Here you will find honest, intelligent manga reviews for shojo fans of all ages.

Jan 4, 2010

Black Bird Vol. 2 - Kanoko Sakurakoji

The other day while flipping through channels I came across a marine program that showed the mating process of octopi. I don't usually watch animal planet or anything like that, but I was so intrigued by the idea that I couldn't help but stop and watch as the narrator explained what was happening. When the commercial break occurred, it dawned on me what I just watched, and though now enlightened on the mating process of octopi, I was just as confused as why in the world I actually watched it.

That's kind of like my fascination with this new series by Sakurakoji. Although the characters in Black Bird 2 continue to push the envelope with sexual innuendos aplenty that make me cringe, I just can't help but be drawn in by the fantasy story elements. Volume 2 introduces a new cast of characters that includes the eight daitengu or tengu clan retainers, known fondly by Misao as the "Tengu Host Club" for their looks. With the new cast we get a new perception of Kyo, shown as more of a heroic and gentle leader, than the previous overbearing pervert. A new adversary arises when the daitengu arrive. Amongst the retainers is Shojo, Kyo's older brother and previous heir to the clan leadership. Once Misao learns about Shojo's interference with her past, she finally makes up her mind about her feelings for Kyo.

When it's obvious that the artist tries to make every other scene somewhat erotic, it does begin to get old quickly. There are some scenes and dialogue that I just had to roll my eyes at. What I realized as the plot reached a more serious point, was that the perverseness of the male protagonist is supposed to be a corny character trait. I guess in a josei manga I would not have blinked an eye. A guy in his twenties would say some of those perverted things flirtatiously, but his counterpart would usually be in her twenties also - not a teen in high school. That's what made those comments seem out of place to me. At least Misao responds by smacking him every time. As for the storyline, I found one transition a bit sudden in the plot line, when Misao goes missing. There is not much set up for that event. And although I complimented the artwork last time, I do have a gripe about the toning in this volume. The patterns chosen for the clothing are distasteful. In some scenes there were too many conflicting patterns in one layout.

Despite the more thorough analysis this time, the only reason I can fathom I'm still reading this series is that, at the heart of the storyline, it's about a boy who waited ten years to return to the girl he cares for. There's so many questions I have still unanswered. I'm hoping the cheesy sexual innuendos will calm down once the tension between the two protagonists is eased. Who knows how many volumes that may take. It could be at some point it will no longer intrigue me, and I'll move on and change the channel. In the meantime, I'm declaring this title only for hard core romance fans. Other casual readers beware.


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