Ah, Nina Matsumoto, welcome back. And here I was, terrified that one of the best original English manga I’ve yet seen was consigned to never get past its first volume. Yōkaiden’s first installment charmed the cheesecake out of me, making the wait for part two all the tougher to stomach — but here it is, and it was more than worth holding my breath for.
The first book introduced us to Hamachi, fan of the yōkai, or the panopoly of monsters from Japanese folklore. After one such beast (which he’s christened “Madkap”) kills his grandmother, Hamachi girds himself for a journey into the underworld. His mission: find Madkap, and make the wrong things right. His equipment: a length of magic rope, a sentient (and sarcastic lantern) and an also-sentient (and rather dim-witted) umbrella. He has far more enthusiasm than skill, but hey, that’s how heroes are born. Read more