Title: Rasetsu Vol 2
Author: Chika Shiomi
May Contain Spoilers
It is always a happy day when a volume of a Chika Shiomi manga arrives at my house. I love her elegant illustrations and careful plotting, and how she mixes humor into tense situations to break up what would otherwise be too heavy an atmosphere. The way she crafts scary supernatural elements with dizzying romance always provides a thrill. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it doesn’t hurt that all of the characters are drop-dead gorgeous, either.
Yako is still slaving away at Hiichiro Agency, assisting Rasetsu as she exorcises evil spirits. He doesn’t understand the girl’s preoccupation with finding a boyfriend, and he can’t help but tease her about it. What Yako doesn’t know is that if she doesn’t find her true love by the time she turns 20, a powerful spirit is going to claim her as his own. Will Yako be able to keep his promise to protect her from this terrifying danger when the time comes?
Rasetsu is starting to feel more than a little disconcerted whenever Yako is near. She’s confused by her blushing, girly reactions to him, because she is supposed to be tough. She’s been working hard to become stronger, so she isn’t helpless when the demon comes to claim her. Doesn’t she have the ability to almost single-handedly banish even the most evil of ghosts? Then why does her heart keep going bam-boom when she’s with Yako? I know why! It’s because he’s hawt!
In addition to Rasetsu warming up to the cool Yako, Kuryu impishly experiments with his kotodama powers, much to the chagrin of both Yako and Rasetsu. Kuryu can be a funny guy, especially when he’s putting someone else in the hot seat. The trip to the amusement park, and the lengths he and Rasetsu go to to force Yako to loosen up were hysterical. The uptight Yako didn’t stand a chance against them, but I don’t know if what he was feeling was enjoyment. More like the urge to kill his co-workers.
Rasetsu gets the “I want more” seal of approval. The daily activity at the Hiichiro Agency is loaded with action, suspense, and humor, and it draws the reader helplessly in. I couldn’t put the book down until I had reached the last page, and that came much too quickly. The character interaction is fun and convincing, and everyone has a unique personality that doesn’t always mesh with that of their co-workers. The only thing that Yako and Kuryu really agree on is that they will each protect Rasetsu from harm, but each of them has a decidedly different approach to ensuring her continued health.
Chika Shiomi’s books remind me of the gothic romances I love so much. She is like the Barbara Michaels of manga. There is just something appealing about scary, life-threatening situations and a hunky, fearless love interest. They are a guilty pleasure, and I am counting the days until the next volume is released.
Review copy provided by Viz