Kurozakuro, Vol. 2 by Yoshinori Natsume
The second volume of Kurozakuro seems a little more conventional than the first. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the first volume, but I did like the way Natsume blended horror with ogre fighting action. For me, the most compelling parts of Kurozakuro came when human turned ogre Sakurai was forced to confront his bestial nature as he attempted to quash his urges to kill and eat the humans around him. He can’t even really stay with his family anymore if his condition starts to progress. The second volume of the series for the most part leaves these moments of internal agony alone and focuses on setting up a more standard shonen adventure quest. Sakurai meets again with ogre hunters Kugai and Asami and makes the decision to help them, claiming that he can keep his urge to eat human flesh under control. Sakurai ends up revealing his new identity to his sister and asks her to intercede with his parents when they discover that he’s missing.
The mystical being Zakuro is dismayed at Sakurai’s unwillingness to embrace the ogre within him, warning Sakurai that he might die. Zakuro seems to be unnaturally attached to Sakurai’s continued existence for some reason. I expect that more about Sakurai and Zakuro will be revealed in future volumes, but after reading the second volume it still felt to me like the story was still being set up. I was disappointed that relentless teen vampire hunter Asami appeared to be left behind, because she was one of the few characters that I found interesting. Sakurai and Kugai join forces to hunt down a nearby super ogre. I think with the second volume Natsume’s blocky art style grew on me a bit. It is a tad simple but the heavy use of blacks and the simplistic, often screaming in horror faces of the characters does give the manga a unique if slightly static feel. There’s still not enough in the series to pique my interest, and I usually give up on manga after trying two volumes and finding that it doesn’t really appeal to me.
Review copy provided by the publisher.