cover image Otogi Matsuri: Dark Offering

Otogi Matsuri: Dark Offering

Junya Inoue, . . CPM Manga, $9.99 (184pp) ISBN 978-1-57800-727-1

A demon thirsty for human blood, a young girl who can see supernatural beings and a boy who inadvertently promises his future to the god of the south—all combine to give Otogi Matsuri the speed and power of a runaway bullet train. From the first appearance of the bone-crunching "cat-spider" monster, Inoue gives notice that this adventure story is deadly serious. Its teenage heroes are enmeshed in a realm that has it in for any puny humans who get in the way of its gods and demons. Luckily for plucky high school boy protagonist Yousuke Suruga, he's been unwittingly armed with the bow of Suzaku, a weapon with phoenixlike powers. Together with Ryuuichi Ezo, who's similarly armed with the spear of Seiryuu, and Yomogi Inaga, armed with otherworldly vision, he's able to take on the cat-spider and, later, a horde of monstrous dragonflies controlled by a gigantic eyeball—leading to some amusing absurdist dialogue such as "I saw a big eyeball going down the street!" Eventually, the demons are defeated and order is restored, but tantalizing loose ends have been left dangling for the next installment, making for a good, juicy adventure with evocative graphics and great promise for part two. (May)