Continuing in the Touhou series, this one follows the footsteps of Silent Sinner in Blue, Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth, and the Sangetsusei trilogy.
This time, Marisa comes across a mysterious hermit outside the Human Village. However, as she tells Reimu about her, the hermit is seen sneaking around the Hakurei Shrine. She's Ibara Kasen, a strange, bandaged ascetic of unknown nature and ability who's far more aware of them and Gensoukyou than either realizes.
With time comes experience and one began to think about life, unless your family name is Hakurei in which case you can completely ignore everything below this line. Touhou Ibara Kasen revolves around the hermit Ibaraki Kasen, following her life around Gensokyo similar to Forbidden Scrollery. But it looks at it from a non human point of view.
Story - 9
Quite a lot of philosophical discussion between characters looking into the mentality of people and Youkai. Every chapter is more or less self contained with some story spanning two or three chapters. It also shows some of the darker sides of Touhou verse, which is best
left for new readers to discover themselves.
Character - 9
Here is a spoiler, Kasen is a Youkai, an Oni to be precise, not that it is much of a spoiler since, it was highly obvious (Oni's are horrible at hiding themselves). Being a Youkai, she surprisingly takes the side of humans awfully a lot, maybe she fell in love with the man who cut off her arm, lol. She's pretending to be a hermit, to get close to people, there is certainly quite a story behind why she wants to be so close to people.
Reimu shows up just like always, this time showing her full laziness greediness and what she is like when she isn't dealing with an incident. Her plans to get rich is hilarious, as it shows how far our impoverished miko is willing to go to get money only to lose it all due to getting too cocky.
Other characters also show up, with the best cameo being Yukari being creepy (like always) and Komachi using the spying on Kasen to slack off her duty as the ferry man.
Overall - 8
Interesting and smoothing story, good for a relaxing read and leaves a one thinking for a while after reading.
This is an absolutely brilliant piece of work that should be experienced by everyone, which is regrettable considering how low key the series is and most manga readers generally flock to generic terrible crap most of the time but this review isn't about that isn't it? It's about Wild and Horned Hermit! One of my most beloved manga series that's still ongoing.
Of course the first thing one ever sees upon opening a page is the absolutely gorgeous artwork by Azuma Aya. Her style brilliantly compliments the character designs in the series, often providing a very cutesy and cheerful outlook to the characters. Everything from the
character's facial expressions to the clothes they're wearing all vividly reflect the detail and effort put into crafting such a magnificent piece of art. The attention to detail is exceptional, with pages providing minute details in each page that make repeat viewings enjoyable even for the art alone.
But of course, good art alone is not enough for one to read a long series of literature for hundreds of hours. Wild and Horned Hermit has a very engaging and interesting story that may seem lighthearted on its surface, but has several moments with deep meaning and philosophical text sprouted alongside each panel. ZUN's trademark love for puns and obscure Japanese cultural references appear throughout the series, at times being he main focus of an issue's plot of the month. And while the series is at heart a lighthearted slice-of-life romp though Gensokyo, there is a concrete and surprisingly deep arc that develops through the course of the entire series, though one minor gripe I have is that it's not pushed to the forefront enough or given more attention, even up till the 27th issue. Which is somewhat of a shame because the inner demons and conflict residing within the main character, Ibaraki Kasen, is the most interesting aspect of the manga. It is a shame that this important driving force to the story is so far kept behind the scenes, leaving it up to future games/issues to fill in the void.
Overall, WaHH should be read by you. Kogasa appears as a blacksmith and Nitori opens a marine park. What more do you want????