Yokaiden 1 by Nina MatsumotoYokaiden 1 by Nina Matsumoto

Yokaiden 1

byNina Matsumoto

Paperback | November 18, 2008

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Yokai…Japanese spirits.

Most people fear them, and a few people even hunt them, thinking they are horrible monsters to be destroyed at all costs. But young Hamachi wants to be friends with them! He sees them as mischievous creatures that could coexist peacefully with humans if only given a chance.

When his grandmother dies under mysterious circumstances, Hamachi journeys into the Yokai realm. Along the way, he encounters an ogre who punishes truant children, an angry water spirit, and a talking lantern. Will Hamachi be able to find his grandmother's killer, or will he be lost forever in another world?
Title:Yokaiden 1Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 7.48 × 4.98 × 0.56 inPublished:November 18, 2008Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345503279

ISBN - 13:9780345503275

Appropriate for ages: 13

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great New Series Summary: Hamachi loves Yokai (Japanese spirits) and feels that many of them are friendly and that people just misunderstand them. He wants to find out all he can about them and befriend them. A masterless warrior comes to Hamachi's town to pledge himself to the village that in return for lodging and food he will protect the town from Yokai as this town is supposed to be close to the portal of the Yokai Realm. Hamachi is angry beyond belief, when he returns home he finds his grandmother dead, presumably killed and he decides to find and enter the Yokai Realm. There he meets more Yokai on their own turf both friendly and evil. Comments: I really loved this story! I know nothing about manga so can't base my review on that aspect but I'm assuming this is an American manga. The story is fast-paced, full of monsters both good and evil, some even hilarious. The humour factor throughout the book is high making an even more enjoyable read. I quickly became attached to Hamachi who will occasionally lose his temper and tell anyone off if he feels they are doing the wrong thing no matter how much older, wiser, bigger they are than him. What could be perceived as a cute little kid's story is in fact not, as it has an edge, a violent edge. When violence is called for it is used and some situations are startling, yet amusing. In between the story we are shown glimpses of Hamachi's journal where he draws pictures of the Yokai he meets and he narrates a little information about it. This in itself is interesting and funny. Not to mention an entertaining source of ancient Japanese mythology. The book ends on an exciting note leaving one wanting more. A great beginning to what could prove to be a fantastic series. I've already added volume 2 (due out at the end of Nov.) to my amazon cart!
Date published: 2009-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from F*ing amazing...like your mom! This book was very original and juicy with sarcasm that rocks the very bedrock of any comic writing I've read in a long time. Art's consistant and solidly good story-telling. An enjoyable read all around for manga lovers and new-commers to Japanese culture. I recommend you buy it! Support our talent Canada!
Date published: 2008-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun, offbeat journey through a beautifully drawn world of Japanese folktales I guess it's natural to expect that any review of Yokaiden will reference the development of OEL manga, but the fact is that I don't consider Yokaiden a well-done OEL manga. I consider it a well-done comic, period. If you've read Nina "Space Coyote" Matsumoto's webcomic Saturnalia, you probably already have an idea of the tone to expect. Matsumoto creates a solid story with a charmingly diverse and whimsical cast. The entire thing is permeated it with her signature ironic/sarcastic sense of humour, and skillfully dressed up in a style that gives both characters and world a distinct look and appeal. If you like good art, ghost stories, Japanese culture, mythology and folklore, comedic adventures, quirky characters, or plain good old irreverence, you'll probably get a kick out of Yokaiden. Our hero is Hamachi Uramaki, a straightforward, glass-is-half-full kind of little boy who is obsessed with yokai (Japanese spirits and demons). His passionate defence of these "misunderstood" creatures causes him to be pretty much outcast from his society. His sole family is his grumpy bitter grandmother who seems to treat him (and most things) like dirt. When she apparently dies at the hands of a yokai who has stolen her soul, he decides to journey to their realm to find her killer. Sound morbid? Somehow, Nina manages to make the entire trip quite fantastically insane. I found the fourth wall breaks more entertaining than intrusive, and couldn't help but break into a smile or chuckle out loud at some of the commentary and digressions from the characters themselves. The plot itself is never tossed to the side, but it's clear that we're not missing any chances to receive a well-placed bit of dry and self-aware humour. The entire story moves along at a brisk pace, and is delivered in a manner that is as energetic as its protagonist. And the art? Simply a treat. Thanks to the skill of the writing and the drawing, every character has a distinct voice. Both people and demons have wonderfully creative designs and are extremely expressive, and a lot of care is also paid to the environments, building a great sense of the world itself. I love the loose brushwork and lines that often apear in the scenery, evoking some traditional Japanese paintings, not to mention the sketches and artwork sprinkled throughout the openings and closings of every chapter. There are lots of fun nods and winks to Japanese legends and, amusingly, contemporary Western culture, and great little touches and extras throughout the entire book that enrich the reader's knowledge of the history and mythology behind it all. For example, Yokaiden kicks off with the traditional 100 candles game (tell 100 ghost stories and blow a candle out after each one to open a portal to the demon world), and carries the theme through the entire book (each chapter is numbered as a candle, for instance). Each section also closes with a brief excerpt either from Inukai Mizuki's Field Guide to Yokai (Hamachi's "bible"), or Hamachi's own journal of observations and adorable scribbles as he navigates the yokai world - guilelessly done only as a nine-year old could. The "talking heads" commentary on these pages is also priceless. I can definitely see this story opening up a much bigger world of Japanese folklore to readers, inspiring them to look even further into the background of the legends featured. Del Rey itself did quite a nice job on the production as well; I was delighted to see the two illustrations of Hamachi and Kyumon reproduced in full colour at the opening of the book. Overall I was pretty impressed with the printing and assembly, although in some parts the binding cuts too much into the art near the center of the book and makes it difficult to see the details there. Some of the pages also appear to be trimmed erratically, resulting in margins to be different sizes and causing some of the art to be cut off. But that's really just me being overly technical. In short, Yokaiden is more than worth the cover price. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2008-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An absolutely BEAUTIFUL comic! Set in a fantastical ancient Japan where humans live uneasily beside sometimes playful, sometimes menacing Yokai monsters, Yokaiden proves its worth as a comic--and as a story--beyond the limiting classification (and reputation) of "Original English language" OEL mangas. Yokaiden is the first OEL work that moves beyond merely laughing at and pandering to "fandom" and "otaku" readers. Instead of focusing upon otaku culture, Matsumoto brings a wonderfully researched and beautifully imagined historical Japan to life, placing readers into the shoes of young, wide-eyed protagonist Hamachi. Readers experience Hamachi's sense of optimism and discovery as he is gradually exposed to actual Japanese myths and monsters. Some yokai (such as kappas) may already be familiar to those well versed in anime and Japanese video games, but most creatures are refreshingly foreign and unique. Most pleasingly, all yokai (and also humans, for that matter) have a depth of personality and humour that make them endearing. There is a hidden depth waiting beneath the beautifully simple surface of Yokaiden. The story progresses onward without taking itself too seriously or lapsing into melodrama: readers who groan at "teen" dilemma plots will find those cliche elements thankfully absent. With witty dialogue, beautiful art and short biographies of all monsters featured, Yokaiden is entertaining, appealing and informative to boot. People already infatuated with Japanese culture will enjoy this comic, but so will those who are unfamiliar but are eager for a good story! Definitely a must read!
Date published: 2008-11-27