Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Shinrei Tantei Yakumo by Kaminaga Manabu

Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Kaminaga Manabu

Fateful Encounters:
Based on novel by Kaminaga Manabu. Shinrei tantei yakumo aka psychic detective yakumo tells a story about a college student, Saitou Yakumo who born with different eye colors. His red left eye gave him a special ability to see ghosts and spirits. He believes ghosts and spirits are bound to earth because of a certain 'cause' and simply by eliminating that 'cause' will those spirits rest in peace. Being asked for help by Ozawa Haruka, together they began the investigation.

Alternative names
Psychic Detective Yakumo
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Investigatore Sovrannaturale Yakumo
ยาคุโมะ นักสืบวิญญาณ
Detetive Psíquico Yakumo


Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Fox, Manga Eden, Manga Park

Rosy's scrawlings on Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
This manga is slow paced in comparison to many other stories containing ghosts or focusing on hauntings and it is so because the stories are approached from a detective angle rather than a thriller or suspense one. This means that the slow picking up of clues and the pondering of spirit problems takes precedence to running into a building and sending all the ghosts over to the other side, whether that be heaven, hell or some other derivative of the other side. There is something rather engaging that comes from this slow progression in the story line and that is the slow building of disquiet and tension. Nowadays it is more common to find oneself slammed into a tense situation, complete with battles and gore, right from the get go as this is what is deemed the most engaging, style-wise at least. Here though, you'll see an ancient form of story telling only recently left for dust return with gusto. Here are ghost story told in whispers and with a subtleness that will leave your skin crawling as you wait for the final scare, knowing full well it is coming but not being able to do anything but to progress onwards to find out what it is all about. As such, you'll find yourself thoroughly addicted and pulled through the story arcs, unable to stop reading until you reach each ending. Personally, this addiction became bad enough that I couldn't start a new story arc until the entire editions for each had been uploaded (I now have another arc to enjoy after reading this).
Yakumo is a quiet man, sneaky and amusing at times, who likes to put on a dramatic front in order to encourage business. It also heightens the atmosphere as well as the hammishness of the old melodramatic detective/psychic image. At first, I found his melodramatic nature a little irritating but I quickly learnt to smirk and laugh at it. You really don't have to take it seriously, as even he doesn't at times. Otherwise, Yakumo is a little rude, a lot abrupt and rarely speaks when he doesn't trust someone. Only those close to him get to see anything of him but his facade of psychic. He's also rather clever.
His character is also balanced out nicely with that of Gotou who's openly abusive and brash and more the stereotypical rough detective than Yakumo is, and that of Ozawa Haruka who's your average open and capable college girl except with a regretful past and a lot of misery. Gotou provides detective and police support, manning what is essentially the unofficial X-files wing of the department, while Ozawa provides more personal support and allows Yakumo to open up, speak and sometimes even do things that are personable and nice.
The three of them, sometimes joined by others, join together to discover the reasons for the hauntings and dispel the ghosts. The ghosts are often menacing but there are a few who guard the living and help the three to stop the more vicious ghosts. In all, the most interesting aspects of the hauntings aren't always the hauntings themselves but rather how they came to be and luckily for us, these stories are explained in full.
The art of Shinrei Tantei Yakumo is by Oda Suzuka. It is full of shades of grey and has a certain graininess to it that emphasises the detective aspects of the story. The ghosts are mostly boldly drawn, often inky black, as is the new trend for Asian ghosts likely to cause harm. There are a few white ghosts, their colour reflecting their innocence, but there aren't any of the more traditional styles. This helps to make Shinrei Tantei Yakumo appeal to young readers. The most amusing part of Oda Suzuka's are is the darkening of Yakumo's dramatic sentences. It is spot on for carrying the mood and makes me smile. All in all, the art is appealing, subtle and well done.

I'd recommend this manga to: those interested in supernatural detective stories, ghost stories and psychic stories. I'd also suggest it to anyone who hasn't as yet tried any of these sub genres as Yakumo is one of the best fictional psychic detectives about, even if he likes to ham it up on occasion. 

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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