Story/Art: Jun Kirarazaka
Translation: Junko Goda
What They Say
In a world swarming with yokai demons… One day, mediocre exorcist Kazami encounters a beautiful girl named Paira. But who is she?! And could the seemingly useless Kazami actually have a special ability? Get ready for a new generation of yokai battle comedy manga!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Bone Collection basically hits a side story here but it’s the kind of thing that I wish the series had more of than the bigger stories that we’ve had so far. Jun Kirarazaka has a good thing to work with here but it tried to hit some big story ideas quickly, especially in pairing him with one of the four kings in order to find a way to allow him to use his banned power. That made for an escalation that didn’t work well and complicated things early on but as we get to a chapter like this with almost no stakes it reminds me why I fell for this property to begin with. It has the potential for a lot of fun and growth in order to do what it wants to while planning for the larger stories.
With this chapter, Kazami and Paira are being sent as low-rank exorcists to the countryside to investigate a potential yokai issue. If they find something, a simple exorcism and move on, which feels really, really, low rank after the things they just faced. What they find is a farm where the elderly farmer is doing his best after his wife died and his son moved away as he’s keeping the farm going. He was close to selling it when a yokai named Milkboy showed up and help to pasteurize the milk with ease. It’s like the elves that show up to help out in Pinnochio and the farmer’s livelihood is saved, especially since this is where a lot of the locals got their milk, including the school nearby. Kazami and Paira are pretty clearheaded about this as well in that they figure an easy exemption can be gotten and all will be good.
The problem is when they’re introduced to the mid-rank exorcist that manages this area, who is strangely unnamed in the chapter. He’s corrupt and is blackmailing the farmer among others and through circumstances decides to finally cash in full on this as residents have discovered that a yokai is handling their children’s milk, which freaks them out. It turns chaotic and escalates as you’d expect with more powerful yokai showing but I love that the corrupt exorcist bolts the hell out of there and that Kazami uses his abilities to help Milkboy come across as saving the day, earning him a more permanent spot in the village so he can do what he enjoys doing which in turn benefits the town. The added benefit of milk getting Paira drunk has nothing to do with it, nor does her in a tight-fitting cowsuit as the opening page have anything to do with enjoying this chapter more.
I’m still not sure Bone Collection will be around for the long haul with its kind of haphazard opening single-digit chapters but I’m hopeful it can find a better place for itself as it progresses. Chapters like this may bother some after it went so big recently but this is the kind of stuff and other character-building material with Rino and Kazami’s family that’s needed to establish a proper foundation. Milkboy’s cute and the whole farmer thing works nicely to give us some good low-stakes stuff to establish a better working relationship between Paira and Kazami. Here’s hoping the series finds its footing as the chapters roll on.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: June 26th, 2020