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Kwaidan Paperback – March 2, 2004

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 14th-century Japan, an orphan with no face finds herself haunted by the ghosts of a samurai and his lover, both of whom died more than 200 years before. That's this story's premise, but the telling itself is more than a little muddled—in particular, it's difficult to keep track of who is related to whom. Whether that's a problem with the original story or the translation isn't entirely clear, but it doesn't really matter. The real reason to buy this graphic novel is the art. Physically, this work is simply gorgeous. Printed on heavy paper and lavishly colored with a computer process that approximates and at times transcends watercolors, Jung's illustrations capture a supernatural world not often seen outside of the better Japanese anime. Ghosts made of blood, ghosts made of lake water, ghosts that take the form of an army of malevolent infants: Jung renders all of these images with an attention to detail that makes them plausible, and therefore all the more haunting. Jung's layouts also show a real cinematic sense (he even thanks directors Miyazaki and Kurosawa in his acknowledgements). This graphic novel is not so much about story as it is about spectacle. Readers looking for a straightforward, plot-oriented book may not be satisfied. But those seeking a graphic novel that mirrors the best in impressionistic Japanese cinema (like Kurosawa's Dreams) will be pleased. This work offers an adult-themed story as a welcome alternative to the many juvenile manga on the market.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

To level the playing field, the plainer of two twelfth-century Japanese sisters who love the same warrior splashes acid in her sibling's face. The disfigured sister despairs and drowns herself. When the warrior learns of this, he despairs, too, blinding himself at the edge of the lake in which his beloved sank. Two hundred years later, the plain sister still lives, thanks to the water of the fatal lake, which is a spirit trap containing many souls, including those of the drowned sister and blinded lover. Enmity between the sisters persists, and when a baby meant to reembody the drowned one is born, the other sends a ghost to kill it. The attempt fails, as do subsequent attempts to kill the growing girl or divert her from her destiny. The many ghostly onslaughts on the heroine eventually seem like padding, but what padding! Jung and Jee-Yun draw liberally on the visual vocabulary of Japanese ghost films, both anime and live action, to create a dusky, misty, muted-color dream of a graphic novel. Magical, indeed. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse (March 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569718415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569718414
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,136,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The best comics offer what this does. The artwork stands out: more than competent, well away from the unfortunate tropes of manga, colored carefully, composed elegantly. So does the story. There's an evil wizard, ghost army, blind seer, lives sacrificed to love, a Falstaff-like jester/warrior, faceless beauty - well, lots more, too, but just that's enough for most three or four stories. The threads wind together in ways that snare the reader into its complex plot.

I am guessing that this retells a classic Japanese ghost story, but just guessing. So much seems classic and credible, it should be if it isn't. But old or modern, it conveys age and a patina just adds to its charm.

A majestic story, beautifully rendered. I'm loving it.

-- wiredweird
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Format: Paperback
As a fan of graphic novels, comics, and art, I can honestly say that this is my favorite graphic novel.

The artwork is amazing. It's breath-taking. The story is beautiful. The execution is masterful. This is high-quality work. I recomend this to anyone who loves graphic novels and everyone who is new to them.

In one word: AMAZING.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been looking for this book forever and I found it here for cheap so that was a plus. I loved the plot that the story has and the art is just magnificent. I'm glad that I finally bought this.
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Format: Paperback
Beautiful art, all color inside. Cover is beautiful to behold. Printed when publishers were willing to make the effort to produce a beautiful product. We may never see this kind of quality again.
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Format: Paperback
A beautifully illustrated story of ghostly vengeance from the other side. A love tail filled with Japanese spiritual mythology, demons and magic. Kwaïdan will captivate you and leve you with a philosophical message of love.
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