October 27, 2010
Hideyuki Kikuchi (Vampire Hunter D, Yashakiden ) is back with another tale of supernatural horror. This one pushes all the right buttons. We get things that go bump, a scary divinator telling frightening fortunes, and creepy crawlies galore. If that is not enough, we also get an absolutely stunning Japanese man to admire in pictures as well as prose, thanks to the artwork provided by Shin Yong-Gwan . He seems to be a new kid on the block, with his only other credit currently being listed as a manwha called Eternity (Tokyopop).That doesn't matter as the job done here is simply superb. The traditional costumes are simply gorgeous, the creatures terrifying, and the cityscapes realistic. Paired with Kikuchi's signature to the point style of prose, the reader is left feeling that it is not so much what is seen and said, but what remains unseen and unsaid, that is cause for alarm. I'm telling you, I was glad while reading this that I was NOT Megumi Ohtori.
While the setting and plot lines are dissimilar from his previous offerings with Digital Manga Publishing, Kikuchi's protagonist is very much in the same mould. He's mysterious, possesses an unearthly beauty, and wields an awesome power. He is also the guy you don't want to meet because if he is there, you know something that is at the utterly terrifying end of the spook scale is going down. If spiders scare the bejesus out of you, this is probably going to make your hair stand on end and make your skin crawl. If you are not afraid of spiders, this will still send chills down your spine and make the hairs on the back of your neck and arms stand on end. So I am telling you now: don't read this when alone, and definitely not before bed. I did, and let me tell you, I REALLY, REALLY wish I hadn't.
This is only volume one of a new series, and unlike the Vampire Hunter D manga, the plot line revolving around this particular adventure doesn't fully resolve by the end of the book. Poor Megumi gets a few things settled, but the demons from the world beyond aren't done with her yet. Volume two promises a lot more answers to her questions, if she survives to ask them. With the mysterious Noh dancer and his little arachnid friends, she at least has a fighting chance. But just who is he anyway, or should I say WHAT? And what is his motivation? I shall have to read on and see, with the all lights on and someone else in the house of course.