Cast is a comic series created in the Philippines by Jamie Bautista and Elbert Or. The series is slice-of-life, focusing on high school life and romance. The series began in 2004 and is released every two months, currently with 11 issues. It is published by Nautilus Comics, a subsidiary of Mango Books. The series has a nationwide readership and has received commendations in several international comics websites.
Each issue is composed of 1-2 major chapters (which moves the story), 1 "intermission" page (illustrated by Jamie Bautista and designed as comic relief), and 1-2 minor chapters (which add dimension to secondary characters).
Cast is set in a couple of neighboring high schools. St. Christian [School] is an exclusive boys school, while Mary the Immaculate [Academy] is an exclusive girls school. Every year or so the two schools co-organize a school play, with students from both schools playing the parts." <ref>Cast Pre-production, 2004.</ref>
On the given year, the play to be produced is entitled "One Brief Shining Moment", based on the Le Morte d'Arthur story. The series follows the story of Will Flores, a first year high school student who decides to audition and wins the part of Lancelot on his first try. As rehearsals continue, he meets the other members of the cast, and gets involved in the various problems with family and/or relationships that each one has. The series very loosely follows the Camelot plot, creating a love triangle between Will (Lancelot), Manny David (King Arthur), and Ces Cheng (Queen Guenevere).
The comic is divided into acts, the major story arcs, according to the development of all the characters.
— ACT 1 (2004-2005, Pre-production to Issue 6)
Story: The basic plot is explained, and all important characters are introduced. Will learns the ropes of being in a theater production, he looks up to veteran theater actor Manny for support, and he becomes friends with Ces. The other members of the cast also get to know each other better and learn to work together.
Artwork: Studio Ronin Core first created the artwork, with a focus on cartoonish visuals heavily inspired by manga-style (such as large eyes and round faces).
- ACT 2 (2006-2007, Issue 7-12)
Story: With rehearsals in full swing and cast members comfortable with each other, deeper problems begin to emerge. Members of a fraternity disturb a weekend rehearsal, Will begins to get closer to Ces and distances himself from Manny, and poor Ces is no longer sure of her feelings for either Will or Manny. Other cast members begin to show problems related to the past that were initially hidden.
Artwork: As Ronin Core resigned to create other works, artists such as Jhomar Soriano and Arnold Arre took over, giving the series a more realistic look, one that takes from Western and Japanese influences but creates a distinctly different appearance.
- ACT 3 (2007- )
Story: Act 3 has not yet been published, but the author states that this will contain the completed play itself, as well as rising tension between Will and Manny.
-Will (William Maria) Flores - Lancelot
Will is a first year high school student, formerly an achiever in elementary school who "burned-out". Unsure of himself but wanting more out of his life, he auditions for the school play and wins the lead role on his first try. He is kind and considerate, helping others to the point of getting hurt himself. He is also known to be a good singer and prefers old ballads.
-Manny (Emmanuel Albert) David - King Arthur
The most veteran of school plays in the group, the cast looks up to Manny for leadership and control. He became Will's mentor, teaching him the basics of theater. He likes becoming the center of attention, and loves losing himself through "method acting", in order to forget about current home problems of a failing business, fighting parents, and a lost older brother.
-Ces (Cecille Rhea) Cheng -- Guenevere
At the start of the series Ces is cast as Nimue but is promoted to lead when Erika Ramos misses rehearsals on a regular basis. She is Manny's girlfriend but finds herself restricted by her relationship with him, thus beginning to fall for Will. She has great interest in dance and was a former ballerina until an injury to her ankle prevented her from continuing ballet.
-Lel (Lel Michelle) Villavicencio -- Lady Anne
The only daughter of the owner of a fast-food restaurant, Lel was the lead actress at last year's play, but does not act like a diva and is everyone's friend. She has a well-known crush on fellow cast member Joe, even if she knows that Joe likes someone else.
-Joe (Joseph James) Espinas -- Sir Sagramore
Despite the fact that he has only 6 words to say in the entire play, Joe sticks around with the other cast members, and around Lel. Friends like him for always having a witty comment, but none completely understand why he would not be Lel's boyfriend, and why he insists that he admires someone else, named Joy.
-Mons (Monserrat Amanda) Lee -- Morgan Le Faye
Mons is the only daughter of a rich couple and recently migrated from San Francisco. She has seen some rather tough parts of life, and is therefore annoyed at people who don't stand up for what they feel is right. It has been observed by several cast members that the tough exterior is probably her coverup for feeling weak because of family problems.
-Cid (Cid Paul) Rolyo -- King Pellinore
The resident gay member of the cast, people look to him for emotional support and a cheer-me-up when needed. He has his own insecurities about being accepted by Danny, a college friend he admires.
-Janina (Janina Charmaine) So -- Dap the squire / Props and costumes
Janina is often considered a gossip and someone who tries to get into everyone's business, but no one hates her for it. They all understand that she is doing it without malice and merely to help out as a friend. Her boyfriend Clarence is from another school altogether and she has current problems balancing her relationship with her obligations to the play.
-Elmo (Elmo Lester) Malonzo -- Sir Dinadan
Maita's unofficial boyfriend, he apparently has changed much of his old ways for her sake. But there is still plenty about his tough past that none of the cast knows (such as why he acquired the moniker of 'Mo-Lester, and why he knows members of a fraternity), and Maita does not know the whole of it either.
-Grip (Gregory Johann) Genato -- Mordred
Grip is in the play for the girls, and he says so. A member of the basketball varsity, he is rather close to Janina, something that Janina's boyfriend resents. He also seems to know Elmo from previous contacts.
-Maita Patrillo -- Lady in waiting
Maits is well-known as a church girl and someone who likes everything cute, but she often resents the typecasting. She is not afraid to show that she loves her boyfriend Elmo, but would not commit to an official relationship.
-Erika Ramos -- Nimue
A commercial model, she is disliked by cast members for always seeming to not take the play seriously. In fact she is pushed too much by her over-demanding mother, and wants to enjoy being an ordinary student when she does have time to practice for the play.
-Lex Chua -- Merlin
Will's former grade school rival who maintained the lead over him in high school. It is something that Will resents and that Lex wields to full advantage.
The play's director, who obviously looks Filipino (he has a Filipino mother) despite the foreign name and several years of being in a London theater school. He is a very strict director but softens once in a while.
Janina's boyfriend, who tries not to be the jealous boyfriend...but is having quite a hard time, mistaking Janina's friendship with Grip for something else.
Will's friend and neighbor since grade school, he is the kind of boy who is more interested in games and music than girls. Thus he resents Will's recent choices of preferring the play over him, and all the talk about Ces.
Ces' cousin, he ran into Lel when she had to look for Joe's little brother. Since then he has been captivated by her.
Joe's younger brother, who rather likes Lel.
The production's costume designer. Has an obvious crush on Adam but denies it.
The production's main props designer. Likes Elsie and usually shows it by being kind to her.
Will's older sister, studying philosophy in college and in her graduating year.