Story & Art: Yuuki Iinuma
Translation/Adaptation: John Werry
What They Say
Utsuho’s truthfulness as a child resulted in an enormous catastrophe, and he decided to lie from that day forward. Raised in a village of orphans by a monk, Utsuho is an unrepentant troublemaker. The monk eventually inspires him to help people, but there’s no way Utsuho’s going to lead an honest life! Instead, he’s going to use his talents for mischief and deception for good!
With his companions Yakuma, Neya and Pochi, Utsuho journeys in search of the fabled treasures known as the Kokonotsu. The quest leads the gropu to a village of murderous dolls, and finally to a man who claims to be the guardian of the treasure…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The battle with the doll village Lord isn’t going well. While the swordsman and Neya are just holding their own against the Lord, Utsuho is getting his butt handed to him by the creepy Noronji cursing doll. Somehow the cursing doll is shooting invisible objects at Utsuho, but he refuses to believe they are actual curses. Utsuho just has to figure out how to find the device shooting at him, and it might just take the most unlikely of characters to help; Pochi! Who doesn’t love a tanuki?
Back to battling the village Lord, Neya has found a new level of disgust for this man. Not only has the Lord killed or chased off all his villagers just for the sake of his dolls, but he has connected his daughter’s heart to all the dolls so they have the power to move. Neya can’t stand for the idea that a father could be so cruel. But how can Neya defeat the Lord and save the sleeping daughter? It will be a tall order, but maybe Yakuma can successfully disconnect the daughter from the dolls without killing her.
After the doll village debacle, Utsuho strikes out to track down the next clue to finding the Kokonotsu; the jewel known as the Eyestone. Surprisingly, the Eyestone proves easy to find, only gaining possession is going to be difficult. The Eyestone is protected by an immortal who used to be an Itsuwaribito when he was still human. In exchange for immortality, Hikae, was made the guardian of the stone. And after 500 years, Hikae will do anything for a laugh, including killing people just to see what their guts look like.
This part of the volume gets back to the mind games this series does so well. Hikae will give Utsuho the Eyestone, but only if he wins a game of memory using cards. It looks like a simple kid’s game, but each contestant writes a task or riddle on a pair of cards until they have 25 pairs of cards. Once things get started, Hikae seems to be having a great time. But if Utsuho gets the Eyestone for winning, what will Hikae demand if he wins?
The twists and turns taken in the doll village story arc were very entertaining, and creepy. While the idea of animated dolls kind of freaks me out, that Noronji cursing doll definitely scares me. That thing looks really scary, it can move on its own, and it can shoot invisible projectiles; definitely up there on my ‘I don’t want to run into this in a dark alley’ list. My pathetic fears aside, the outcome to the doll village battle was good, but I was kind of annoyed that the author didn’t reveal how the dolls were being controlled. Kind of left the characters saying, ‘I guess we will never know’. What? Maybe my developmental years spent watching ‘Scooby Doo’ left me with the desire to always know the answer behind every mystery.
Oh well, after the doll village, the gang meets an interesting immortal named Hikae. Interesting because he is truly immortal, and kind of a dick. Hikae was also an Itsuwaribito when he was still human, but the polar opposite to Utsuho. While they both enjoy a good laugh, Hikae doesn’t believe in helping others and he has no qualms at killing anyone and everyone that gets in his way of a good time. With Hikae joining Utsuho’s group, and terrorizing Neya and Yakuma, it will be interesting to see how Utsuho and Hikae play off of each other. Then again, Hikae may disrupt the group so badly that they all go their separate ways much sooner than might be expected.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 14th, 2012