Home > emanga Reviews, Novel Reviews, Reviews > Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, Vol. 2

Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, Vol. 2

Written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Illustrated by Jun Suemi, Translated by Eugen Woodbury
DMP, 220 pp
Rating: None

The second volume of Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, the tale which Hideyuki Kikuchi considers his masterpiece, picks up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of the first. Doctor Mephisto and Setsura Aki are both facing off against powerful opponents and incredible lethal and diabolical traps on their own as they attempt to squash a take over of Demon City Shinjuku, a take over attempt mastermind by a group of ancient Chinese vampires. And while they deal with the immediate threats before them, in the shadows seeds planted during the first volume begin to take root.

The second volume is just as interesting as the first and a bit more focused on the plot and developing the relationships between the Chinese vampires. Kikuchi does a good job at giving each of the antagonists their own unique motivations and desires, several of which are in seeming conflict with their leader and master, Princess. Ryuuki gains the most from this development as we not only find out more about how he relates to the others in the group, but we also get a glimpse at this life prior to becoming a vampire and how he came to join her entourage. Fleshing out your antagonists is generally a good thing, but oddly enough I’m not sure if this was the way to go here. Don’t get me wrong, I loved finding out about them, but by the end of the volume I felt I had a better handle on the motivations, desires and personalities of several of the antagonists than I did for Setsura Aki and Doctor Mephisto, though in the later case this seems to be deliberate. There are also some minor pacing issues. This is primarily due to how busy the book is and the fact that Kikuchi’s protagonists are almost never phased by anything they encounter. Throughout the book there are hints and lines that Mephisto and Setsura are meant to be racing against the clock and moving quickly to defeat the Chinese vampires, but the characters rarely act in a manner that conveys the apparent urgency of the threat.

This volume is also a glowing example of one of favorite aspects of Kikuchi’s writings. Namely his seemingly endless supply of bizarre monsters, powers, threats, and insane ideas. Every book I’ve read from Kikuchi generally has a few fantastic monsters and ideas, ranging from a flying city to weird alien plants living in someone’s blood stream, but Yashakiden seems to be absolutely brimming with them. People with weird tubular bodies, demonic ghosts, ancient Chinese myth, water spirits who seduce men by literally rocking their boat and more all make appearances within this volume. Add in to this living houses, sentient puppets, glimpses into the past of the city and more. It’s just fantastic to see what kind of insane and off the wall creature or situation he’ll come up with next.

Of course it wouldn’t be a light novel without artwork. Like the previous volume Jun Suemi handles the art here, and like the previous volume it’s nice but surprisingly infrequent. They’re so few and far between that you forget they’re even there until you turn the page and find yourself staring at a two page spread. Despite it’s infrequency, the illustrations do help clarify certain details on occasion. One scene in particular springs to mind where Kikuchi’s description of a character’s true form left me a bit confused and unsure of what it actually looked like, but thankfully Suemi’s artwork was present to show just how weird and bizarre it was meant to be.

The revelations regarding the antagonists, some of the twists that are tossed in and the constant stream of insane ideas all combine to make the second volume of Yashakiden an entertaining and enjoyable read. While I’m still a bit reluctant to call it his masterpiece, it’s definitely a must read for any fans of his other work and anyone who really enjoyed the anything can happen attitude and energy of 90s anime and manga.

Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, Vol. 2 is available now at Emanga.com. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: