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):
My hopes for some downtime and “fun” chapters for Bone Collection are pretty much dashed with this installment as I can see where creator Jun Kirarazaka is going. And it’s probably what a lot of the readers want as well as I always feel a bit on the outside when it comes to wanting more simple character time just hanging around and experiencing things in a normal setting. I really like the cast that’s been assembled but it’s gone so big so quickly that it feels like Rino’s almost forgotten and we’re losing time with Kazami’s family that could be a whole lot of fun and make for some really good chapters to help build the foundation of not just the character but of the series.
With this one, we’re introduced to the Yokai Prison in brief where they keep these creatures, including the feared SS-ranked ones. But I’ll admit, Kirarazaka lost me a bit from the start on this as it reveals that this is where the exorcists also keep them for experimentation and torture. That’s a slew of red flags on the exorcists right there and has me ready to see Kazami burn the whole thing down. While there are obvious reasons for study something that’s a threat, this just sets it up to be the grimdark place that it appears. And we get more of that as it shifts into Aki giving her report on what happened with Kazami there only to have another of the four exorcist kings, Gingin Shishino, give her a lot of grief over what she did in letting Kazami go. I do like that Aki makes it clear that she’s investigating the spell itself and the web of lies that appears to have been told about it, but that’s all kept to the side once an SS-ranked yokai breaks out of the prison.
When it comes to Kazami and Paira, the two are basically just going through the motions a bit here until the calls in from Aki that they’re being brought in to deal with this escapee. And that they’re getting some teachers being sent to them to help them for what’s to come because it’s a pair of exorcists that have experience with the yokai spell that Kazami can use. There’s some interesting stuff to it at the end, though I dislike that the teachers are basically kid designs because that’s just such low-hanging fruit, but I enjoyed the time we had with Paira giving Kazami crap over how he’s not paying enough attention to her while she’s figuring out what really matters in a school routine, namely getting to lunch on time for the right kind of bread.
Bone Collection still feels like it’s having a bit of an identity crisis in what it wants to be and do, which makes me figure that as strong as the opening was here that it’s destined for an ending sooner rather than later. Which is unfortunate because it’s hard to tell which direction feels more editorially directed and which is creator directed. The series started strong and ten chapters in it has a lot of good things to it but it’s material that needed to be spaced out a lot more and given time to breathe. When it does, such as the school material here, it shines. The bigger and more serious stuff isn’t bad but it’s far too early in the series for it to be so front and center.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: July 5th, 2020