Descendents of Darkness Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59116-507-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Descendents of Darkness Vol. #01

By Mike Dungan     October 20, 2004
Release Date: September 08, 2004


Descendents of Darkness Vol.#01
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yoko Matsushita
Translated by:David Ury/Kelly Sue DeConnick
Adapted by:

What They Say
As a Guardian of Death, Asato Tsuzuki has a lot to think about. First of all, there are all those dead people. Someone's got to escort them safely to the afterlife. Then there's all that bureaucracy. The affairs of death come with a lot of paperwork, budgetary concerns and endless arcana. Combining supernatural action with heavy dollops of romance, sex and huroro, Descendants of Darkness proves one thing: Death is big business... and business is good!

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tsuzuki's got a problem. There's a girl out there missing, and he's got to bring her in. Or course, Tsuzuki's dead, this girl is supposed to be dead, and the King of Hell hasn't given Tsuzuki a bonus in a long time. Tsuzuki's a shinigami, a spirit of death. His job is to bring the living over to the other side of life when their time comes. Unfortunately, they don't always make the trip, and Tsuzuki's the one to fing them when they go missing. He's got a new partner this time, a young man with a cheerful attitude. Tsuzuki finds it endlessly fun to tease his new partner abou it, too. The girl they're looking for is a high school student who was supposed to die a while ago. When they find her, she's about to commit suicide by jumping off a building. It's great news for Tsuzuki, who hates working. She can just do the job for him and he can collect his bonus. But his new partner talks her out of it. Why she's still living and why his partner is thwarting his plans forces Tsuzuki to do some digging and figure a way out of his dilemma. In the end, he loses a partner and his bonus, but he knows he did the right thing.

Next, he's partnered with another young, but not nearly so enthusiatic partner, Hisoka Kurosaki. He's got enormous untapped pontential, and Tsuzuki's chief thinks he can bring it out of him. But first, he's got to get to work on the case. There are several cases of people in Kyushu (Tsuzuki's territory) who all seem to have died of acute blood loss. It looks like the work of a vampire. Tsuzuki and Gushoshin, who looks like an overdressed chicken from the Renaissance, begin the investigation. Just as Tsuzuki finds a fresh victim, he sees a young woman with blank eyes run past him. A young man with a gun sees him over the body and assumes him to be the murderer, In fact, the young man is Hisoka, Tsuzuki's new partner. Their investigation leads them to Maria Wong, a beautiful Chinese pop diva, her protective mother and their very family doctor, a handsome but sketchy character.

Comments
What if Shigure from Fruits Basket was the lead character in a television detective drama that took place in hell? You get Descendants of Darkness, that's what. Hell isn't such a bad place. Sure, there's lots of redtape, bureaucracy and deadlines to meet, but that's just life- er, death. Tsuzuki is devilishly handsome, and he knows it. He's charming and irreverant, lazy and self-centered, and a thorn in his boss's side. The first chapter appears to have been a one-shot story, but it went over so well, Matsushita decided to start again, this time with the ever put-upon Hisoka as Tsuzuki's new partner. Both have secrets they're hiding from each other, but they find a way to work with each other to solve the case. There's plenty of shonen-ai for the girls to drool over as well, as Tsuzuki loves to tease Hisoka, who has no defence but to blush furiously. Tsuzuki's protection of Hisoka is clearly more than just a cop for his partner. Matsushita's idea of making the afterlife just like our world is brilliant and makes the story much more fun. She has a sense of humor that had me lauging out loud at the oddest places ("At least I got pie.") Her artwork has a surprising amount of detail work in it at times, too. The situations can be rather gory at times, but it never goes over the top. Kelly Sue DeConnick's English adaptation is every bit as clever and fun as the story, and never gets in the way. She also wrote an enjoyable editorial about her grandmother and Andy Rooney's late wife, and the joy people give you, just by being alive. She also wrote a page of translator's notes, which was very useful. Other extras include an illustrated orientation on the Ministy of Hades and the Summons Department, which Tsuzuki works for. It's a fun little piece that explains quite a bit in only a few pages. The cover is a close up of Tsuzuki against a pale blu background. There splashes of red in the title (in both it's translated form and the original Japanese name, Yami no Matsuei) the blood on his hand, and a few flower petals floating around. It's effective and attractive. All the sound effects are translated and retouched into English, which will please many readers. This extra touch makes the $9.99 price even more of a bargain.

There is a real sense of fun and a a cleverness in both the art and the writing that makes this a great read. Descendants of Darkness is a unique story that, despite the shonen-ai aspect, should appeal to readers of both genders.

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