Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rasetsu, vol. 1

Story and Art by Chika Shiomi
Published in the US by Viz Shojo Beat

Sluglines: Love and Roses must always have thorns

Rasetsu is the lead exorcist of an agency that casts out spirits and other supernatural menaces despite her young age. Part of the reason that she is so talented is that an early age she was marked by a rose tattoo as the possession of the spirit to be claimed by it on her 20th birthday. The only way for her to escape her fate is to fulfill a very specific set of conditions that she has little confidence in herself in fulfulling. Despite her competence, she does not look it, so when Yako Hoshino, a character from Chika Shiomi's earlier work Yurara needs the help of an exorcist he is reluctant to hire her agency. Rasetsu steamrolls over his protests and when she realizes that he has his own ability, she arranges for Yako to lose his current job and be hired to work for her agency so that she can have someone halfway competent to help her. What Rasetsu doesn't realize that she bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love, a relationship thatforms the core of Yurara.

This is a sequel to the Yurara manga but so far only Yako has appeared in Rasetsu in more than background role. The focus in far more on Rasetsu, a new character, than Yako. She is an interesting mix of competent and carefree, doomed and light hearted. She is reticent to discuss her need to find true love to escape the spirit which makes the plot stronger, as it is believable that her experience makes her wary of any kind of love even if it would be her salvation. Yurara has not been reviewed so there is no way to really compare this title to it's prequel, but the mere fact that this is not another high school shojo gives it a leg up. While it has been certainly been implied that Rasetsu and Yuko will be getting together because of Rasetsu's fate and her resemblance to Yuko lost love, the plot does not feel like it is predetermined or just an exercise of filling in the blanks, which is partly why it is so well rated.

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

- Ferdinand

No comments: