Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: YUKARISM Volume 1


CARTOONIST: Chika Shiomi
LETTERS: Rina Mapa
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7590-2; paperback (December 2014); Rated “T” for “Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

VIZ Media has recently released its latest series from mangaka Chika Shiomi.  Entitled Yukarism, this nostalgia-tinted historical romance follows an accomplished teenaged author who can slip into time and  assume his past life as a courtesan.

Yukari Kobayakawa is 17-years-old and attends high school.  He is also already an accomplished author who writes about historical Japan, specifically the Edo Period of the early 1800s.  Shockingly, Yukari has the ability to slip into his past life in the Edo period, when he was as a beautiful, renowned courtesan (Oiran) named Yumurasaki.

As Yukarism, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 4) opens, high school student Mahoro Tachibana gets a chance to meet fellow classmate, Yukari Kobayakawa.  She is a huge fan of his period novels.  Surprisingly, Yukari is sure he knows Mahoro, and she is also sure that she knows him.  They have a connection in the past, but Yukari wonders if their relationship was friendly or deadly.

I knew that I would like the Yukarism manga by Chika Shiomi.  I loved Shiomi's supernatural romance, Yurara, and I was a fan of her other supernatural shojo manga, Rasetsu.  Her work bewitches me.

I must admit that the contents of Yukarism Volume 1 strains credulity.  The chance of so many reincarnations in such close proximity to one another is too much to believe.  Still, if I accept the reincarnation conceit to begin with, I guess I have to accept all of Yukarism's other fantasy elements.  The elegant line work of Yukarism's art gives the story a captivating quality, and fans bewitched by Shiomi's other supernatural romances will want to try this.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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