May 6, 2021
The abrupt ending and lingering unanswered questions of the anime adaptation of this title left me wanting more, so I purchased the manga! Unfortunately, only six English volumes are available from Viz, and they carry the story approximately through Episode 9 (out of 26) of the anime.
While there's nothing groundbreaking about this story, it's still a pleasant one to follow. It follows Tsubaki Aoi, who never knew that her rascal grandfather Tsubaki Shiro used her hand in marriage as collateral for a deep debt incurred in the realm of the Ayakashi. Aoi is good-hearted and plucky and, with her innate spiritual power and talent for
cooking to Ayakashi tastes, one by one wins the hearts and loyalty of the spirits surrounding her. The stakes in this story are not global: they are personal, as Aoi strives to work hard and prove her worth and belonging as a fragile and vulnerable human in a demon's realm.
Compared to the anime, the manga does a much better job of communicating precisely what kind of rascal Shiro was. It also more clearly expresses many issues in Aoi's past: the manga definitively states she is not related to Shiro by blood, but was taken in by Shiro as an orphan. Shiro is also explained to have had many children by many women and therefore many grandchildren, but Aoi, who possesses the most spiritual power of all of them, is special.
The manga also does a better job of expressing Aoi's personality. In the anime, while nothing about Aoi's words or actions seems anything but composed and polite, Ayakashi frequently admonish her for being rude. In the manga, Aoi is shown to be more impatient, stubborn, and strong-willed, so the reactions of the arrogant Ayakashi wishing to put this human interloper in her place make more sense. Somehow I just don't think this transferred to the screen.
The art is fine, relatively large with 3-5 panels per page and occasionally highly detailed drawings, and closely resembles the anime.
Hoping to see more volumes of this manga published in English!
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