TOGARI (???) • Yoshinori Natsume • VIZ (2007-2008) • Shogakukan (Weekly Shônen Sunday, 2000-2002) • 8 volumes • Shônen Occult Action • 16+ (mild language, frequent violence, partial nudity, brief sexual situations)
Tobei, a snarling murderer from Japan’s Tokugawa Era, is let out of hell on a mission: if he can kill 108 “Toba” (bug-like spirits which inhabit sinners) in 108 days, using the magic wooden sword named Togari, he can live again. His glee at being free again is dampened when he finds he is forbidden to hurt mortals or do any bad deeds at all, despite his scary appearance (“He’s more than a sinner! He’s evil incarnate!”) and callous worldview (“I don’t care about anyone’s life except my own!”). For a manga in which a villain gradually turns into a good guy (as in InuYasha), Togari makes a stronger than usual effort to show Tobe’s gradual socialization process. Tobei, who was raised in feudal slums, must deal with two baffling new things: (1) altruism and trust and (2) modern technology such as TVs and cars. These scenes are well-written and only rarely preachy (and the technology scenes are funny), but the plot becomes more typically fight-oriented in volume 4, when the Toba develop superpowers, and a “big bad guy” enters the story. The story also ends abruptly. Still, it’s an above-average character piece for a kids’ action manga, and the art, while not nearly as scary as the premise suggests, is clean and chiseled, similar to Ryoji Minagawa.
Today’s winner is Helen M. of North Carolina. Congrats! And here is a photo from one of our previous manga winners, one of the 365 prophesied manga recipients, Emily B.!
So did you like your manga, Emily?
Ah, yes…. sorry, Emily… Ghost School is not the greatest manga. But I hope you enjoy its accompanying manga, Kia Asamiya’s Steam Detectives! Together they make an intruiging mix of manga flavors! Steam Detectives is one of Asamiya’s better series, although I still don’t mourn the fact that Viz canceled it at the point when it switched magazines in Japan. As for the Hino Horror manga, they too were canceled in midstream, but since they’re all one-shots (and there’s a BIG drop in quality from the first couple of books to the later ones like *cough* Ghost School) it’s not such a big deal. Thanks for sending such great photos!
See everyone tomorrow, when I will have a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!