By Midori Yuma and Waco Ioka. Released in Japan as “Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi: Ayakashi Oyado ni Yomeiri Shimasu” by Enterbrain, serialization ongoing in the magazine B’S LOG COMIC. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Tomo Kimura.
There are times when you simply have to trust in the good taste of a publisher. I admit, reading the first volume of Kakuriyo, I wasn’t all that drawn in. It’s apparently based on a series of novels, and sometimes reads like it: there’s a ton of exposition laid out by characters to the heroine (who also gets to exposit on her own past) in an effort to get the story to where the author wants it to be and have the reader understand things. Which is fine, but works better in prose than it does in a shoujo manga. As with a lot of series featuring a young human woman meeting up with a bunch of yokai, most of the cast start off as jerks, with one or two exceptions, including her dead grandfather who got her into this mess. That said, there’s a lot here that I can see should translate into a fun series down the road, so I will assume this just starts slowly (like many other series I follow).
Our human heroine is Aoi, a young woman in college (college? In a shoujo manga? Well, it’s is B’s Log…) whose grandfather recently passed away. He had a reputation as a lothario, fathering a lot of children and then skedaddling. To Aoi, however, he’s the precious grandfather who took her in and raised her, so she’s a bit conflicted when she thinks about his past. Also like her grandfather, she can see yokai, and does her best to be nice to when when she does, despite the fact that she gives then so much food it feels like she’s starving herself to death. One day she runs into an ogre yokai at the steps of a shrine, and gives him her lunch. But when she gets her lunchbox back, she’s transported to a yokai inn! Turns out that her grandfather was also a troublemaker in the yokai world, and offered up his granddaughter in marriage to get out of a debt. Now she either has to marry him… or work off her debt in the inn. But will anyone hire her?
As I said, most of the first volume is dedicated to the setup, as it’s only in the final chapter that we get the sense we know how Aoi will survive in this world (if you guessed tasty food, give yourself a pat on the back – there’s even a ‘let me describe how I make the food’ section). Genji, a young man who can change his appearance from boy to man to woman – and does so frequently – is the one yokai who seems to be nice to Aoi, and he helpfully explains the ways of the inn to her. The Odanna, the ogre wh0o brought her there in the first place, seems like the sort that’s outwardly standoffish but warms up when you know him better – the funniest scene in the book involves Aoi being “tortured” by getting a nice warm bath and dressed in a lovely kimono. Aoi herself is in a long line of “plucky young women” we’ve seen in this sort of book, and seems to have her head on straight.
So overall I would say that while I was merely mildly entertained by this first book, it shows promise and makes me want to read more. I trust it will improve by the volume.