Byakuya Zaushi is comprised of 5 stories; the first 4 are rather short horror stories, but the final story is pretty long and revolves around a girl whose tribe and brother were killed by Tibaria, a country trying to expand its domain. The brother's dying words are those of a pure white angel of death. The girl, named Jildora, decides she will find her brother's killer.
The first four horror stories are rather good. I really liked how the endings were open ended (except for the second story); it added another layer of creepiness to the stories. The stories in themselves were not very creepy, but
I liked the supernatural aspects of them (they deal with oni, living spirits, death, and curses in this order).
However, the last story doesn't seem to fit. It isn't a horror tale at all and the story telling is quite different from the previous stories. It isn't horrible, but it was rather strange to have a love story in a collection of horror tales having nothing to do with love. The story itself was nothing special as well, which makes me come to the conclusion that the author decided to add a earlier one-shot she wrote into the mix. I feel this is a very bad idea because the mood of the first four and this last one is drastically different, which is why I gave Byakuya a 6 instead of a 7.
Very beautiful and slender art, and I really liked the eyes for some reason (but this is a personal preference). Again there is a vast discrepancy between the art in the first four horror stories and the last story. This leads me to believe that the author really did include an older work of hers. The last story's art is closer to mainstream than the other four. I prefer the art in the four short stories because of it's very distinct eyes and overall beautiful aesthetics.
Beings a one-shot comprised of 5 unique stories, the characters don't get much time to develop. Still you can get an overall feel for them, especially in the last story. The characters didn't much interest me, especially those from the last story, which was typical shoujo fare.
As you can probably tell, I'm not very fond of the last story in this collection. Not only did it throw the manga's overall dark feel off, but it was very bland. The beginning shows a lot of promise (girl wants to get revenge for her brother's death) but it soon devolves into a stereotypical fairytale. Prince Charming saving girl and girl falling for prince charming, ect ect. (there are a few twists and turns, but they are so obvious that it's painful).
Overall, I recommend anyone, who is in the mood for some not so scary horror to check out the first 4 stories. They are quite good and will most likely keep you entertained. I recommend opting out of the last story, unless your in the mood to finish off with some dreamy shoujo. Byakuya lost a point for this last story; I really did not enjoy the change of genres and feel and it left a sour taste in my mouth.