Stories keep coming to life, and there may be a new villain for the Nura clan to deal with.
Story/Art: Hiroshi Shiibashi
Translation: Yumi Okamoto
Adaptation: Ross Anthony
What They Say:
Caught in The Ripper’s scissors-hold, Rikuo faces off against this terrifying enemy whose Fear feeds on the pain of children. Speaking of eating, brother and sister team Ryuji and Yura travel to the worst tourist destination ever, the Village That Devours People!!
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
Continuing The Ripper story line that began in the last volume, Rikuo finds the faceless girls who have been trapped by the yokai Toriyanse over the years. Still in his human form, he’s attacked as well, and nearly has his own face sliced off until Shoei comes to the rescue. Finally turning into a yokai, Rikuo is able to “equip” Shoei, and uses his power to defeat Toriyanse. The girls regain their faces and are freed, but in a sad turn they are technically dead, and so they ascend to heaven.
The next chapters also have the feel of an off shoot story as, back in Kyoto, Keikain drags Yura along to investigate a mysterious village that is said to devour people. Though he tries to convince his classmates to dismiss the story as a rumor, he seems unsurprised when he follows the story and winds up within the village. Though initially seeming, the danger of the place becomes apparent when a kindly old woman tries to eat Yura, and the entire village attempts to eat Keikain’s classmates, who came despite his warnings. The ensuing fight is mainly Keikain-focused, as he uses lies and double talk to fool the yokai, finally convincing them to attack Yura — who, he points out, is much stronger than he is. Though she spends most of the chapters pretty clueless about what’s going on, it’s nice to get a reminder about of Yura’s strength, and Keikain’s is exciting and not nearly as drawn out as recent battles have been. And though this seemed like a one-shot bit, the appearance of another yokai at the end, talking about stories, proves that this is a lead-in to another threat Rikuo and the others will have to face.
That promise of new villains is fulfilled immediately in the next chapters, as one of the Paranormal Patrol members, Torii, is caught by the mysterious yokai and used to create another story. Once again, rumors spread, this time about the ghost of a baby, who’s grown into a teenager, who was left to die in the subway system. This is a particularly creepy side story, as the ghost, fueled by the rumors, appears on the subway in Torri’s form, sitting strangely and drawn with dark, creepy lines. Though Maki, her best friend, tries to save her, with Rikuo and Tsurara just a smidge too far behind, Kurotabo winds up saving the day. He’s rescued Torii before, in a previous volume, and the fact that he arrived in time because he felt her “call” him gives some implications about possible future relationships. But that’s quickly tossed aside as the mysterious yokai, Yanagida, appears. Once again talking about stories, he makes it clear that Kurotabo used to be a part of his clan, before he joined with Rikuo’s father, and now, whatever they were trying to do way back then is happening now.
Because it holds three different small story arcs, this volume winds up a little bumpy and disjointed. Luckily, everything winds up connecting in the end as each plot turns out to be a part of the Hundred Stories clan’s plot to breed more fear in the world. This new villain is connected to Hagoromo-Gitsune and Nue, in that it was a piece of their old leader, Santomo, who helped bring Nue back into the world and was responsible for Rikuo’s father’s death, but it still feels like a distraction from the bigger plot that was left unfinished when Nue returned to Hell in order to gain strength. The distraction is definitely going to keep going further as the finale leads into a longer story arc showing Rihan, Rikuo’s father, facing this clan in the past. It’s annoying in that it stretches out the story and puts off the conclusion, much like Nurarihyon’s back story during the Kyoto arc — but also like that story, it promises to be both enlightening about Rihan and the yokai that existed back then, and also potentially more enthralling than the present-day story.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: October 1st, 2013