Manga Mini Reviews: Spooky Halloween Edition

It’s almost Halloween and I wanted to get into the spirit of the the season by reviewing some manga and comics of a spooky nature.

I say spooky, rather than scary, since I’m too much of a wimp to read much actual horror. Instead, these titles are all works that contain supernatural or light horror elements, rather than anything truly horrifying.

Creepy Cat Vol 1 Review

Synopsis:

When Flora moves into the strange mansion she inherited from a distant relative, she’s surprised to discover that there is already something living in it. An unusual white cat with unsettling red eyes, who Flora aptly names Creepy Cat, apparently calls the house home, so Flora decides to keep him as pet. As they live together, Creepy Cat exhibits increasingly bizarre behavior, such as stretching to absurd lengths or producing duplicates of himself from his mouth! This is only the beginning of the unusual occurrences that take place in the mansion and surrounding town, which seems to be filled with vampires, spooks and other eerie animals. Just what has Flora gotten herself into?

Review:

Creepy Cat is a full color manga by Cotton Valent and features a stylized art style that reminds me of the Adam’s Family comic or the Beetlejuice cartoon – a bit spooky, but also cute. Creep Cat himself is too silly and strange to actually be sinister, but it’s a ton of fun to watch Flora get shocked or creeped out at whatever absurd and ghoulish thing her new pet is doing now.

Flora forms an acquaintance with a local police officer, who is instantly smitten with her, and meets several other unnatural cats who live in the area. The police officer seems just as confused and astounded by Creepy Cat as Flora, despite presumably having grown up in the town. He seems kind of oblivious though, and his various failed attempts to impress Flora become another source of humor for the comic. The manga is quite funny, but there’s also a mysteriousness to the nature of the creepy cats, not to mention the mansion and the town itself. Even Flora is a bit on an enigma. Could there be something about her that’s attracting all of this supernatural activity? This makes Creepy Cat both amusing and intriguing, and I’d recommend it to horror fans who are looking for a laugh.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

For information on this manga visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.

Necromance Vol 1 Review

Synopsis:

When Shibuki’s childhood friend, Surfinia, is revealed to be the Saint destined to defeat the Demon King, he doesn’t hesitate to join her quest. Shibuki fights alongside Surfinia and the other members of her party, becoming the kingdom’s Hero, all to support and protect the girl he loves. He even makes the ultimate sacrifice in the final battle against the Demon King, giving up his life to finally bring peace and safety to the land. Then, during his funeral, Surfinia’s prayers and tears of grief seem to bring about a miracle and Shibuki is resurrected. Will he finally be able to confess his feelings and live happily ever after with his one true love?

Nothing so convenient, I’m afraid! Whatever power has brought this turn of events about is apparently a cruel one, as it would be more accurate to say that Shibuki has been reanimated, rather than resurrected. This in and of itself might not have been a huge deal, as Shibuki’s body seems to be normal and his mind has suffered no ill effects, but there is one major problem – since Sufinia is the Saint and in possession of immense amounts of holy magic, her very touch burns undead creatures like Shibuki! If Shibuki’s plans for marital bliss with Surfinia are going to ever become a reality, they’re going to have to find a solution for his condition, and fast! Oh, and they also have reason to believe that the Demon King might not be as dead as they had previously thought. They’ll probably have to deal with that at some point too.

Review:

I know I’m pushing the definition of “spooky” manga with this one, but hey, zombies are classic horror movie monsters, right?

I picked up Yuuki Doumoto’s Necromance because I thought it looked like it could be fun, but I wound up enjoying this manga even more than I expected. Shibuki finds himself in a situation where he is now technically a member of the class of monsters he’s been fighting to destroy, as the undead are one of several kinds of beings that have made up the Demon King’s forces. He winds up meeting and forming connections with other undead people, as well as a voluptuous succubus, and realizes that they might not actually be that different from humans. This revelation is particularly difficult for Sufinia to process, as she’s a devout believer in her church’s teachings regarding the undead, but eventually even she has to admit that the situation is not as black and white as she had been led to believe. What can I say, this is deeper stuff than I was expecting from a zany fantasy romance!

Despite all of these revelations, the tone of the manga is fairly lighthearted overall, so things never get too serious during Shibuki and his friends’ adventures. I found Shibuki’s predicament to be quite funny (poor guy just wants to make out with his girlfriend!) and I’m intrigued by the direction the story is taking. I was also pleased that, while there was some fan service in this manga (usually provided by the afore mentioned, scantily clad succubus) it tended to fall more on the silly end of the fan service spectrum, as opposed to being full on gross. Some readers may find the fan service more annoying than I did, but overall, I found Necromance to be an entertaining read with a lot of promise.

