Saturday, October 5, 2013

Manga Review: The Strange Tale of the Twilight Demon

Another DMP/Emanga title, courtesy of emanga, which I grabbed just because I was looking for something that was one volume long and therefore a quick read. And it was an even quicker read than I expected, it was only 40 pages which makes me wonder if it was originally a one shot that was printed in the back of another manga (which shojo likes to do a lot, especially Hana to Yume series). I wasn't able to find any other works by the author, except for a Girls Und Panzer tie-in, perhaps this is just their first work?

The Strange Tale of the Twilight Demon by Midori Hagi

Summary: Every year a strange story about the water tower goes around and every year it's a little different, as if it's been shaped by mysterious events in the past year that also seem to involve the water tower.

The Good: I actually really liked this, at 40 pages it clips along at a nice pace and the story fits the length perfectly with good pacing. The story isn't anything new, a local legend ends up being closer to the truth that most people suspect, and could easily fit into several different supernatural stories I've read over the years (Natsume and the Book of Friends, Ghost Hunt, etc) but that's not necessarily a bad thing, that just means that Hagi nailed the tone perfectly. I'd love to see either more of this story, whatever else Imaru gets into (actually, I wonder if this was a 'pilot' for a manga that never got picked up, really wish I could just find more information online) or just something else that Hagi has worked on and shall be keeping my eyes out for it!

The Bad: Normally I would talk about this in the art section but there was some truly terrible word balloon placement in this story, to the point where I started wondering if it had actually been flipped or had the text placed in the wrong sections. I'm assuming this isn't a translation error, especially upon learning that this manga-ka hasn't done much else and therefore isn't very experienced, and that really kept throwing me out of the story and confusing me in a way that really shouldn't have happened. Thank goodness it was so short and that I enjoyed the story so much or else I would have just dropped it.

The Art: Now that I've talked about the word balloon placement issues, I read the manga on my phone and didn't have any trouble reading it but I was tipped off by a friend that the images are actually really low quality and sure enough when I checked online everything looked like it had been scanned at a low resolution and then enlarged. Emanga might be able to fix that, I hope so, but with such a large problem there maybe the bubbles were incorrectly translated, now I'm quite confused by it. I did like the art however, Imaru's drawings were suitably creepy and everything else looked fine as well, although it's the screentones that suffer the most from the low-resolution.

Despite all the technical difficulties I'm giving this story 3.5 out of 5 stars for being a well done little ghost story. Those who find themselves in the mood for one, it is the Halloween season in the US after all, should go on over to eManga or Amazon, I believe on eManga the story is only 99 cents which strikes me as a rather reasonable price. 

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