By Leroy Douresseaux
Dec 17, 2008 - 19:31
|Phantom Dream 1 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rated “OT” for “Teen-Age 16+”
Tamaki Otoya is the last in a line of ancient summoners, a shugoshi. His task is to rid the world of the combined evil of the Jashin (darkness) and Jaki (a kind of demon). Tamaki has found strength to deal with his burden in his childhood friend, the bubbly Asahi.
In Phantom Dream, Vol. 1, Asahi is thrilled to be reunited with her childhood friend, Mitsuru, but the older girl is possessed by a Jaki. Exorcising the demon from Mitsuru, however, proves to be quite difficult and involves her troubled past. Next, a boy who committed suicide is brought back to life when a Jaki enters his body, and Tamaki won’t exorcise the demon because the boy will die again – making him a murderer. Finally, an old enemy of the Otoya family, the Jahoutsukai, returns to reclaim a powerful relic.
THE LOWDOWN: Coming from Natsuki Takaya, the creator of the popular shoujo manga, Fruit Baskets, Phantom Dream should be quite romantic. While there is a strong emotional bond between Tamaki Otoya and Asahi, this series is dark fantasy. TOKYOPOP describes it as a “romance” in the cover copy; perhaps, it is, and the more romantic elements may come to the fore in later chapters.
As the story stands in this volume, Phantom Dream is a darker and edgier version of Chika Shiomi’s Yurara, which is itself rather dark and edgy, although the latter is much more romantic than the former. Phantom Dream is less Twilight (a supernatural romance) and more “Supernatural,” The CW television series that features characters dealing with the supernatural and occasionally becoming entangled in a romance. In fact, that’s what Asahi’s relationship with Tamaki seems to be, an entanglement that will complicate his ancestral obligations. That makes for constant conflict and lots of drama, which is why Phantom Dream seems like a “romance” worth reading.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers of both dark fantasy and supernatural romance will want to give this tart read a try.