(EEEE! LJ is working again! What is it with this place lately?)
Today, browsing in our local B&N, I discovered a delicious shoujo manga that I simply must share with you all.
Said manga? Black Bird
by Kanoko Sukarakoji (whose 2-volume Backstage Prince, I read and liked previously).
Misao is your typical Japanese high-schooler - studies, has friends, wants a boyfriend. Well, she's typical except for one teeny tiny little thing - ever since she can remember, she has the ability to see demons. She has had to hide this from everyone, else they think she's odder than they already think she is. The only person she recalls telling about this who believed her was her childhood friend Kyo. She doesn't remember much about him, but she remembers his telling her he will protect her and come back for her. But then he moved away and that was it.
Until now. One day she's attacked by a demon who tells her why she could always see them - she is a special human who is born very rarely and thus is very prized by the demon realm. Whoever eats her flesh will gain prosperity, whoever drinks her blood will gain longevity, and whoever marries her, will gain fortune for his whole demon clan. And now that she's turned 16, it's open season.
It's the end for Misao until someone shows up, takes on the demon, and rescues her. She doesn't recognize him at first, so he introduces himself - he's the grown-up Kyo, who's returned to keep his word. Only one thing - Kyo is the clan heir of the tengu - i.e. he's a demon himself, and he wants her for his demon bride. Hey, it's got to be better than being eaten, right?
And now we come to the most amusing and entertaining part of this. He can literally heal her wounds with his tongue
. Let this sink in. Did I mention that since demons are after Misao en masse, she gets hurt a lot
? There are literally scenes where demon venom is all over her body, so he has to lick her all over. Mmmmm. Oh, and there is also the bit where she has energy to heal demons by being close to them, and the closer the better, so if it's Kyo's turn to get wounded, frenching seems to be as good a way as any to make him better. And Kyo gets hurt a lot, too, seeing that he's constantly protecting the walking, talking demon lunch (because the heroine's attitude, rather amusingly, is "I may love you and not want to be eaten, but I am not marrying anyone at 16"). Mayu Shinjo just wishes she thoughts of that.
I love it! Snarking on a very creative way to introduce some sensuality into the manga aside, it does have a pretty strong story, with first loves, family secrets, forgotten memories, evil siblings (I believe Kyo's older brother qualifies for worst sibling ever - working out your issues by trapping/mortally wounding your younger bro and telling him that before he dies, you are going to make him watch as you rape, kill, and eat his gf is going above and beyond call of duty), more h/c than you can even want, and fighting. Plus, it seems to belong to the subgenre of "girl attracts undying, literally, affection of some sort of fierce/powerful/supernatural hottie who will do anything for her" shoujo which I like. I really dislike the ones where a girl chases after a guy who couldn't give her a time of day.
Is it a masterpiece? Nope. Is it delicious, bodice-ripper fun? Heck yeah.
First 6 volumes have been published in English by Viz. Scanlations are, I am sure, in all the usual places.