Kekkaishi Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0067-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Kekkaishi Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     December 03, 2005
Release Date: November 01, 2005

Kekkaishi Vol.#03
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yellow Tanabe
Translated by:Yuko Sawada
Adapted by:

What They Say
By night, junior high student Yoshimori Sumimura is a "kekkaishi" - a demon-hunter who specializes in creating magical barriers around his prey. By day, Yoshimori's got some other demons to battle: an addiction to sweets and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori's pretty 16-year-old neighbor and childhood friend, Tokine Yukimura, is also a kekkaishi, but their families are feuding over who is the "true practitioner" of the art.

When he's unable to capture a particularly nasty foe, Yoshimori vows to improve himself - even if it means spending less time baking cakes! Then Madarao, Yoshimori's loyal demon dog, reveals the secret of her upbringing and asks Yoshimori to unleash her so that she can do away with a demon of her own. But if Yoshimori takes off her collar, he runs the risk of losing Madarao forever!

The Review
The third volume of Kekkaishi continues to do what it does best, providing an enjoyable experience that I hope will develop into something bigger very soon.

The cover features the original Japanese tankoubon artwork that looks spectacular, making full use of the entire space. The colors are sharp and bright, and I like how Viz kept the Japanese logo down the middle, with the English title along the bottom. The print reproduction is adequate, with a few instances of distorted gray tones. Extras include an 4-page mini-manga from Tanabe and a funny illustration advertising “Black Devil 2”.

Artwork continues to just be consistently clean. Character designs are very soft, with a good use of facial expressions and some semi-deformed designs that are used appropriately. Backgrounds are detailed and plentiful when there is not a lot of action happening in the panels. The action sequences are pretty average and do the job.

SFX are translated and retouched. I am not familiar with the original text, but the translation reads very well and there is some effort made to keep the characters’ personalities intact.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Yellow Tanabe is sure not in any sort of rush to throw the characters into any sort of ongoing plot. With the introduction of the “Shadow Organization” at the end of the previous volume, I was under the impression that something bigger would be developing soon. Yellow Tanabe instead just continues to stick with what is working best, providing charming characters that I care about along with some good bits of humor.

Yoshimori continues to train hard in order to believe that he is strong enough to protect Tokine. However, it is not Yoshimori’s strength that is the problem, but rather that he does not believe in himself. After training with the old geezer’s trick boulder (it’s metal on the inside), Yoshimori and Tokine head out to Karasumori again to take care of a nasty little ayakashi that is quite territorial and can puncture their kekkai, making it hard to contain. Once again, Tokine and Yoshimori team up their brains and brawn (respectively) to take care of the ayakashi. Yoshimori still believes that he is still not strong enough, but it is Tokine that realizes his untapped power. And no, that untapped power is not his rose-twirling shikigami that he uses to protect Tokine from the “black devil” cockroach in the last chapter of this volume--a filler yet most enjoyable chapter. These two have a great chemistry, even if they act like they dislike each other at times, so I am very interested in seeing what will become of them down the road.

Most of the remaining volume takes some time out to develop Madarao,
Yoshimori’s demon dog companion, using the standard shounen themes but giving it a little twist in that I was not expecting their animal companies to get any panel time. While patrolling for ayakashi, a black demon dog named Koya appears that has a history with Madarao that dates back 400 years. The two of them used to roam free and hunt on a mountain, until man came along and took the land and their lives away from them. Madarao has since forgiven man, but Koya has roamed the land ever since still carrying the anger. Madarao left the vicious Koya for Tokimori Hazama, which is how Madarao become the ayakashi hunter, leaving Koya feeling betrayed. This 400-year-old grudge will finally be settled as Koya and Madarao go at it, but not until Yoshimori does the forbidden and removes the necklace around Madarao’s neck, which is a seal that protects the evil spirits of Karasumori from influencing Madarao.

With little overarching plot developing, it is possible that the lack of an ongoing story could be a bit of a hang-up for some readers. However, in a market where shounen manga usually sacrifice proper, gradual introductions in order to rush to the action sequences and battles, I appreciate that Yellow Tanabe has given us time to get to know Yoshimori, Tokine, and the world of the Kekkaishi. The stage is properly set and although I am very much enjoying it so far, waiting for the show to go on will become a bit tedious quite soon.

There is no real new ground covered in Yellow Tanabe’s third volume of Kekkaishi, but what is there is still consistently enjoyable. Yoshimori and Tokine are just charming together, Yoshimori continues to train and develop that unknowingly great power within him, and there is some surprise development with an unsuspecting character. That said, there is a possibility that some readers will become a bit frustrated with still no clear direction apparent. Is this a simple, character-driven manga with little ayakashi battles? Or will some other bigger picture come into play with this “Shadow Organization”? We will have to wait, but I’m hoping that wait is not for much longer.


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