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Yokaiden 1 Paperback – November 18, 2008
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Set in ancient Japan, Yokaiden follows the story of a young boy who loves yokai (Japanese "spirits"). When his grandmother is found dead, Hamachi journeys to the Yokai realm to find her killer. Along the way, he meets various yokai and befriends them in hopes that they will help guide him to his destination.
As a newcomer to the world of published manga, Nina Matsumoto clearly displays that she's got what it takes to produce a successful series with the premiere volume of Yokaiden. From the writing to the drawing board, Yokaiden is 100% authentic Matsumoto--guaranteed! Those familiar with her work won't be disappointed!
Yokaiden delivers a refreshing cast of characters that breaks the mold of the modern day manga scene. Lacking in bishounen ("pretty boys") and running rampant with demons and talking objects, Yokaiden introduces the reader to a new world full of fun and adventure with young Hamachi Uramaki as their guide.
Set in ancient-ish Japan, Yokaiden tells the story of nine year old Hamachi, who has a passion for ghosts and monsters; so much so that he has little trouble marching into their realm. His enthusiasm for the creatures provides plenty of chances for us readers to learn a thing or two (nearly if not all of the yokai depicted are straight out of actual myth) as he has a habit of blurting out their characteristics whenever he comes across one. Whether you're new to these kinds of legends, or are hoping to see your favorites depicted in Nina Matsumoto's energetic art style, you won't be disappointed. Throw in some 4th Wall breaking humor and you've got yourself a great read.
Besides, how can you resist a Nue with the voice of Kelsey Grammer? You can't, can you? You're curious already!
The characters are delightfully humerous and as they begin to develop, you can't help but enjoy each one, even the bitter, yokai-hating ronin and his apparent ravenous appetite for boar meat on rice.
And then there's the story itself. It's quite engaging, transporting the reader to a world that has never been explored much in either Japanese manga or its American counterparts. The infusion of the endless variety of spirits and demons from Japanese legends with the twist that much of what they do is misunderstood (and in fact some appear to feel that they serve a helpful purpose, such as skinning the feet of truants to teach them to behave!) will allow for a quite an extensive narrative as more and more of these creatures are encountered.
And so I would certainly recommend "Yokaiden" to any anime/manga/fantasy fan as a series to be enjoyed for a long time to come.
So, when a young Hamachi loses his grandmother he travels to the Yokai (spiritual realm) and finds an ogre with a nasty streak, an angry water spirit, and a talking lantern. Most people fear them, but Hamachi wants to be friends with them instead. The risk is huge, but the reward is worth it.
Matsumoto imbues the book with smart, snappy dialogue and the main character with a strength that will see her through anything. The ogre is more fantasy based, yet similar to a certain character from a LOTR film. The talking lantern and the water spirit connect with readers on this side of the water.
Unlike traditional manga, the book is actually produced front to back. I was surprised that this book read that way, but the art is more 'north american' in influence. This series is far easier to follow than many of the other books from Del Rey. Perhaps it's because it is more traditional, or just the more fantasy based art and theme.
Enjoy this one, this series will be here for a long time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't even remember how I found it, but I got hooked on Nina Matsumoto's webcomic (or webmanga, I suppose) "Saturnalia. Read morePublished on December 30, 2009 by Meguin
Every culture has its odd little creatures of folklore, but few are more curious than the Japanese yokai, which include scary monsters, mischievous imps, and even neglected... Read morePublished on November 24, 2009 by GraphicNovelReporter.com
Definitely a great book. Lighthearted, fun, and beautifully drawn. I've been following the artist's online work for a while and I'm really glad that she got a book deal. Read morePublished on November 12, 2009 by Wing L. Mui
With a great sense of humor and incredible artwork, Yokaiden is ready to overshadow other OEL Manga! Read morePublished on November 26, 2008 by Jessica L. Johnson