Title: Nightmares for Sale Vol 1
Author: Kaoru Ohashi
Publisher: Aurora Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
It’s scary pawnshop time! Shadow and his assistant, Maria, run a small pawnshop. What sets their shop apart from the rest? They’re devils, and their customers don’t always get what they bargained for. Not happy? Too bad! If you want great customer service and sales follow up, don’t do business with a bunch of demons!
This collection of horror stories was a little uneven. Starting off with ’Friendship Rings,’ Keiko has got herself caught up with a rough bunch of girls. Originally the victim of their bullying, she discovers that if she buys things for them, they won’t physically abuse her. Instead, they verbally batter her, while pretending to be her friends. Desperate for money to keep them happy, Shadow offers to purchase her friendship ring, intrigued by the dark aura emanating from it. Unwilling the sell her precious symbol of friendship with Akane and her friends, Keiko’s life quickly begins to unravel before the other girls’ demands. Oops, something tells me you should have sold that ring! This was the weakest story in the bunch.
The best was ‘The Mobius Darkness,’ which was broken into two chapters. In ‘My Dark Half,’ spoiled and wealthy Kaya sees a photo of a young boy in the window of the pawnshop. She’s curiously drawn to the picture, and it gives her an inner warmth. When she tries to purchase it, she’s told that she must surrender her spoiled life in return. Fleeing from the shop and it’s obviously whacko proprietor, her purse is stolen by the boy from the photograph. Finding him and making him happy soon becomes an obsession for Kaya, with devastating results. I liked this one a lot, especially all of the twists at the end.
In the ’Children of Darkness,’ young Hitoshi appears in the pawnshop and wants to sell his baby sister, Yukiko. Accusing her of stealing his mother, he hates her and wants to kill her! Yikes! Sounds like he’s come to the right place. This one was sad, as it becomes apparent that Hitoshi’s mother is short a few marbles and she’s suffering from regret from a decision that she made earlier in life. Not so creepy, but it showcased Shadow’s delight at causing misery for others.
Despite my disappointment with the first chapter, the rest provided some creepy twists or utter misery for Shadow’s customers. Some additional background on both Shadow and Maria would have been nice, to give them more context in the story. Shadow wasn’t scary, he just seemed like a cold-hearted bastard. Both he and Maria only had fleeting roles in most of the stories, and it seemed like they were present solely to delight in the misery of their clients.
The art was uncluttered and easy to follow, with lots of dark backgrounds to give the book an foreboding air. The character designs were typical wide-eyed beauties so prevalent in girls’ comics, and they weren’t very scary, even when they were on bloody biting rampages or fiercely wielding knives. Still, the page layouts had some interesting compositions and kept the illustrations fresh and accessible to the reader.
Nightmares for Sale Vol 1 will be available in November
Rated for Older Teen 16+
Review copy provided by Aurora Publishing