Manga Village

Fairy Cube Volume 1

May 21, 2008

Ian is transported to another world by the fairy Ainsel, who promises to help him stop Tokage upon their return to the human plane.

By Kaori Yuki
Publisher: Viz Media – Shojo Beat
Genre: Fantasy/Horror Drama
Rating: T+
Price: $8.99

Dropping Celtic mythology into modern-day Japan, Fairy Cube is a departure from the usually moody and dark tales. There’s no brooding from the lead, or long, strung out plots. The story is fast paced, but still moves smoothly as it establishes both its characters and direction of the story.

Ian Hasumi has always been able to see fairies. But because he has been the only one, no has ever believed him, except for childhood friend Rin. Ian has another secret. Another Ian, that haunts him, that he calls “Tokage”. He torments Ian, turning his father against him, and leading him into trouble. Tokage is a changeling, and manipulates Ian’s father to kill Ian so he can take over his body and life. Ian, relegated to spirit form, is determined to get revenge on Tokage and reclaim his body and life.

When I first read the preview for this title, I thought it was going to be another dark story, with a brooding lead that is abused by his father. But, the volume turned out to be something completely different. Ian does have some problems with his father, but it’s because of Tokage’s influence. Ian himself doesn’t brood or reflect on his lot in life. After he dies and his destiny is “fulfilled”, he is determined to change it and regain everything he lost. He proves to be smart and capable in the other world of Magmore, his knowledge of the fairy world not only getting them out of scrapes, but also rescuing an urchin and his sister. His determination is so strong that he impresses the fairy Ainsel and she offers to help him.

The story moves fast. Ian is dead by about page 48, and about the same number of is spent in Magmore. The amount of time spent in each place is just enough to establish whatever is needed and then we’re moving on. But that’s isn’t to say the story is rushed. It moves at a steady pace, not giving you time to get bored. After establishing all the characters, the plot moves smoothly from Ian making the deal with Ainsel, to finding out what Tokage and the other “Wing People” are up to, which is the hook of the series. There are no real lulls or slow spots as everything that happens moves the plot along.

The Celtic mythology also adds a lot to the story. It’s not a mythology that’s seen in manga much, so it feels new to see monsters that haven’t been encountered hundreds of times before. The fairies appear to be divided between the two courts of Seelie and Unseelie, though there’s only a glimpse of this in the volume. Fairy circles also play a significant role, with the mangaka even putting her own spin on crop circles. It’s a new world to explore, which adds to the title’s appeal.

Fairy Cube is a change from the other titles by this author. The quick pace of the story and strength of the protagonist makes it stand out against her other more sprawling titles. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like a Kaori Yuki title. There is still the sense of darkness, and that things aren’t always what they seem. The art is beautiful and creepy, keeping that sense of darkness alive even in the light of day. If you have hesitated to check out Kaori Yuki’s work, his a good place to start. If you’ve been a fan, this is a great addition to your library.

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