Kabuki 1Posted: June 2, 2010
Yukari Hashida – June – 2009 – 5 volumes
Ooh, this was really good! The premise did sound interesting, but I’ve been burned before on this past life business, and it’s usually cheesed up for maximum effect. Basically, a pair of lovers from ancient Japan (apparently the warring states period) make a vow to always be together, and then the clock turns ahead to modern times. One of the lovers was a nobleman then and now, and when he wakes up, he is suffering health issues from his current mansion burning down and remembers nothing about his present life, only his past. In a well-played first story, he goes through several members of the Kageya family, all of whom he is sure are “his Kageya,” before settling on the right one. Then it turns into a story about him adjusting to modern life and the fact that he is flat broke and needs to get all his money back, shifting between the past and present lives, with a few random characters showing up in both.
It’s just the right amount of romantic, humorous, and compelling to keep me interesting. The interaction between Konosuke and Kageya has some strange Yoshinaga touches to it (pauses, rehashes, some composition similarities), which made me like it even more. THe “ancient man in modern Japan” story could get very silly and very old fast, but this handles it well and relatively realistically, with Konosuke appropriately freaked out and confused, but beginning to learn by the end of the volume. He’s younger than the present Kageya, so he’s still in high school, and other stories deal with him coming to terms with the horrible jerk he was before his past personality entered his present body. A later one-shot story deals with how the same thing happened to Kageya some time ago.
Good stuff. There’s one more volume out right now, which I’m picking up ASAP. I’ll be reviewing both together for the Manga Recon within the next couple days, and I’ll link it here when I’m finished.