Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tactics, v. 1

by Sakura Kinoshita and Kazuko Higashiyama
Published in the U.S. by Tokyopop

Slugline: Kantarou and his enslaved spirits try to pay the bills by... well, they actually only do one exorcism, if you can call it that...

The back of the book says this manga "influenced the popular anime" so I'm guessing whoever wrote the anime had a better grasp of story structure and somehow managed to make Kantarou sympathetic. Because one bishonen tengu isn't going to carry loosely plotted stories with annoying and/or cardboard characters very far.

The tengu himself, Haurka, is the only real bishie in the book and he spends all his time either throwing hissy fits or whining about his tea bowl. Kantarou has no qualms about manipulating these spirits that he has enslaved, and he claims that he is trying to help spirits as a whole. But as I said, he really only helps one person -- maybe two, if you overlook all of the religious flimflam that was involved.

What saves this from a Dishonorable Mention is folklore content, even though it's revealed in awkward bits in between awkward plotting. The translator's footnotes at the end are especially informative, to the point where I have to assume the dialog is crummy because the translator didn't have much to work with.

Tactics vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Miranda

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