Shoo! Aw! Why won’t they leave? If you’re haunted like that, we can’t make out…
3 Volumes – Completed
Nishino Kagome – who desperately wants to see spirits, but can’t – forms the “Extremely Normal Phenomena Observation Club” at school (the rationale behind the name being that ghosts do exist, thus observing them is extremely normal). She coerces her friend, Masami Takeuchi into joining, but things take a turn for the worse, when it appears as if he’s an unwilling and unwitting spirit-magnet. Enter Kasuga Kagome, descended from a long line of priestesses, who can see spirits, but desperately doesn’t want to. Thus the scene is set for a fun and spooky romp through the realm of the supernatural.
Now here’s something novel – take a bunch of school kids, stick them together in a club, give them a bunch of adventures and then stick a love triangle on top of that. Ok, I was being sarcastic – let’s face it, it’s a theme that’s been so well trodden over time, the carpet’s worn through to the floorboards. However, that’s not to say that Yui doesn’t try his best to bring something new to the genre and in a way he has, ending up with an enjoyable little romp.
Personally, I like the use of the two opposing Kagome’s – Nishino who wants to see ghosts and can’t and Kasuga who can see them and really doesn’t want to, nor does she want to be a part of the club. That is until she lays eyes on Masami and sees him as a potential solution to her problem. You see – how does one say this politely – Kasuga’s ability so see spirits rests upon the fact (as with all good miko) that she’s still a maiden. Should she lose her maidenhood, then in theory, she’ll lose the ability too. Hence her *ahem* interest in Masami, who is of course, holding a flame for Nishino and thus isn’t quite as responsive as she’d like. The last thing Nishino wants, of course, is for Kasuga to lose her skills, as she’s the club’s only link to the spirit world, and this leads to an amusing interplay between the three protagonists during the tale.
As for the rest of the story, well it’s fairly typical stuff, as Masami finds himself first haunted by the disembodied head of his dead mother (Freud would have a field day with him, methinks), and the hunt for the source and solution to the mystery takes off at breakneck speed. It’s generally well done and covers the whole gamut from creaking cupboard doors, possession to long forgotten, creepy shrines and family secrets. The story becomes fairly involved, as more secrets are revealed surrounding Masami’s family, as well as the ties that bind the two Kagome’s to each other and Masami. It does, sadly, get a bit far-fetched as the story progresses, especially once Masami becomes aware of his own “powers,” but I guess that’s to be expected from a shounen-esque storyline, although Yui more than compensates with a refreshingly surprising ending.
Something else that surprised me – artistic philistine that I am – was how much I enjoyed his character design and artwork. The girls’ designs in particular convey a sense of spunkiness, exuberance and fun and I must confess (at the risk of sounding like a dirty old man) that that played a large part in me picking up and running with this particular manga. Yui’s also not afraid to switch repeatedly from “normal” to “deformed” character styles, using it to great effect to enhance the comedic moments.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a fun little story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but manages to bring a little something new to a well-tried formula, Kagome Kagome is an enjoyable, and short, read.
[Reviewer: Gerwyn Petty]