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February 15, 2010

Bento Bako Weekly: Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist vol. 1

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist
Author: Written by Hideyuki Kikuchi (Vampire Hunter D), art by Shin Yong-Gwan
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Volume: This is the first volume of an ongoing series
Vintage: First published in Japan (in volume form) in 2006.  Digital Manga’s version came out in January 2010.  Volume 2 is set to come out in March.
Genre: Horror, action, supernatural.  The rating is 16+ (young adult) on the cover, but…there’s plenty of nudity in this volume, and what almost amounts to attempted tentacle rape so….  The only thing keeping it from being a mature title rather than a young adult title is that it’s not very graphic.  Except for some bloody dismemberment.

The story opens up by showing us a nighttime marketplace in South Korea.  It’s not uncommon for yakuza and mafia to mingle among the tourists that populate the area.  But every once in a while something else walks the streets – dark creatures masquerading as humans.  Only under the moon’s shadow are their true forms revealed.  On this night, a Japanese girl named Megumi Ohtori finds herself lost in a dark alley as she tries to shake off a stranger who is following her.  Suddenly a wrinkled old lady appears before her claiming to be a fortune teller, and offers to guide her to safety, for the steep price of 10,000 yen (about $100).  The old lady advises Megumi to continue down the corridor and seek out a handsome man dancing in a plaza.  Unfortunately the people following Megumi aren’t ordinary beings.  But then, neither is the man she has been instructed to seek.

The mysterious dancer with the cold eyes immediately assists Megumi, stopping his performance to deal with the men who were chasing after her.  Men whom the moon reveals to be enormous centipede-like creatures.  Though they appear at first to gain the upper hand, they quickly learn that they have underestimated the dancer, who finally reveals himself to be a powerful sage named Akamushi Fujiwara.  He manages to frighten off the minions, but their leader reveals herself – she is a whip-wielding, voluptuous woman intent on taking Megumi away somewhere.  She vanishes as quickly as she appears, and Akamushi returns Megumi to her world, leaving her with a promise to return when she is in danger.

Megumi goes back to her life, thinking the entire event only a dream.  Her fiancee is going to take her on a vacation.  Things seem back to normal and Megumi goes happily on about her business.  Until the whip-wielding Inran reappears.  Megumi’s troubles have just begun, and Akamushi seems to be running a little late.  Friend and foe may not be so easily distinguishable in such a bizarre, nightmarish world, where even her supposed protector is a dangerous and unknown element.  Why is Megumi being hunted by these strange creatures?  Why has Akamushi agreed to aid her?  And why is Inran’s whip more pleasurable than a lover’s hand?  I’ll just leave you to ponder that last one.

Hot chicks, bloody violence, and demons; what more could you ask for? (There's a hot guy for the girls, too.) Megumi tries to take on Inran in Taimashin volume 1.

I’m still not sure what to think of this one.  On the one hand, I think the story, and the character of Akamushi are incredibly interesting, and I’m quite intrigued.  On the other hand…there’s an over-the-top, hentai-like sexual element that I’m not a fan of.  My hope is that the book won’t get hung up on things of that nature, and to be fair, there wasn’t a lot of it here, and it was pretty mild.  I think I was just taken aback by it.  This book is really quite the tease, though.  We’re introduced to some really interesting characters, and their personalities and abilities are dangled before us like a present that we know we’re getting, but aren’t allowed to open yet.  I can’t wait to read more of this story.  Lots of questions are presented here, and nothing at all is answered.

The (great) art inside, by Shin Yong-Gwan, is perfect for the story, and there’s plenty of eye candy for both male and female readers.  Hideyuki Kikuchi is weaving an interesting story here; while I’m still undecided about what I really think of it, I am definitely intrigued and I want to see more.  One final design note – props go out to the cover’s layout designer at DMP.  The cover is sharp and classy, and makes me feel like I’m reading something sophisticated.  Ah, the more I sit here and think about it, and flip back through it, the more interested I’m becoming.

Next week: A demonic butler and his young master star in Black Butler.  And come back later this week for boys’ love title How to Capture a Martini.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copy provided by Digital Manga.

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14 Comments



  1. Tentacle rape aside this looks like something I could get into.


  2. billy

    ” A whip wielding, voluptuos woman ” …I’m in! 🙂


  3. Kristin

    It’s not really tentacle rape…. It doesn’t go that far. But it was a little weird. I don’t read many titles with that sort of element in them, so I think I was just surprised by it. I wouldn’t let that stop you from picking it up, because I think it’s really interesting.



  4. I’ve seen worse in anime like Wicked City and so forth but if the story is as interesting as you say it is I don’t see anything wrong with giving it a look see myself.


  5. Kristin

    It’s more like a warning, more than it is anything defining to the series. Like, “hey, if you pick this up, be aware that there’s some freaky stuff in there.” It’s brief, and it’s not real graphic. Just so that’s clear. And it’s not entirely without purpose. Inran is basically using pleasure as a means to torture Megumi into leaving with her willingly. Don’t ask me how exactly that’s supposed to work, though. 🙂



  6. “And why is Inran’s whip more pleasurable than a lover’s hand? I’ll just leave you to ponder that last one.”

    Pondering…pondering…pondering…


    . . .

    OH GYUK!!

    Great write-up Kris.



  7. […] of Strawberry 100% (Animanga Nation) Erica Friedman on vol. 4 of Sunshine Sketch (Okazu) Kristin on vol. 1 of Tamaishin: The Red Spider Exorcist (Comic […]



  8. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  9. Thanks for a great review and the heads-up about the sexual content, Kris — I’d been curious about this title, but it sounds like it falls squarely in the category of Not My Thing.


  10. Kristin

    Thanks for stopping by Katherine!
    Have you read anything by Kikuchi? I’m reading Yashakiden the Demon Princess right now, and there’s several sexual scenes in that, too, but they’re far more graphic than this…even though they’re just text. It’s like reading a trashy romance novel. And it’s just kind of thrown in there randomly, and for no apparent reason.

    I think, if you get a chance to look at this (like, on a shelf, or a preview or something), you should flip through the pages. I think I made it sound worse than it is because it’s not an element I’m used to. She’s naked because she’s in a hot springs, and Inran happens to show up, and her whip splits into this…almost snake-like thing with several heads, that attaches itself to Megumi. The most graphic it gets is that it sucks on her breasts. There’s other things implied but not physically shown on the page. Inran explains that the whip causes intense pleasure, so she’s using it to basically torture Megumi into ecstasy so she’ll…submit to following Inran back to her master or something. Er, maybe it IS as bad as I made it out to be, lol.

    I loved the rest of the book, though!



  11. I’ve read a few of his novels, though it sounds like I’ve been exploring the PG-13 part of the Kikuchi canon: A Wind Named Amnesia/Invader Summer, Vampire Hunter D. This sounds a little racier than the stuff I’ve been reading, for sure!


  12. Kristin

    It seems so! I have not read Vampire Hunter D, so these two titles (Taimashin, Yashakiden) are my first exposure to him, I think.
    Looks like I jumped right into his racier stuff.



  13. […] Yashakiden: The Demon Princess Author: Hideyuki Kikuchi (Taimashin, Vampire Hunter D) Illustrations: Jun Suemi Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing Volume: This is the […]



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