DEMON FLOWERS: KURUIZAKI NO HANA • Mizuki Hakase • TOKYOPOP • 16+
Demons have conquered Japan’s gods, and are hunting down the half-gods…the kuruizaki no hana, “out-of-season flowers.” On a whim, Ushitora, a brooding, spiky-haird, cigarette-smoking demonic assassin, spares the life of 4-year-old Masato and betrays his comrades, fleeing with the boy and raising him on the run. When the curtain raises many years later, they are living together in an old mansion with Nao, a girl orphan, and Masato has grown into a hot bishônen, who in Ushitora’s words, “brings the dream of a sunny spot in spring…to the dark place where I live.” But Masato does not know that he is a half-god, and does not know that Ushitora killed his entire family…. Hakase’s art is individualistic and sketchy, with great swathes of black and white, and cartoony characters so thin they look like giraffes. Although some pages look like she drew them in 15 minutes, at the best, it gives her pages a certain poetry and a quiet mood. The supernatural element is subdued; as in Hakase’s The Demon Ororon, most of the supernatural characters look like skinny people in black suits, and the background story of demons and half-gods is told in just a single page of exposition. Nonetheless, the visual style is original, and the plot flows smoothly (if slowly), creating a sort of manga-poem of angst and dark whimsy. Review by Jason Thompson – originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
I’m out of the country until April 18, so all the winners of “365 Days of Manga” between then and now will be announced after I get back. Please keep entering the contest, there will still be a winner a day, I’ll just be announcing them all at once!