Last year, I talked about a bunch of the manga that was out that I thought was most appropriate to read on a dark and spooky nights of Halloween. This year, I want to narrow my focus some, and look at some manga that isn’t particularly spooky, but features some traditional monsters, both eastern and western.
On the eastern side, the first that comes to mind is Yokaiden. It’s an OEL title published by Del Rey, with the first volume out, and the second set to come out in November. It’s about a boy who loves stories about yokai. One day he helps a Kappa out of a trap, but later finds his grandmother, who set the trap dead. He then goes in search of the land of the yokai to talk to the kappa and see if he was responsible for his grandmother’s death. Along the way, he meets (and sometimes befriends) lots of yokai. The info on yokai in this title are interesting, and there’s a good variety of them, but the story is predicable, and the characters are generic. It’s not bad, but neither is it a must have.
Another Del Rey title that deals with yokai is Yokai Doctor. This is probably the least scary of all the monster titles here. It’s about Kuro, a yokai doctor (duh). He meets Kotoko, from a line of yokai exterminators. Though Kuro, she learns more about the creatures she supposed to exorcise. I’ve put off reading this title, since it’s heavy on the fan service, something I don’t care for. But, there are plenty of yokai abound in this title, so if you can get past the fan service, you’ll probably enjoy it.
Tactics is a title that’s had it rough. Starting out at ADV Manga, it was rescued by Tokyopop, which had to resolicit its latest volume to this January. And it’s got plenty of yokai. Kantarou is a writer and folklorist. Ever since he was young he could not only see yokai, but also befriended them. His dream has been to find the legendary Demon-Eating Tengu, and make him his friend, which of course, he does. Besides writing, he also works as an exorcist, helping take care of troublesome yokai. Tactics is a great series. The mixture of humor and drama is just right and Sakura Kinoshita’s art is fantastic!
For titles with western monsters, I could only find one, but it makes sure to pack almost ALL of them in.
Princess Resurrection is another monster-loaded Del Rey title. Del Rey really packs the monsters in, don’t they? Hime is a Princess of Monsters. With the death of her father, the King, her family is fighting to see who inherits the throne. Hime isn’t interested in the throne or the fight, and comes to the human world to try and find a place to settle down/fortify. Hiro, who’s sister comes to work as a maid for Hime, dies in an accident and becomes a Blood Warrior to Hime, and must drink her blood every few days to stay alive. The first volume of this title is filled with Universal Monsters. Hime with her chain saw must defend against the Wolfman, the Invisible Man and a whole clan of Creatures from the Black Lagoon! Of course vampires abound, but I don’t think there was a Frankenstein’s Monster. Instead they have androids. The first volume was a lot of fun with the wacky humor. How can you not love chainsaws going through monster flesh? But as the series progresses, it starts to become a harem title, with ever new female character wanting to be with Hiro. It started to lose it’s appeal (to me) after the third volume.
For the kids, cause we all know kids love monsters, Cowa! from Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, is filled with monsters mostly from western tradition. The main character, Paifu is a half vampire-half were-koala. His best friend is a ghost and his “rival”, Apone, is a Lagoon monster. This is a one volume title. Paifu and his friends get the human Maruyama to help them travel to Horned-Owl Mountain, to the witch that has the medicine to cure the Monster Flu that as affected the residents of Bat Ridge. It’s a really fun all ages title. Both kids and adults can enjoy it, and it has all of Toriyama’s twisted humor. It’s definitely a must have for monster lovers.
So, if you want to get in the mood for Halloween without scaring your pants, or your kids’ pants, off, check out these monster, and often humor, filled titles!