365 Days of Manga, Day 50: Baku

 

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BAKU (Baku) (??) • Hakase Mizuki • Tokyopop (2007) • Shinshokan (2003) • 16+
This anthology contains two short stories by Mizuki (The Demon Ororon). In the title story, Takeshi, a slender young model who lives with relatives since his mother was institutionalized, discovers that he is the reincarnation of a Baku, a supernatural creature. (In Japanese folklore, the Baku is a monster which eats dreams, but this defining element doesn’t even come up.) In the more comedic second story, “Mephisto,” a half-demon kid exorcist lives with his twin sisters, a pet hamster, and a pixie he keeps in a suitcase. Both stories have bits of clever plotting (the title story is nicely dark and wistful) and demonstrate Mizuki’s distinctive minimalist, elongated artwork, but they feel like incomplete fragments of longer, unfinished tales.
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50 days… 50 manga reviews… 250+ manga sent like mushroom spores out of my house to germinate in the homes of others. (Is that metaphor appropriate?)
It’s been an exciting first 1/7th of the giveaway. One of the most interesting things, for me, is seeing the photos that people send in. It’s like a high school yearbook of the kind of people who read manga (or at least, who read manga and enter online contests) in America. I could have almost called this contest “365 Faces of Manga,” although (1) that sounds a little inappropriate and (2) not everyone who wins manga in the first round submits their photo for the second round. I hope you’re all enjoying the manga, first-round manga winners! It’s fascinating seeing this Studs Terkel-esque survey of manga readers.
Speaking of winners, today’s winner is Francene L. of Michigan. Congratulations, Francene! I hope you like the manga (or “mangers”, as my friend Dr. Urian Brown would pronounce it)!