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September 24, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Black Bird vol. 6

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Black Bird
Author: Kanoko Sakurakoji
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 6 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2008 by Shogakukan in Japan, October 5, 2010 by Viz Media
Genre: Romance, bodice ripper (smut), comedy, supernatural

As a little girl, Misao used to play quite often with the boy next door.  She was very attached to him, so when he suddenly had to leave, Misao was heart broken.  The boy promised to return one day, to marry her.  Over the years, Misao gradually forgot the boy, until one day on her way home from school, she noticed a handsome man standing outside the manor where the boy used to live.  This was Kyo, the boy from her memories!  Now 16, Misao was beginning to experience an elevation in the spirits she had always been able to see, as a dramatically increased amount of them began attacking her.  Kyo, coming to her aid, explained that Misao was the bride of prophecy, a human woman whose blood gives power to the demon clan who claims her, the Senka Maiden.  Drink her blood, gain long life; eat her flesh, gain eternal youth; marry her, and have a prosperous clan.  Kyo has worked hard to become the head of his family so that he can marry Misao.  Unfortunately, it won’t be easy for them.  Even as Misao starts to fall deeper in love with Kyo, a constant stream of ever more dangerous obstacles get in their way.  The least of which is a mysterious, though quite likely dangerous, consequence if the two ever have sex together.

At the end of volume 5, while visiting Kyo’s clan at their family home, Misao decides to take matters into her own hands.  Knowing that the only way Kyo can secure his rule as clan leader permanently, and stay with Misao, is to kill his own brother, Misao strives to find any other possible way to prevent Kyo from having to commit such a soul rending act.  Unfortunately, a trap has been laid for Misao.  At the beginning of volume 6, she finds herself in a precarious situation, locked in the storehouse where Kyo’s brother, Sho, is being kept.  Sho intends to take Misao for himself, and then hand her over to the Tsuchigumo Clan.  Kyo’s bodyguards act quickly to rescue Misao, but the Tsuchigumo clan interferes, and Misao and Sho are trapped inside the storehouse.  As Kyo hurries to deal with the Tsuchigumo, Misao fights her own battle against his vengeful brother.  As more of the past is revealed, Misao is troubled by what she learns.  When things finally settle back to normal, a new, high ranking demon appears, with a rather strange request.

This one I have actually been reading from the beginning, but haven’t talked about before as there is nothing particularly exemplary about it.  It’s just fairly well written smut.  Of all the manga I read and have read, even the yaoi, that I have enjoyed, this is probably the only title I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I enjoy reading.  The female lead is lorded over by the male lead, frightened into obedience.  Fortunately it gets a bit better in later volumes, when Misao finally starts acting for herself, fighting for herself, fighting to protect Kyo, and taking things into her own hands (even if it’s not always the wisest thing to do).  But I know a lot of people bothered by “bodice rippers,” as these types of stories are called, and by this sort of relationship.  I like the story, I like the art, I think it’s well written (for what it is), even though I know it’s ridiculous.  So readers (and those more feminist minded), you’ll have to forgive this indulgence.  I like to read it, and I like to drool a little over the hot guys.  Confession over.

Though that confession pretty much sums up every volume of the manga, including this one.  Misao is quite often at Kyo’s mercy, in many ways.  He loves her, but you wouldn’t always think it by the way he uses her fears to make sure she listens to him.  He wants her to need him, so he pretends to drop her off buildings and lets her get overwhelmed by pesky demons just to prove a point.  It’s pretty cruel, and there’s quite a bit of this in the early volumes, while Kyo is trying to win Misao’s affections in his warped way.  The more recent volumes have been more serious, as both characters now have strong feelings for each other, and there are far bigger problems than Kyo’s groping and Misao’s grades in school.  The biggest problem now, aside from defending Misao from other clans, is what’s going to happen to Misao when she and Kyo finally do the deed.  All they currently know is that something disastrous is a likely possibility, but unfortunately they don’t currently have the resources they need to learn about the fate of the Senka Maiden.  A surprise visitor at the end of this volume may have the answers they seek, but there is a price to be paid.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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10 Comments



  1. […] 1 of 7 Billion Needles (Genji Press) Lissa Pattillo on vol. 3 of Arata: The Legend (ANN) Kristin on vol. 6 of Black Bird (Comic Attack) Julie Opipari on Daniel and Daughter (Manga Maniac Cafe) Tangognat on vols. 1 and 2 […]



  2. […] 1 of 7 Billion Needles (Genji Press) Lissa Pattillo on vol. 3 of Arata: The Legend (ANN) Kristin on vol. 6 of Black Bird (Comic Attack) Julie Opipari on Daniel and Daughter (Manga Maniac Cafe) Tangognat on vols. 1 and 2 […]



  3. “It’s just fairly well written smut.” lol You had me right there!


  4. Kristin

    Well…smut for girls. It’s not really a title meant for guys, at all. It’s the Japanese version of a romance novel, basically.


  5. Jade

    I tried the first volume of this, but it horrified me, haha.

    I’m really glad you explained that you like it as smut though. I fully believe offensive books have every right to exist, but when fans try to twist the content around to justify it to themselves or critics, that’s when the messages could start causing real problems, I think. Women are also able to be more open about those sorts of interests these days, so we should take advantage of that. If we just write off smut or keep silent about it, the creators will just start appealing to the most obnoxious fans and their interests.



  6. Yeah, I totally recognize it for what it is. But I still like it. 🙂
    I can’t try to justify the nonsense that’s in there, but I can praise it’s other qualities. I do genuinely think it’s a well made series, it’s just unfortunate how degrading it can sometimes be.


  7. lala girl

    love this book


  8. JASWNE114

    its a good book one of my favorites along with Badger and Scott Pilgrim


  9. JASWNE114

    sorry i actually havent read this issue only 5 and down



  10. […] [Volume 6 review.] […]



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