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Kotoura-San, Vol. 2

Welcome to another midweek manga review! Before we get to the usual news and featured review I wanted to take a moment to mention a change in my regular posting schedule. For the foreseeable future the Wednesday review is now being bumped to Thursday. With that out of the way, onto some news!

And now onto this weeks review of Kotoura-San, Vol. 2!

Kotoura-San, Vol. 2Kotoura-San, Vol. 2
By Enokids
DMP/Emanga, 146 pp
Rating: Teens (13 +)

What started out as a light, warm comedy takes some rather dark and disturbing turns in Kotoura-San, Vol. 2! With her new social life and circle of friends, things seem to be going rather well for the young school girl psychic Kotoura. Unfortunately for her things take a turn for the worst when she crosses paths with a serial killer! Torn between her desire to help, her inability to actually provide proof for what she knows, Kotoura and her friends find themselves struggling to deal with the murders and Kotoura’s ever growing sense of guilt and responsibility.

While the humor and warmth that dominated the first volume is still present here, it’s over shadowed by some rather heavy and dark themes. Not only the serial killer, but Kotoura confronts and copes with issues regarding her family as well. The tragedy from her past is mirrored by the glimpses into the past and the growth of the friendship between Mifune and Muroto. It’s nice to see some of their pasts and it’s even nicer to see Enokids working in some heavier and more serious themes, but there’s a strong sense of tonal whiplash when you go from the kids goofing off and having romantic rivalries to stalking and serial murders. I’m a little curious to see how far he’ll push this theme into the sugary and cute comedy. Will any of the cast die? Someone close to the cast? There’s almost something sadistic about the violent and dark turn this could take, like dropping Michael Myers into iCarly and waiting to see which of your favorite teen stars he’ll off.

Pages from Kotoura-San, Vol. 2

Enokids takes the series is a different direction (not really).

What makes the material even odder, is Enokids simplistic and cute art style. You’re looking at adorable, cute and goofy looking characters coping with some intense and serious issues. Even the adults, like the police, come off as surprisingly cute despite Enokids attempting to depict them in a more serious manner. The art style lends itself to the comedy and the warmer moments, but it really feels at odds with some of the darker themes that are cropping up. So far he’s avoided showing graphic gore and it’s mostly been suggested through dialogue and some of the art, but if the serial killer story keeps up and eventually becomes the focus it’ll be interesting to see how he decides to depict the violence and the killer’s victims. Otherwise the art suits the material beautifully with the humor and warmth radiating off the page and supporting the story and emotional beats perfectly.

Kotour-San, Vol. 2 is a weirdly mixed bag. The passive warmth that made the first volume so charming is present, but the murders and flashbacks dealing with weightier situations are slowly beginning to take center stage. At times, this almost feels intrusive, like someone’s forcing a dark and gritty material into a story where it doesn’t belong. It reminds me of American comic fans complaining about how the uber serious stories have overwhelmed the lighter ones in the superhero genre. That said, the chemistry between Kotoura and her click is wonderful and pretty enjoyable to see play out upon the page. Hopefully the darker material is only temporary and not indicative of the direction Enokids will be taking what’s been a rather cute series.

Kotoura-San, Vol. 2 is available now from Digital Manga Publishing and Emanga.com. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. February 20, 2015 at 9:18 am

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