Dall-Young Lim / Sung-Woo Park – Yen Press – 2011 – 16+ volumes
I had always been curious about this series, and I wondered how easy it was to dive into the middle of it. Sometimes that can be a good indication of how easy a series is to follow, or if the fights get jargon-heavy the longer it goes.
I was surprised by how easy it was to start with this volume. Maybe this was just a good time to jump in, but we get a summary of the three major supernatural clans in the city, a description of their infighting, an explanation of a major event that recently took place at the largest of these clans, and just how difficult it is for the characters to progress from here. The explanation was lengthy, but easy to follow even for a newcomer like me, and the politics are interesting, but simple enough that it doesn’t get bogged down in its own world or characters.
The main plot seems to be that Kuro is after her brother, who betrayed her clan and gave all of them a bad name, but her brother is a difficult man to find and is currently behind a lot of what’s going on with the major supernatural clans. Kuro can’t be trusted by others due to the fact her brother has besmirched her clan’s name, and the only guide she can find is also of dubious note due partly to the dubious machinations of Kuro’s brother. So Kuro, her human… link, Keita, and a guide from another clan march deep into the hostile territory of a very insular clan in order to speak to the leader and try to get an idea of where Kuro’s brother is.
Unsurprisingly, this leads to combat, and I was pleased with how it was presented. The attacks have names, of course, but it’s obvious what the characters are doing, and even better, Kuro doesn’t really use those supernatural attacks to fight. The characters talk through what’s going on, but not in a tedious way. And we do get to see everyone pushed to their limits, including a link-up between Keita and Kuro (it’s not clear to me why linking with Keita makes Kuro stronger, but I assume it’s just a way to keep a human touch in a story like this).
By the end of the volume, a rather interesting character has joined Kuro and Keita on the quest, and it’ll be interesting to see how her… rather extreme reactions to Keita affect the story.
My overall impression, after having not read the other 12 volumes, was rather positive. The volume was very Kuro-centric, so she shone a bit more than the others. There are some stereotypes at work, since this series is clearly meant to be very fanservice-y (the whole male-female link thing, some rather terrible jokes, the gigantic harem that shows up at the end of the book), and a few of the other characters slide comfortably into them, but the story doesn’t take advantage of that as much as I thought it would. Keita, in particular, while not a main voice in this volume, isn’t the type of embarrassing, bumbling protagonist you’d expect in this type of series.
It’s good, and I am a big fan of GanGan Comics, which is where this originally appeared. But with just a volume’s worth of impressions, it didn’t quite hook me enough to really want more. It’s a solid series, and I might pick it up if I was really in the mood for a good action/fantasy, but right now I’ve got enough on my plate. I might give it a try if I ran across inexpensive early volumes, though, and it’s definitely worth a look if you’re a big fan of fantasy-type manga (it’s set in the modern day, but has the supernatural powers and whatnot… fantasy in the sense that many Shounen Jump manga are fantasy).
This was a review copy provided by Yen Press