Oninagi Vol. #01 - Mania.com


Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Yen Press
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 978-0759530348
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Oninagi

Oninagi Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     June 08, 2009
Release Date: April 21, 2009

Oninagi Vol. #01
© Yen Press

Demon slayers, demons, and a young girl with mysterious powers and personalities set up a plenty of options for action in this occult themed action series.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Akira Ishida
Translation: Kaori Inoue
Adaptation: Kaori Inoue

What They Say
Typical high school girl Nanami is a descendant of demons. Sensing Nanami's hidden power is the Ministry of Sacred Treasures' first-class member, the demon slayer, Tomotaka. Though their initial meeting is as hunter and quarry, will Tomotaka's allegiances change when Nanami steps up to defend her against a more powerful enemy!?

The Review!
As I have come to expect from Yen Press, the print reproduction in this volume looks quite nice with a color insert to kick the book off.  However, the lower grade corresponds to a couple of pages with art not quite reaching the edge of the page.  This mistake is incredibly small and would probably go unnoticed by most readers.  The only extra in this volume is the Translator Notes, which is really the only extra I need.  Sure, sometimes the extra comic at the end with the author complaining about his/her life is funny, but not necessary.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Ishida’s art.  Action sequences dissolve into muddy scenes with few panels to lay out the movement and fewer distinguishable objects.  I do like the character designs for the demons.  However, the character’s features are rough and their facial expressions vary little from situation to situation.  There is also a little disproportion in eye size when a character is angled in the frame and the eye furthest from the reader is larger or as large as the closest eye.  I certainly can’t draw any better, but I read a lot of manga with better art, hence the grade.

The translation is certainly passable and not bad in any way.  However, there are instances when the dialogue seems to have words out of place.  Of course, certain characters have distinct speech patterns and that lends credibility to any story.  With that said, it did not seem to be a pattern for any single character and I notice these things as they make me pause and reread the sentence.  The original Japanese SFX remains unmodified with small transliterations placed alongside or in the nearby gutter.  The SFX are also translated into English and placed in the gutters, so overall there is very little modification to the artwork.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

Nanami is a normal school girl, even if she is super hyper, with a normal crush for the school president.  Only she proves to be not so normal when a Slayer, Tomotaka, shows up claiming Nanami is a demon and must die.  Strange thing to have happen on the morning walk to school.  Nanami quickly gives Tomotaka the shake before finding herself at a city park where a real demon has been hiding.  Tomotaka intervenes in an attempt to destroy the demon, but she can’t shake the idea that Nanami was giving off a demon aura.

When push comes to shove, Nanami seems to become possessed by another personality before releasing an awesome power that helps banish the demon.  This leaves Tomotaka wondering if Nanami is a magic user of some type.

Alright, wait a minute.  Unfortunately, none of this is original in anyway or incredibly interesting.  It has all been done before; high school student has hidden powers and must battle demons with the help of some strange person.  Now the question is, can the author make these characters really likeable and/or find a new angle?

Nanami lives with her grandfather and neither of them know anything about her secret powers.  However, with a little prodding from Tomotaka, grandfather admits his family comes from a long line of Slayer’s, but have retired with the death of Nanami’s father.  The story becomes more interesting when we learn one of their ancestors married a demon generations ago and that Nanami’s strange ability may be a manifestation of that demon’s powers.  This becomes more plausible when a review of the family tree shows that Nanami is the first female born into the family in over 400 years.

Aspects of this story become more complicated when other forces interested in Nanami enter the story.  A strange group of demons believe Nanami is the reincarnation of someone with magical powers that died 16 years ago and they want to recapture that power.  Another Slayer enters the scene and forms an uneasy truce with Tomotaka, but they can’t decide if they should kill Nanami or protect her.  Finally, three ancient and powerful demons appear, claiming Nanami is the reincarnation of their princess from around 400 years ago and they are sworn to protect her.

So where is this all going?  Don’t know, but the cast of characters are large enough now to have me interested in reading the next volume.

Oninagi has demons, demon slayers, and a young girl in the middle with strange powers and an even stranger alter ego that pops out from time to time.  None of this is unique, but there is a large enough cast of characters from enough camps to make the story interesting.  If nothing else, I want to know more about the Slayers and why a demon force is after Nanami.  As a lead, Nanami isn’t all that interesting.  Although, her hyperactivity does have the potential give this story a comedic shot in the arm from time to time.

Overall, this book is not incredibly interesting and should really only be of interest to fans of occult stories.  However, this is only the first volume and they tend to be a mish mash as they have to introduce a lot of characters and the story premise in a limited number of pages.  So this could prove to be a more interesting story with time.


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