Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ballad of a Shinigami, vol. 1

By Asuka Izumi and Original Story by K-She Hasegawa
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: Featuring a death that never shows up

Momo is a shinigami, a reaper like spirit born from a suicide who takes on the the appearance of a young girl wearing white. Despite her supernatural connection to death she is not especially dangerous or even girl-like, but she does carry messages or other hints from the dead to the living. The living often need the help in order to deal with their own pasts and quite frankly to get the girl/boy.

White symbolizes death in many eastern cultures, so the fact that Momo is wears white is not as reassuring as one would first think when she is introduced. But it seems like that it is not very important who or what Momo looks like as long as she gets to say her one line per story that forces the potential couples to change and survive the fate that would otherwise lay in store for them. Momo barely more involved in the stories than the old Cryptkeeper character that once introduced horror stories, and in that sense the supposed main character does not feel very necessary to the stories. This is more like an anthology of tortured teen romance than actual supernatural stories or even a single continuing story, and while the individual stories are done well, there is nothing holding them together and making the title as a whole interesting enough to rise above average.

Ballad of a Shinigami, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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