By Leroy Douresseaux
January 29, 2007 - 13:26
MUGEN SPIRAL, VOL. 1 (OF 2)
CARTOONIST: Mizuho Kusanagi
TRANSLATION: Nan Rymer
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Christine Schilling
ISBN: 978-1-59816-829-7; soft cover; Fantasy/Romance; Teen-Age 13+
210 pp., B&W, $9.99
Mugen Spiral is the story of a special young woman named Yayoi Suzuka. The Suzuka family is a long line of mystics and spiritualists, and Yayoi became the 78th mystic after her parents died. With the Spirit Wheel Key, Yayoi can also control the 108 spirits of the Realm of the Dead, including Meidoh, a ninja from the Edo Period, and Gaimei, a wolf-like spirit beast that devours negative energy.
At the beginning of Mugen Spiral, Vol. 1, Ura the Demon King attacks Yayoi. Ura is the son of King Araku, who rules over the demons in their kingdom, Infinite City. Araku is deathly ill, and Ura can take his father's place only if he has attained enough magical power. If Ura can devour Yayoi, he will absorb her powers (which are considerable, although Yayoi isn't one to boast), but Yayoi isn't some shrinking violet. She binds Ura's powers and transforms him into a black cat, which she keeps as a kind of pet. Horrified by his new condition, Ura spins his days hissing, spitting, and bantering with Yayoi, but they come to grudgingly admire one another.
Trouble arrives in the form of Ura's cousin, Hakuyoh, a pretty boy who wants desperately to be Ura's lover. Right behind him is Ura's younger brother, Ouga, who has diabolical plans of his own. Secrets and lies and old family grudges come exploding to the surface, and they just might extinguish Yayoi and Ura's budding romance.
In Mugen Spiral, Manga-ka Mizuho Kusanagi has created a romantic comedy that has to share narrative space with an action fantasy. The mismatched pair of Yayoi and Ura are the best part of Mugen Spiral, and when the story focuses on their bickering and clumsy attempts to discover each other, Mugen Spiral is fun to read. The fantasy intrigue is also interesting, and it looks like it will dominate this short Manga series. Still, more bickering couple is better.
One other note: Kusanagi draws some the most exquisite hands I've every seen in Manga.
Thanks to barnesandnoble.com for the images.