A Strange and Mystifying Story Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Release Date: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Setsu and Akio's relationship is given some historical context that's just a little bizarre.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Tsuta Suzuki
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say
He saved Akio Yamane from his incurable sickness, but the outcast, Setsu, has protected this cursed bloodline for countless generations. What will happen when something akin to love begins to blossom between them, in the face of incompatibility between humans and therianthropes. The past of the gentle therianthrope, Setsu, is also explored in the back-up story, "Ishi Kenbunroku" in this, the second volume of the super-popular series!

The Review!
Akio's life doesn't seem to be in danger any longer, but his strange relationship with Setsu continues.  He enjoys the connection they have even as he pushes away with all his might.  This volume jumps around a bit to different points in their relationship, shedding light on different aspects of both men's personalities and developing the relationship that grew up between them a bit more.  It's really interesting, if a bit disjointed, the way things play out.

Much of the volume is spent delving into Setsu's history, and the curse that ultimately linked him to Akio's family.  There is also some fun exploration of how Setsu spends his time while Akio is at work.  This chapter in particular pulls heavily from Japanese folklore, which is fun, and also features the return of Akio's coworkers, who manage to get him drunk enough that he's almost honest with himself for once.  As it turns out, it takes a little meddling from his brother to push Akio into admitting his own vulnerability and confessing his own desires. 

In Summary:
Once again, this is another DMP book that lacks the dust jacket the first volume had.  It's an understandable change, but still disappointing.  The rest of the book stays true to the first volume, with the strength of the characters really shining through.  Akio is still as disarmingly vulnerable, Setsu still as direct and uncompromising, and Akio's coworkers and family still as fun and supportive (and meddlesome) as they were in the first volume.  This is a series that manages to work despite pulling together so many disparate elements, primarily through the strength of the characterization and the good-natured humor that highlights the story.  This is good stuff.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: A
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 210
ISBN: 978-1569701300
Size: A5
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: A Strange and Mystifying Story