Tuesday, December 14, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: MAO: Volume 1

MAO, VOL. 1
VIZ MEDIA

MANGAKA: Rumiko Takahashi
TRANSLATION: Junko Goda
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Shaenon Garrity
LETTERS: Susan Daigle-Leach
EDITOR: Annette Roman
ISBN: 978-1-9747-2052-1; paperback (September 2021); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £7.99 UK

Mao is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi.  It has been serialized in the Japanese manga magazine, Weekly Sh┼Źnen Sunday, since May 2019.  In September 2021, VIZ Media began publishing an English-language edition of Mao as a series of paperback graphic novels under its “Shonen Sunday” imprint.

Mao, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 8) introduces 15-year-old Nanoka Kiba, a third-year middle school student.  Eight years ago, she was in a mysterious car accident in which she and her parents died, but Nanoka continues to live on.  One day, while visiting the shopping alley on Fifth Street, Nanoka inadvertently enters a portal that transports her back to Japan's Taisho era, around the year 1923.

There, Nanoka meets a young-looking exorcist named Mao and his helper, Otoya, a shikigami that resembles a small boy.  When Nanoka gets back to the present, she discovers that she has some new, incredible abilities.  She returns to the past looking for answers, but only finds herself caught up in Mao’s investigation of a series of gruesome murders and of their mutual connection to a powerful cat demon named Byoki.

THE LOWDOWN:  The Mao manga is the latest multi-genre title from Rumiko
Takahashi.  As usual, this title pairs a young female touched by the supernatural with a youngish male whose trade is in the supernatural.

Moa Graphic Novel Volume 1 is the first Takahashi manga that I have read since I read Rin-ne Volume 32 twenty-one months ago.  I don't think that I had forgotten the pure joy I often feel while reading one of her titles, but I must have been in need of her work.  It has been a long time since I enjoyed reading a volume of manga this much.

The English-language adaptation by Shaenon Garrity is a delightful read, capturing the magic that infuses this volume and also the curious and inquisitive nature of Nanoka.  I couldn't stop reading Mao Vol. 1, and I like that the characters are only revealed enough to make us come back for more.  Susan Daigle-Leach's lettering looks like a perfect fit for Rumiko's work, particularly for Mao.

This is a perfect opening volume – the kind that makes me want more.  And I already have Vol. 2.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Readers who love Rumiko Takahashi’s manga will want the Shonen Sunday title, Mao.

A+
10 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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