Kiichi and the Magic Books 1Posted: June 12, 2008
This one won me over in the first few pages. It opens with a little boy spying on a young man and a little girl. The young man is making oni jump and dance off the page. Then a short flashback starts. The main character, Kiichi, is an orphaned boy who’s been thrown out of his village for being an Oni, or demon. The village found out about this when his mother died and he was seen without his cap on for the first time, uncovering his telltale stubby horn. Lots of mushy stuff follows where his friends reject him, grownups turn on him at his mom’s funeral, etc. What can I say? All it takes to impress me is a little magic and a little sentiment, apparently.
The story is actually about Kiichi joining the young man (a librarian) and the little girl (of mysterious origin) on a journey to learn about and find other oni. It’s kind of a simple story with simple characters so far, but there’s just enough unique magical elements thrown in to be pretty fun. The librarian, or at least the librarian we are following, has the power to bring parts of books to life, and also to return books that have come to life back to their pages. Kiichi seems a bit faster and stronger than a normal kid, but it’s refreshing to see that he is not faster and stronger than, say, a bandit and other strong adults.
The setting is ambiguous, but it is a historical rural setting, where the librarian travels from village to village with books. Apparently the librarians are the only ones who are allowed to handle books, which are
stored in several depositories throughout the country. It’s implied that the librarian may be more than a librarian, so I’m not sure if all of them have magical powers or whatever.
Like I said, the story is sort of simple and somewhat ambiguous so far. As it stands, the characters are on their way to the nearest depository, where Kiichi will meet someone who can tell him about Oni. The backgrounds and purposes of the other characters are left somewhat up in the air, and the characters don’t have much depth yet. I’m not sure how long this story is (it looks like it’s at least another volume), but it seems like it’s set up at the moment to either take a really long time in getting to the depository, or not take long at all and have the characters part ways or something. It’ll be interesting to see what direction it takes.
It’s simple and fun so far, so I’m pretty excited to see where it goes.