Shrine of the Morning Mist Vol. 1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, May 17, 2007
Shrine of the Morning Mist is one of the group that I like to call entry-level manga. The story isn’t too deep, and the artwork is stereotypical manga --big eyes, small mouth-- for people who don’t actually read manga. It would make a good anime series, which unsurprisingly enough, it already is.
The story revolves around three sisters who are also miko (Shinto shrine maidens), Kurako, Yuzu and Tama Hieda. Their cousin, Tadahiro, comes to live with them, and life suddenly becomes very interesting for the sisters. At the train station, Tadahiro is met by a mysterious man in the spirit world who wants him to accept his true destiny. This little ominous meeting is broken up by the arrival of the sisters, who immediately take Tadahiro home to the shrine grounds.
Tadahiro seems to be your average teenage boy, except for being more than a little bit of a daydreamer and having one eye slightly different from the other one. His father died when he was young, so he has been shipped around relatives until his arrival with the Hieda family. The father is immediately suspicious of Tadahiro intending to deflower his daughters during the night, but he is overruled by the girls, who want Tadahiro to stay with his family.
But wait, there’s more... Apparently, Tadahiro and Yuzu were good friends before he moved away, and they shared a moment together while watching the mist over the mountains. Tadahiro seems oblivious to Yuzu’s feelings, but you can tell that something will end up happening between those two.
In any case, Tadahiro doesn’t have much time to settle down before he is attacked at the house by ogre-like creatures from the spirit world. Coming to his rescue is Miyuki, the girls’ mother and the priest of the shrine, who arrives home just in the nick of time, and Yuzu, who arrives just a little too late for the fight.
In the background, there’s some sort of shadow government overseeing the spirit world condition in Japan, headed by Hiruku, the Empress of Japan who is three years shy of taking on her full duties. Oh, and apparently Tadahiro’s father isn’t dead; he’s just serving the Empress, and Tadahiro has some importance that really isn’t clear yet. You gotta love conspiracies. Even Miyuki is keeping back information from Tadahiro.
As I said, the artwork and story is mediocre. The characters are stereotypes, with the jealous yet protective father, the hot-tempered miko who is shy around boys, the moe miko, the motherly miko, and the miko who wields a katana and magic. I can’t really recommend Shrine of the Morning Mist for buying, but it wouldn’t be a bad pick from the library if you’re bored and there’s nothing better there.
Mania Grade: C+
Story and Art by: Hiroki Ugawa
Rating: T (Teen)