Halloween is a favorite time of the year for kids, not only because they get to dress up in costumes and wear masks and makeup, but also because of their second favorite activity of the year (right behind Christmas), Trick or Treating! So, in anticipation of that big day at the end of the month, here are some manga that might try to trick or treat you.
Hellsing, a secret organization also known as the Royal Order of Protestant Knights, has protected the United Kingdom and the English crown since ancient days from supernatural threats. Whether it is vampires or the mindless ghouls they create, the Hellsing Agency is ready to take on the fight local police are unable to handle.
It’s been a while since I updated my post on manga for Halloween. The titles I choose to put on this list don’t just have death, vampires, horror, or supernatural elements. I try to choose titles that have a creepy atmosphere to them as well. Something that can send a chill up your spine, and not just gross you out.
Going in order of publishers again, let’s start with Dark Horse, who still has the most titles to fit this genre.
School Zone – This is a 3 volume series that tell stories of ordinary kids who encounter the strange and terrifying in their school. Ghosts, urban legends and superstitions turn out to be horribly real. This series is by Kanako Inuki, who is known as the Queen of Manga Horror. She also created CMX’s Presents. You can read a review of volume 1 here, and all three volumes here.
Viz Media has a couple of new titles and both of them come out this month!
Grand Guignol Orchestra – This is a new 5 volume series by Kaori Yuki, creator of The Cain Saga, Godchild and Fairy Cube. Lucille is the head of the travelling Grand Orchesta. For a price he and the orchestra will go to a town and rid them of the Guiynol infected people called puppets who threaten the town. This is done by Kaori Yuki, so you know it’s going to be good. Read reviews of this new series here and here.
March Story – This title was just announced at Anime Expo this year, and it’s scheduled to come out in the next week or two. It created by Korean artists, but the story is published by Shogakukan’s Sunday Gene-X (thanks @toukochan!). Set in 18th Century Europe, demons know as the Ill hide in works of art, waiting to attract unsuspecting humans and possess them. Only hunters of the Ciste Vihal can dispel them, and March is one such hunter, tracking down Ills and stopping them before they can possess anyone. This sounds like a really cool series and I can’t wait for it to come out. There have been only 2 volumes released so far in Japan, so expect this one to be on a long release schedule.
Tokyopop added one title that I really enjoyed.
Hanako and the Terror of Allegory – What if urban legends were true? The killer under the bed, the slit-mouthed woman, human-faced fish are all well known urban legends, and they can possess you, making you believe they are real. And if they are real, they can kill you. This title is about Daisuke Asou, who is known as an Allegory Detective. He’s the person you to if you are possessed by one of these legends or allegories. The stories are well done, and the urban legends are very creepy. It was a lot of fun to read, but then, I love urban legends. Read other reviews here and here.
Yen Press added a title that has some stories to send chills up your spine.
Time and Again – Serialized in Yen Plus, this manhwa follows exorcist Baek-On and his bodyguard Ho-Yeon as they travel the country in search of grudges and ghosts. A lot of the stories deal with karma and re-incarnation, and have very tragic tales behind the hauntings. The art is very well done, and some scenes will make you have second thoughts about reading at night. I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. There are three volumes out so far, and here are reviews of each. It can also be read online through Yen Plus magazine.
DMP seems to have embraced the horror genre with two titles new this year.
Taimashin: The Read Spider Exorcist – This title is from the creator of Vampire Hunter D, Hideyuki Kikuchi. Akamushi Fujiwara travels between the world of the living and the dead, using his shamanistic spider powers to combat demons from the underworld. As mysterious as he is handsome, if you need Akamushi’s help, you are in dire straits indeed. There are two volumes out so far with all of Kikuchi’s great action and horror, as well as some sexual innuendo. I’ve reviewed both volumes here.
Tale of a White Night – This is a one-shot collection of short stories of supernatural and suspense. The tales are more in the vein to make you cautious and constantly looking over your shoulder than outright scare you. It’s a good light horror for those that like the more psychological scare than physical gore. Reviews can be found here and here.
Udon has dabbled in manhwa and licensed one Korean horror title.
Reading Club – This title is about a girl, Eun-Sae, who agrees to help clean the student-run school library with her crush Kyung-Do. While cleaning they discovers a book with an evil aura, that may be responsible for the death of not just the library’s previous advisor, but also another student and Kyung-Do’s own father years before. This is a strongly plot driven story with supernatural and horror elements. Sadly though, only one volume has come out so far. You can read reviews of this title here, and here.
Seven Seas Entertainment has really made a name with OEL manga, and with all their different genres has one title that takes on the Cthulu mythos.
Arkham Woods – You can’t say horror and not think of H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulu. This one volume title takes you into Lovecraft’s world with Kirsti Rivers, an LA girl transplanted to the sleepy New England town of Arkham Woods. While cleaning out the old house her mother’s uncle left to them, Kirsti and her friends uwittingly unleash an ancient horror that could destroy the world, if they don’t stop it first. You can read this title online as well as in print, and check this review to see how it stands up to a Lovecraft fan.
Did I miss any titles that should be added to these lists? Leave a comment and let me know so I can start to work for next year!
Canon is a story of revenge, regret, love and redemption. Canon Himura is the sole survivor of a vampire attack where 39 of her fellow students died and she herself was made into a vampire as well. Six months have passed, and now she is searching for the vampire she believes is responsible to avenge her friends and herself. She is accompanied by a vampiric crow, Fui, who helps her sniff out other vampires. At first, all they find are servants, humans infected with vampire blood, until Sakaki appears. He is half human/half vampire, and he has a grudge against the same vampire as Canon. His parents were killed and he left for dead for being a “half”. He offers to help her find and destroy their mutual enemy.
