and the foster father of Aaron. He claims to be a demon though he is more commonly associated with werewolves, who fear and adore him. Some time before, he had "purchased" Aaron from his drunken father and lured him into a secluded castle. He provides the boy with everything he desires and soon takes him as a confidant. Cursed by "forces of light," he becomes wracked with pain and must remain in isolation. Despite this curse, he is a powerful demon, able to turn underlings into stone with one touch of his sigil ring. Upon Aaron's betrayal, he abandons the boy and isolates himself. Oddly enough, he seems to be acquaintances with Belus, though he shows no liking for the other male.

Cora: A mysterious albino fortune teller. She found the present day Ash when he was just a child and raised him. When she goes to find Pamela later, Pamela is shocked at the resemblence between her mother and Cora. Upon meeting, Cora dissolves and leaves behind a gemstone from Belial's necklace, indicating that she was a doll like Ash.

Victor: A wicked monk who was from Pamela's past. When Pamela and her mother were accused of being witches, Victor decreed that the mother must die but that Pamela was young enough to possibly be redeemed. When Pamela was older, he brings her to a chapel where he confesses that he loves her. After she refuses him (on the grounds that she loves Ash and as a monk Victor must only love God), he attempts to rape her. After she escapes, he makes a deal with Belial to have the strength to kill Ash, become immortal, and win Pamela. Though he is able to succeed in killing Ash, he does not obtain his other desires.

Belial: A devil-like figure. Known as the King of Fear and Deceit, Belial is first introduced with the concept of his necklace: The necklace holds immense power but was broken and Bellus charged Pamela with collecting the gems on it so that she could die. It is later revealed that Belial disguised himself as a Sage who gave bread to the poor when Pamela was a child. When Pamela and her mother went to him for food, the girl's power let her see his true evil form. This impressed Belial, who then set about making Pamela immortal by granting Ash's wish to die (he wanted Pamela around forever so that he could continue to "enjoy" her). It is later revealed that he was responsible for creating Cora and the present day Ash with gemstones from his necklace and that they, along with Alecto, Pamela, and Belus, were pawns in his games.

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