Final Score: 7.5 out of 10

For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.

Beauty and the Beast of Paradise Lost Vol 1 Review

Synopsis:

A beast lives in the woods near Belle’s village and abducts and then murders beautiful women in his search to find a bride who can love him, despite his hideousness. As a young girl, Belle doesn’t believe these stories and ventures into the woods in search of red roses that would compliment the strange, lilac-coloured hair she was born with. Her mother follows her and, to their horror, the pair run into a terrifying monster who is hunting for beautiful women. Belle’s mother scarifies herself so that Belle can get away and a mangled body wearing her mother’s clothes is found soon afterwards. While everyone in the village, including her father, believes that this is the corpse of her mother, Belle notices that it is missing her mother’s rose-shaped birth mark. Unfortunately, no one will listen her. Belle’s father, driven mad by anger and grief, locks her up at home, blaming her for her mother’s death and claiming that he needs to keep her confined for her own protection. Years pass and Belle remains a prisoner of her father, until the day that the Beast is spotted again. Knowing that this might be her one opportunity to find out what really happened to her mother, Belle escapes from her room and ventures into the woods once again, this time in search of the truth. But there is more than one “beast” in the woods, and Belle soon finds herself embroiled in a complicated situation involving curses, old grudges and dangerous magic.

Review:

Kaori Yuki, the creator of such works as Angel Sanctuary and Godchild, has crafted a dark fairytale that’s reminiscent of the original Brothers Grimm stories. This is a macabre take on the classic story of Beauty & the Beast that’s full of blood and tragedy.

Our heroine is brave and resourceful, but has a low sense of self worth, thanks to years of being mocked for her looks and emotionally abused by her father, not to mention the all-consuming sense of guilt she feels over what happened to her mother. What she lacks in confidence, Belle makes up for in stubbornness, however, and she is determined to discover the truth about her mother. She winds up joining forces with Cyril, an eccentric man who’s been put under a mysterious curse and seems to be the inspiration for the beast that is referenced in the stories Belle had heard as a child, but isn’t the one who’s been attacking women in the woods and who stole her mother. Cyril is a enigmatic character and rather unpredictable, though he seems to genuinely care for the members of his household, who are also cursed, so we can probably assume he’s an okay guy at heart. A romance seems to be brewing between him and Belle and it should be interesting to see where that goes.

I found the mystery surrounding Cyril’s curse, the fate of Belle’s mother and her own origins to be griping and I think I’m hooked on this gothic fantasy. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of Kaori Yuki’s other works and anyone looking for a Halloween read full of melodrama, and a little romance.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

For more information on this manga, visit Kodansha’s website.

Specter Inspectors Review

Synopsis:

Noa has the ability to sense spirits and supernatural phenomena, but has thus far been unsuccessful in convincing people that ghosts are real. So, she starts an online paranormal investigation video series with her sarcastic younger sibling, Gus, her scaredy-cat friend, Ko, and her cynical friend/secret crush, Astrid! They haven’t had much luck finding proof of the existence of ghosts in any of their investigations, but Noa has high hopes for their latest case. The gang visit a creepy small town that’s been plagued by unexplained disappearances for years and start snooping around.

It doesn’t take long for things to go off the rails!

Suddenly, Astrid is possessed by a demon and will be trapped in the town forever, unless they can convince the demon to leave willingly. In an effort to save their friend, Noa, Ko and Gus agree to help the demon uncover something at it lost long ago – its true name.

Review:

This paranormal adventure by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto has plenty of frights, exciting action and a great mystery. Astrid’s possession adds high stakes to the Spector Inspectors’ investigation, and I really enjoyed the solution to their dilemma that Noa and Astrid came up with during the thrilling conclusion. The romance subplot between Noa and Astrid was also very sweet and I liked them as a couple. Actually, the whole cast had a fun dynamic and, while the story was neatly wrapped up at the end of this book, I’m hoping that we’ll get some sequels to this. I’d love to see the further adventures of these characters as they take on new cases and solve more mysteries. I also really liked the art in this comic; the character designs are appealing and the monsters looked genuinely creepy. I also thought that the way the artist drew double irises in Astrid’s eyes to signify that she was possessed was very effective.

This is a comic that I think would have a lot of cross-appeal to manga readers, particularly fans of yuri or LGBTQ+ manga. All and all, Spector Inspectors was a fun and spooky read and I hope lots of people will feel inspired to check it out, as I’d definitely like to see this turn into a series.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

For more information on this comic, visit Boom Studio’s website.

Be sure to let me know your thoughts an these titles in the comments and I hope you all will have a happy and safe Halloween this year!


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