Monday, April 25, 2011
Book 30: Black Bird Volume One
So today I decided to feed the kid in me. I've been craving more superhero/fantasy/comic book feeling after getting hooked onto Young Justice and watching lots of old Batman Beyond and Justice League; plus reading After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. So it was time to go into my manga pile. I decided to pick up the Black Bird Volume 1 by Kanoko Sakurakoji. The other books in the pile, I'm saving for really special occassions since I want to savor the Matsuri Hino books and use the Alice in the Country of Hearts as a way to help with writer's block if I get stuck. But let me tell you, I'm glad I picked up Black Bird tonight. It was sooo good.
One of the things I love about manga is how they have these great plotlines that I just don't see in the normal books. There are all these curses and demons and yet everything has a realistic setting (at least the ones I'm drawn too) where the characters still have to go to school. In the case of Black Bird, Misao is a special human who can give a demong long life if they drink her blood, eternal youth if they eat her flesh, and a clan strength if they marry her. So needless to say Misao doesn't have it easy especially since she can only see most of the demons (Kyo and Shuhei are the exceptions since they take on human forms).
One of the things I really like about this book is how it made me want to dive into the Japanese folklore even more. Before tonight, I didn't know what a tengu was or that there is a shire dedicated to them in Osaka (and I'm marking that on my to do list when I go to Japan now that I know). Plus I love how I know now the Japanese equivelent for the werewolf-a Kitsune. The glossary helped me to learn the basics but then I went to the internet for some extra information.
Then there is something I really enjoy that can be hard for a writer to pull off- the juxposition of love/hate. Misao is drawn to Kyo and hates him at the same time. Well hate is a strong word, but she definately doesn't want to marry a demon but there is a part of her who loves him. Plus Kyo and Shuhei basically get turned on by her presence due to her intoxicating blood. So there are some funny scenes when all of a sudden Kyo will try to grab her breasts or feel her up after a really dramatic scene.
The major downside is that this book was a serialized manga (in my favorite but now disappeared magazine called Shojo Beat). So there is repetition at the first two panels of every section to help catch you up in case you missed a piece. But when you read all five chapters in the one sitting, it just gets repetitive where the reader goes, I know. But it's a neccessary evil due to the serialized nature of the manga.
The other downside, I want to read Volume Two as well. Thankfully I have that and volume three in my apartment, after that I have to save up for new books or hope that friends will share/gift this manga to me. So off for tonight.