Yukarism Volume 2 by Chika Shiomi
I enjoyed the first volume of this series very much, and was interested to see how the dynamic of gender-swapped past lives would play out in the present for the young novelist Yukari.
I was impressed with the sheer amount of plot and world building Shiomi was able to develop in the first volume, but I was interested to see what would happen in the second volume when character motivations were already established. At first the relationship between Yukari and his female fan Mahoro seemed to mirror the relationship of courtesan Yumurasaki and watchful bodyguard Kazuma. It turns out that the burn mark that Mahoro and Kazuma share across the centuries might be a red herring because when a new character named Satomi appears to act as Yukari’s housekeeper, Mahoro’s fierce possessiveness and sudden magical abilities resemble the Witch Doctor Shizuka. Shizuka was one of Yumurasaki’s most ardent lovers, and Yukari wonders if the Witch Doctor was the cause of his past incarnation’s death.
While much of the first volume focused on established Yukari’s unique time traveling ability and defining his personality as well as Yumurasaki’s, the second volume delves more into the relationships of the people who surround the author/courtesan in the past and the present. Mahoro starts sleepwalking and uttering magical curses when she sees Satomi, and then she switches back to normal with little memory of what she did. The instant antagonism between Satomi and Mahoro is filled with glares and a sense of real menace, since both of them seem to have little control over their actions. Yukari continues to learn more about his past, with a subtle observational approach that fits in well with his personality as an author. Mahoro is falling more and more in love with him, which might make her emotions and connection to her own previous life more extreme. All in all, this was a solid second volume and Yukarism is positioned well to rotate in to fill the paranormal romance slot in your current manga reading list, since a few series in that genre have recently concluded.