A Strange and Mystifying Story Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-56970-717-3
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: A Strange and Mystifying Story

A Strange and Mystifying Story Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     May 07, 2008
Release Date: May 27, 2008


A Strange and Mystifying Story Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tsuta Suzuki
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
Akio Yamane's ancestors have died young for generations, and he despises the cursed lineage his family has given him. Then one day, Akio falls ill! But when he unknowingly summons a protector god, a man with long ears and a tail appears before him - completely naked!

The Review
Talk about strange appetites!

Packaging:

DMP lives up to their usual high standards here, with a full color dustjacket, fairly sharp art reproduction, and their usual very good print quality, although the blacks aren't as dark as they could be in places and some pages look almost faded. If you've seen any of their books you know exactly what to expect here.

Art:

Suzuki's art is almost simplistic in places, but she really excels at creating distinctive character designs that remain recognizable even in a variety of different expressions and angles. She plays to her strengths, focusing primarily on faces and leaving backgrounds and other details to a minimum. While it probably couldn't be categorized as "pretty," especially by the flowery standards of some artists, her art is quite attractive and has a unique appeal.

Text/SFX:

All sound effects are translated on the page in a font that closely matches the original. The translation flows fairly naturally, although there were a few points when the character's voice didn't feel entirely true. Overall, I was happy with the quality.

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

Even after Akio's grandfather died, leaving him the last of their line, he refused to believe in the stories of a family curse. But when Akio himself fell ill with a fatal and incurable disease, he reached out in a panic to the mysterious thing that his grandfather had once told him would protect their family line. To Akio's shock, a dog-eared (and naked!) man appeared, demanding that he be named.

The newly named Setsu explains that, as a hobby, he protects their family from the curse...but only if he feels like it. And he feels like making Akio's wish come true - to be free of the cursed disease. Setsu does this by actually eating the disease out of Akio's body, but there's so much of it that the process isn't going to be a short one. Akio isn't thrilled by this to say the least, but when Setsu decides to make the process more fun by "mingling" with Akio, he's just that much unhappier.

Setsu is arrogant and aggravating, and Akio isn't finding life with him easy in the least. But when he's finally well enough to return to work, he's delighted to be reunited with his three coworker - Sasaki the newlywed, Tet-chan his childhood friend, and his manager Minamiura. Setsu's arrival at the office leads to all five of them having a drinking party back at Akio's, where it turns out that Minamiura and Setsu are old friends - and Minamiura isn't too bad with advice, either.

As his disease is gradually cleared away and living with Setsu becomes easier, Akio gets more and more upset at the thought of their future separation. Will the two find a way to overcome fate and live together happily?

"Nylon Vinyl" deals with an unlikely romance between a teacher and his strange, detached student who feels like everybody is separated by an invisible membrane. "Is There No God Or Buddha" involves a moody woodcarver and the boy who moves in with him uninvited. There's more drama in this one than in the previous stories, but the light humor that makes the others work so well makes a few appearances.

Comments
While none of the stories in the books are comedies as such, humerous elements that show up and keep the mood light. The title story was really well executed, and all of the characters, Akio's coworkers included, were better developed and more interesting than you'd normally find in a story of this type. Minamiura especially was fantastic - his interactions with both Setsu and Akio really drove the narrative, and kept things interesting. Akio's progression from desperate sick man to reluctant lover was also well done, but Setsu was the real star of the show, getting what he wanted all along while making Akio think that he was doing him a favor. He's definitely the manipulative type, and the contrast between his behavior around Akio's coworkers and in private just makes the humor work that much better.

As a general rule, wolfboys aren't a bad thing, as long as the writing is good - and I had no complaints on that score. For anyone in the mood for an offbeat and quirky romance with a touch of the supernatural, this is likely a solid choice.

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