Monday, March 28, 2011

Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji

Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Age: Young Adult
Species: Human/ Demons (Tengu, Kitsune)
Rating: 3.5/5
Interest: Manga/Relaxing Reading

There is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magical realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. All that changes one day when Misao is attacked by a demon. Her childhood friend Kyo suddenly returns to save her and tend to her cuts--with his tongue! It turns out Misao is the bride of prophecy, whose blood gives power to the demon clan who claims her. But most demons want to keep her power for themselves--by eating her! Now Misao is just trying to stay alive...and decide if she likes it when Kyo licks her wounds.\

I'm pretty much a die-hard Shojo manga reader. I used to worship the Shojo Beat magazine that came out every month. (I really, really wish they'd do that again.) Unfortunately though, I didn't know about Black Bird until the magazine ended, but I recently picked up the first few volumes at a used bookstore.

Black Bird and I tend to have a love hate relationship. Misao and I specifically have our ups and downs. She's a very sweet and loving girl but she cries almost all the time. Even when she is pleading for people to rely on her with their burdens, because she wants to be strong for the ones she loves, she still cries. It is frustrating to see the main (practically only) girl sobbing so much, but it does turn out pretty in the pictures. I feel if your going to be strong, be strong, don't cry when your boyfriend doesn't tell you things in order to protect you.

Kyo Usui is a pretty decent guy. He's willing to do whatever it takes to keep his woman, which is admirable. The only thing I have a hard time with is his demon (Tengu) form. He wears a mask to cover his face, and has large wings on his back. The mask always appears like a beak to me and it's frustrating to see him lift the mask and it's not a beak, it's their face. It's a pretty insignificant concern, but still annoying when I see it. Other than that, I think Kyo is the sexiest and most level-headed of all the manga's characters.

Side characters appear frequently, but are one-dimensional. Unless it's a recurring evil demon trying to kill or rape Misao. I read mangas for a break from normal books and for the fact that I love art. Black Bird excels in these two points. The series is so different from what I normally read that it's just fun to get lost in the impossible events and legends. Also, the art is simply beautiful. If I'm honest, the drawings are around sixty percent of my interest in this series.

If you're an established shojo manga reader or have a love of the bizarre this manga will probably pique your interest. The series might be too weird or complicated for a beginner manga reader (at least in the U.S.) because the mythology is a little difficult to grasp. Overall it's a sweet, emotional but bloody manga series that I'll continue reading soon. Plus there's lots and lots of kissing. ;)

Current number of volumes released in the United States: 7 (Volume 8 will be released by Shojo Beat in May 2011)

Art Teaser:

Happy Reading,

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