This seemingly straightforward setup quickly starts taking twists and turns as Canon learns the truth about who killed her friends, her connection to the elder vampire Rod, and who holds the strings to her heart. As the truth comes out and the battles between Sakaki and the pure blood vampires continue, people change sides, enemies become allies, and all the way through Canon is the lynch pin that changes people’s hearts and lives.
Canon is the heart of this title. She is a great female lead. Strong-minded and determined, she chooses her course and can not be easily swayed from it. She doesn’t care about her odds of succeeding. She will still try her best, whether it’s facing powerful vampires or trying to save humans from becoming servants. She draws a lot of her strength from being able to hold on to her humanity. She is able to fight off the thirst for human blood and keeps a hold of her self, and in doing so also keeps much of her compassion. She argues with Sakaki about killing and even convinces him to spare the pure blood Machua. It’s this compassion, even in the face of her, enemy that makes Canon a force to be reckoned with. It helps her to overcome her desire for revenge, as she tries instead to break the cycle, and keep anyone else from dying. The lengths she will go for this impress even Glenn, a vampire elder determined to follow the laws of his clan.
The story is well written and moves at a good pace. Each volume can almost be said to have a theme running through it. Volume 1 is about revenge. Canon spends most of the volume going on about the desire for revenge, and we quickly learn Sakaki wants the same. In volume 2 we meet Rod, and learn the truth about what happened to both Canon and Sakaki. Rod shows his regret for what he had to do and it resonates with Canon. In Volume 3, Canon acknowledges her feelings for Sakaki, despite all the pain he has caused her. Volume 4 is about redemption, for Rod and especially for Sakaki, and only Canon can help him find it.
The world of Canon is laid out quickly and remains internally consistent to the end. One of the things I really appreciated about it was the focus remained on Canon and her goals, and not on getting her and Sakaki together. Canon doesn’t dwell on him and what he might think of her. She only thoughts are if she can trust him, and then if she can kill him. There are very few suggestive bite scenes and they are short at that. Most of the time, the biting is brutal, and there is a lot of blood flowing, just as you would expect in a vampire story. The romance is secondary to the story, which makes the suspense all the more thrilling.
Shiomi’s art is just beautiful. Set in modern Japan, Canon is dressed in smart but (mostly) sensible clothes. I have doubts about the spike heel boots, but as a vampire, she must have balance to do the high jumps and land on them just fine. In some scenes, she looks like she could be a professional working in an office. All of the characters had a professional look to them. No one was flamboyant or outlandish in style or dress.
Canon is a great series and at 4 volumes it shouldn’t be hard to track down. It’s more about action than romance and is character driven as many of Shiomi’s titles are. Not only does Canon grow and change over the course of the story, but so does Sakaki, Rod, and even Glenn. when you get to the end, you can not just see the changes, but feel them. It’s also a title that keeps you on your toes to the very end, and doesn’t romanticize vampires. They are the scary, blood sucking creatures of the night they were always meant to be, just a little more thoughtful for having met Canon.
I love Halloween. It’s become one of my favorite holidays, and not for the candy! As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, bare trees cast eerie shadows, it’s time for ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night to come out! So for the month of October, I will be following the theme of Halloween in articles and reviews, mostly about vampires, though I think some ghosts and yokai might sneak in, and there might even be some trick or treating! Even the theme will get in on the action! So I hope you’ll enjoy the fun and frights of this haunted month!
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.
ComiPress, one of the first manga new reporting sites is hanging up it’s news hat and has moved over to a more timely topic: Scanlations. There has been a lot of talk about scanlations, especially since the economy took a dive, but do you really understand what scanlations are or how they came to be? Inside Scanlation seeks to answers these questions and more. The site looks at the history of scanlations, interviews scanlators and publishers for their takes and even explains some of the nuances of the community. I think this is an interesting project. And while people don’t agree with what the scanlators do, I think it’s worth the time to find out why they do it. It’s the anthropologist in me.
Ha! I’m getting a weekly done on the actually week! Yeah, I had to take the day off from work to do it, but hey… Actually, I took the day off for Halloween, and this is just a benefit. But, staying in the spirit of things, we’ve got some spooky reviews for you this week!
I start out this week with another review of Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector Volume 4 from Viz. SCharles Tan brings another delivery from Dark Horse with Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volume 7. John Thomas brings some Samurai action with Afro Samurai Volume 1 from Seven Seas Entertainment. Afros can be scary… Then we go for some animal themed BL with Voice or Noise Volume 1 from BLU by Katherine Farmar, and LIssa Patillo makes a guest appearance with a review of Ruff Love from Deux Press. Some people (mostly guys) think BL is scary… So, we’ve got something scare everyone!
We do our weekly picks for this spooky halloween, and our reviewers are either going batty or dreaming of Akihabara. But don’t be melancholy! We wouldn’t steer you wrong! Over at Good Comics for Kids at School Library Journal I have the kids picks for this week, as well as some Halloween picks.
It’s that time of year again when ghosts and goblins come out to play. Do you want to get into the Halloween spirit, but just don’t know what to get? Well, here’s a list of manga that I’ve either read, or know something about enough to recommend (or warn you away from).
I first posted this on my Tokyopop blog, but I’m bringing here with a few updates. Well, I thought it was going to be just a few, but every time I start to think I’m done, I come up with another book! I tried to keep the books in this list to more appropriate to a Halloween theme, than just ghosts, vampires and monsters, etc. It would take forever to list ALL manga with those in it!