Traveling in-between the world of the living and the twilight world of the dead, Akamushi, the shaman known as the Red Spider Exorcist, wields the powers of a giant spider to combat the demons of the netherworld. In a serendipitous moment, a young girl meets Akamushi, and falls in love with him at first sight. However, it turns out her grandfather and mother are haunted by a “Waraigao” – a demon that attacks living human bodies from the inside, eroding and eventually deteriorating them!
Volume 2 of Taimashin picked up right where volume 1 left off with Megumi at the hot springs. Her story is finished and a second story starts up involving a young girl whose family seems to be cursed. This volume gives some more insight into the nature of Akamushi, and that he might not be completely the hero he appeared to be in the first volume.
Megumi’s story is completed as the truth about her is revealed as is the reason why she is being chased by the demons. There is a climatic battle between Akumushi and Kirai. Iran’s attack in the hot springs also comes to fruition with a Ginga seed that she implanted in Akamushi. The tide turns a few times, it all ends happily with Megumi able to finally move on. Megumi’s state was fairly obvious by the end of volume 1, but how she came to realize it and who was with her was the twist and it was a good one. This story was a good introduction to Akamushi and Gyouanja, showing what they are capable of doing. They seem to work as a team, supporting each other when needed, but not necessarily fighting together. Akamushi is shown to be dedicated to his work, as he stays with Megumi right up to the very end. And even when faced with an alien plant, he proves to be unable to be killed. But he does seem to have one failing, the same one all men have; he doesn’t understand women. His confession of this at the end made for a humorous ending.
The second story that stars in this volume involves another girl, Midori Kurosawa, who is bullied mercilessly at school for being apart of the “Laughing Face Family”. The Laughing Face is said to be a face of concentrated human evil. We see its effect of Midori’s grandfather, as he eats everything; bugs, tree bark, doors. He even tries to go after Midori. Akamushi is somehow summoned to her family’s house. These first few chapters are filled with plenty of action, but very little information is given about what’s going on, or who summoned Akamushi.
The glimpses we get into who or what Akamushi is in this story are tantalizing. He isn’t completely the “good guy” we’re lead to believe he is in the first volume. His arrival up a river causes both human and animals to go insane, causing the death of a fisherman and his family, but he doesn’t seem concerned at all about the effect he’s having on people. And when he arrives at Midori’s house, he seems more excited about being able to feast, spending his time lying around in a spider’s web than helping. Gyouanja has to appear and push him into doing something before things get worse. I like how we’re not sure who or what Akamushi will be feasting on. And the demonic look on his face is a nice contrast to his usual handsome, placid expression.
This second volume of Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist continues to be a great read. Akamushi is a fascinating character. The tidbits that are revealed about him only make you want to know more. He’s fun to watch in action. The stories are well written with great setups that pull you in without a lot of explanation, so you have to keep reading. There is some gore. Megumi gets her heart tore out, and Midori’s mother stabs herself in the stomach. Don’t do what I did and read this during lunch. But beyond these few scenes, there isn’t anything really disturbing. This title continues to be a must read.