I think the official spelling of this series title is “BA_KU”, but unless someone can provide me with a reason for that, I refuse to call it that except to make fun of it.
Unfortunately, I was much less infatuated with this volume than I was Ororon. I think this one also lowered my opinion of Asian Beat, too. This book’s only saving grace was the fact that it was vaguely tied to the legend of the Baku, a monster that eats nightmares. The Baku had the form of a human, but his powers were ambiguous, and I don’t think he actually ate any nightmares at all, really. Mostly, it was a really rough story about a boy who was abused by his mother that is awakened into the Baku by two otherworldly beings who have been searching a long time for him. The three had previously been living together, and Baku was the one that raised the other two. I kind of liked the family ties idea, but none of the details were developed, there was a weird enemy fight that was never explained, and not much happens after Baku wake up save for one loose end being tied up. I just didn’t think it was very good, and I was really bummed since I liked her other stuff so much.
The last couple chapters are a different story called “Mephisto.” This is about a boy (it’s not explained whether he’s otherworldly or not) who helps spirits move on so they stop haunting this world. Again, things are set up so that it seems a really long story is about to unfold (Mephisto lives in a house with four other people, three of whom get to do absolutely nothing), but there are only two spirits he winds up helping, one in each chapter. The second chapter has a spirit alluded to in the first chapter, so the two kind of tie together, but… there’s a lot of details missing all around. It’s like the first chapter was a pilot, and after it came out they decided not to run it so they concluded it with a second chapter. The second chapter is left open so that the story may be expanded later, and I would probably like it if more was explained (Mephisto was a great character), but as it stands… it was kind of lousy.
I thought I’d wind up liking this volume a lot better than Asian Beat. Mizuki seems to be really good at relationships and genuine emotion, but everything else seems a little messy in these stories. I wanted to like it because of the supernatural themes, and both the sets of stories have great basic plots, but… oh well. I am still really looking forward to Demon Flowers.