Direction: Right to Left
by: Milan Matra
Publisher: Yen Press
Severely allergic to felines, Yuuto Amakawa spends his mornings nursing a drippy nose courtesy of his friend Rinko’s cat. But on his sixteenth birthday, it’s not just Rinko’s pet that’s riling up his allergies (to say nothing of his hormones)! Appearing before him is Himari, a buxom, sword-wielding cat spirit in human guise, who has sworn to protect Yuuto, now the target of vengeful spirits! It’s clear that Yuuto’s allergies are the least of his problems — he’s gonna need Himari’s help if he wants to live to see his seventeenth birthday!
Yuuto Amakawa, a normal kid with cat allergies. He wears a talisman around his neck that his grand parents gave him. He’s also a descendant from a demon hunter line. He’s not really athletic, and doesn’t really understand the situation he’s in. He lost his parents a few years ago and now lives alone in their house.
Rinko Kuzaki, is Yuuto’s childhood friend and neighbour. She’s interested in him, but hasn’t told him. She wakes him up every morning, usually by jumping on him, she’s athletic, full of energy, very protective of Yuuto, and gets jealous rather easily.
Himari Noihara, a cat ayakashi who has been tasked with protecting Yuuto. She’s totally devoted to him, and seems to enjoy teasing him by climbing into bed with him. She wields a katana and will do anything to protect Yuuto. However she hides a darkness that could threaten them both.
Shizuku is a ayakashi who was initially bent on killing Yuuto for several reasons. Partly for revenge for the murder of her family centuries before, and partly to prevent him from becoming a demon slayer. She’s a small girl, who starts to have feelings for Yuuto. It’s made clear that she’s a little unstable.
What can i say. I’ve been a fan of this series for ages. Technically it’s a harem show, but i don’t really see as such since only one girl is in with a shot really. However the fun comes in watching the various situations Yuuto gets into.
The basic story is rather enjoyable. Yuuto is descended from a long line of Demon Hunters. However his parents had decided to leave that line behind, and to forge a life in the human world. To protect Yuuto his grand parents gave him a magic talisman to protect and hide him. However on his 16th birthday that talisman finally expires. Enter Himari, a demon whose ancestor had been spared by the Amakawa ancestor and then devoted themselves to protecting that line. Himari has come to protect Yuuto until such times as his power fully awakens and he’s able to defend himself.
There’s a few problems though. Firstly the talisman he was given was apparently to strong, and now his power seems to have withered away, and Yuuto himself doesn’t have an interest in demon hunting, rather he’d prefer to get along with them.
The first two volumes basically focus on the girls and Yuuto coming to terms with the fact that they’re there to stay. This was especially hard for Rinko who not only has a thing for Yuuto, but also finds her usual place usurped.
As you might expect in this sort of series, the story isn’t very deep or anything really. But then you have to bear in mind that these first two volumes aren’t about story. Rather they focus on setting up the characters, revealing some of their personalities and exploring their relationships with the other characters.
Towards the end of the second volume we do start to get more involved with the some story. We get to see the darkness that dwells with Himari start to come out. This makes for an excellent cliff hanger.
I can not complain about the art, which frankly is stunning. Cover art for the two volumes is beautiful, and the original Japanese ones. Sadly the colour insert is spoiled a little by the fact it’s a double page spread, so we get the spine going through it. However it still doesn’t stop Himari looking cute in a kimono.
I loved the way that Milan draws Himari, and flips between the cat eared version, and normal version. The balance between the two styles is handled perfectly, and both look amazing.
She also does an excellent job on the all important facial expressions. This series has a lot of close ups of the faces of the characters, so this is an important area. They actually look like they’re feeling the emotions they’re trying to convey. Which makes for an easier read.
I also liked the details in the costume designs, for example the maid outfits in the second volume, or the kimono’s and other traditional clothing we get to see. All of these were handled and drawn really well.
I’ve only read a few of Yen Press releases, Spiral, Black God and Sundome. All of these however were handled extremely well and were enjoyable reads. So i was hoping i could say the same about this release. However i can’t. In fact i can’t help but feel that they totally destroyed this excellent manga with the half hearted way they did things.
Firstly, according to the original Japanese version Yuuto was supposed to be 16 years old. However in the Yen Press release he’s referred to as being both 16 and 17 years old.
Next we have Himari, she speaks in an archaic and formal manner. The best way to have handled this would have been to use old archaic English (thou, art, etc etc). However initially she speaks no different than the rest of the cast. Which does leave you scratching your head when Yuuto comment on her archaic speech. Then, for some stupid reason they make a half hearted attempt at archaic speech when she goes to the school. Then they chop and change the style, so one minute she’s talking normally, the next she’s making some attempt at archaic language.
This whole thing was done rather haphazardly. Either pick one style ore the other, don’t try and mix and match, it doesn’t work.
Shizuku is next, or loveable little water demon. She has (in the Japanese version) a cute little way of ending her sentences. Rather than doing the sensible thing, and leaving it intact and adding a glossary entry, they translated it as “you know”. So now instead of a cute Shizuku, we have a damn annoying one. There is such a thing as over translating things, and this is definitely one of those.
I also wonder why they gave this a mature 18+ rating. Yes it has a lot of fan service, but mostly those are panty and bra shots. I don’t recall anything in the series going beyond that. At best this should have been an Older Teen 16+ title.
They do however leave in the honorific’s for the most part, the –chan and –kun are all there which i do like. Shame they couldn’t do a better job with this series. It’s definitely sub par to their usual releases. I will however, probably, continue to get the series if only ‘cause I’m a huge Himari fan. Though i do hope this isn’t a sign of things to come from Yen.