When Daisuke Aso gave up his life as a police officer to pursue investigating paranormal activities, he was stricken with an allegory that threatens to kill him. Being the physical manifestation of what one fears, allegories can take on a variety of forms, including chainsaw wielding murderers or fish-faced mutants.
Conceived by Sakae Esuno of Future Diary fame, Hanako and the Terror of Allegory is actually one of the author’s earliest works. Considering the sadistic nature of his later series, readers will no doubt have little trouble seeing the origins of his offbeat narrative, as the subject matter allows for plenty of opportunities to push the envelope.
Interestingly enough, volume 2 kicks off on a funny note, with Aso’s secretary kanae, making a pact with a demon for fame in exchange for her soul. From there, the story turns into a comedic parody of the Faustian legend as Kanae does everything in her power to put off handing over her soul, eventually turning the tables on the demon when she convinces him he hasn’t actually fulfilled her wish at all.
After that, the series dives back into more serious subject matter, as Aso combats several different allegories while struggling to prevent his own from coming to pass. Much of the first half of the volume is a rehash of volume one, with the second half opening the story up to greater possibilities. The final chapter especially is a page turner and the last few pages show exactly what Esuno is capable of when given the opportunity to explore his imagination.
The artwork is a notch above that of volume one but is still falls short of Esuno’s currents work. The style is angular and taylor made for animation. One can really get a sense for Esuno’s enthusiasm given the amount of detail poured into every demon’s design.
Hanako and the Terror of Allegory volume 2 improves on the foundations set up in the first volume. Despite a slow start, the series manages to find its groove by the middle and is hitting on all cylinders by the final pages. Given Esuno’s knack for unrestrictive storytelling, one can only imagine what the future has in store. The third volume can’t come soon enough.