Yaoi writer Tooko Miyagi shows a twisted flair for the supernatural in this 'just good enough' horror anthology.
Writer/Artist: Tooko Miyagi
What They Say
In a small, quiet village, there is a folk story about a beautiful female demon. Nobody knows who she is, so the locals simply call her "Oni." The story has it that she killed people and collected parts of their bodies to make a perfect human figure. A young man named Sho is spending the summer with his grandmother and meets Oni while he's taking a walk in the woods. Blinded by her beauty, he is lured into Oni's house... She is about to add his legs to her collection... Nobody can hear him crying for help...
Tale of a White Night is a supernatural/horror one-shot manga. The book is a collection of four horror themed stories and one 'bonus' story that is anything but horror.
Since these stories are so short, to give any sort of synopsis to convey what the stories are about would be to spoil the whole thing. The best way to describe this book is'it's pretty decent. None of the stories are frightening enough to warrant the title of 'great' horror manga but much like some of the throwaway episodes of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, it presents a good enough story with a sufficient twist to make you go 'huh.'
Also like those throwaway episodes, this book is worth revisiting. It is mild fluff but interesting mild fluff that doesn't teeter on the edge of ridiculousness and stupidity. Each short is well crafted for its designed purpose and, with the exception of the first story 'Offering', can actually intrigue enough to want to finish the story. One thing I really liked was how the endings were kind of obvious but Mrs. Miyagi has enough skill to keep you wondering: what is really going on ('Funeral'), what just happened ('The Fall'), and I wonder what will happen next ('Invitation'). The twists are good and make for enjoyable reads that would gladly read again.
The 'bonus' story, entitled 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon', is the oddball in the group as it isn't remotely related to supernatural thriller/horror. This story tells of a woman searching for the traitor who betrayed her people and killed her brother. This story is really where the book falters as many tropes of manga are on display here with no surprises or originality. The main character is a beautifully drawn woman and the man she meets in 'enemy territory' is a typical bishonen male. Even the slight medieval feel of the setting brings nothing new to the table; and seeing as this is the longest story in the book, it also makes for the least interesting one.
While there is no chance of 'Tale of a White Night' going down in history as a great horror anthology, it does provide decent enough stories that are worth reading if you are a fan of the genre. Nothing truly terrifying but just interesting and well paced.
While sitting down with a fantastic horror manga that you've read a hundred times before is a great feeling and time well spent, sometimes just some small snacks to whet the appetite is just what you need; enter 'Tale of a White Night.'