Fuuta Okeya can see ghosts. Besides that—and the bandage he always keeps on his cheek—he's a perfectly normal 14-year old boy enamoured with the new transfer student. Unfortunately, Kouko Ishigami wants little to do with him. A strange ghost that follows her, however, seems to feel quite differently. But, when Kouko sees the strange birthmark hidden beneath the bandage on Fuuta's cheek, she has a change of heart...for the worse. Not only does she denounce him as her enemy, but she claims that the birthmark is a curse she engraved upon his face during one of their many past lives. What happened between Kouko and Fuuta, and what is the connection to the strange, fantastical dreams that Fuuta begins to experience?
When I first read the description of this manga, I immediately thought of Kekkaishi, but that was not the case. This manga went far over my expectations. It was very amusing and interesting to see how the main protagonist live despite having all his past lives incorporated into him. It was also kind of cool to see the past lives of the main protagonist and the female antagonist fight against each other.
I'm afraid Spirit Circle, by Mizukami Satoshi, will like the excellent but often forgotten Hoishi no Samidare, become only a shadow hit, a read for the people who dig deeper and want different kinds of shonen. So let me try to convince you with this review to grab a book and read this very interesting story.
Art : 6/10
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first : yes, compared to tenors of the shonen manga, the art is...Meh. Although this is an artstyle that feels really distinctive, and works quite well for expressions and faces overall, the real weakness lies in the background, who most of the time, are generic, or just like detail. If you want your manga to be only eye candy, like Blame or Berserk, this won't be one for you.
Story : 8/10
The story will let us follow Fuuta Okeya, a 14-year-old boy who can see ghosts. And this ability is absolutely not the focus of the story. To try and not spoil too much, his encounter with a young girl who just transferred in his neighborhood will lead him into reliving his past lives, to try and understand why the girl wants to kill him so bad.
I found the premise quite original and refreshing. After each past life, it's not like the protagonist gains a new skill, or becomes better at fighting : the real heroes of this story are all of the past lifes of Fuuta, but more on that later.
But Spirit Circle isn't just about those past lives : there's an overarching plot, with completely bonkers consequences like only Mizukami Satoshi can think of (let us remember, he's the one who thought of a biscuit hammer that would destroy the world.) And delving deeper in the mystery of the relation between Fuuta and the girl who wants to kill him, Kouko, is really compelling and interesting.
Characters : 8/10
The character design is pretty redundant, as most of the characters with which Fuuta and Joujo interacts, even in their other lives, have the face of everyone they know (implying they are not the only one reincarnating). But each of these characters have a different personnality, a different goal. In each of his past lives, Fuuta often doesn't act like he does in the present, and he did some pretty horrible things in some lives, even. Watching his present self come to terms with that is really interesting.
Kouko is also a great character, even if her past lives are mostly seen through Fuuta's eyes. She is as well fleshed out as Fuuta in that regard, and her motivations for trying to slay Fuuta are also understandable.
Sadly, the rest of the supporting cast, like Fuuta's friends, aren't very interesting in the present. The only exceptions are for East and Rune, spirits that accompany Kouko and Fuuta in the present, but sadly they play quite a lacking role before the end of the manga. It would have been nice to see a bit more character interaction.
Overall : 8/10
Spirit Circle is a compelling manga that will make you think about afterlife, reincarnation, and responsability. Can you be held accountable for a really horrible thing you did in a past life ? By asking that question, the author takes us on a journey through time to try and discover the worth of a human soul, and ultimately, the worth of who we are, today.read more
I can't even explain how much I love this manga. I love every single of the lives that you see and experience, and the relationships between all the characters, and how it changes overtime, and everything. The concept is also incredibly cool and I can't wait for the rest to be translated. Hopefully it will get translated.
Although there are some parts that I find the art style to not be fitting, that can't even compare to the rest. I love how the face structures are actually diverse, and the simplicity of the art style overall. It seems cute at first, but the violence in the manga makes the art better.
Although I love the development with all the characters in the 'lives', I just find a lot of places where I can't understand what the characters are doing. I'm not sure if that was the intention, but I find it kind of frustrating not being able to sympathise with some characters.
Sometimes there are parts where I find aren't necessary, but the light hearted comedy balances well with the darkness of the plot. The romance was adorable too, the blushing faces especially. I always have fun when I read the manga, so I really hope it get translated and not dropped.
This was one manga that I loved. Although I'm searching for trashy shoujo romance most of the time, I love when I strike gold with manga like this. read more
I rly like this manga because it got more depth than certain other mangas but also because I get the feeling it ended before it got ridiculous and the meaning of the story was lost which I rly respect. What I mean by ridiculous is that some stories goes into the whole overpowered mc line when the mc have gone through a certain level of trial and this is mostly because progress is important but I think thats wrong when that overroll the message of the story. Why I think it got depth is because how it explores each character thoroughly but also introduced new characters at a steady pace (perhaps a bit slowly but better than normal(nothing)). The soul theories was also interesting and there was alot of this which left me pondering but if I had to say something: I wonder if the seven types of souls had something to do with the seven sins? I could say it would be partly true but that doesnt make me feel exactly right and thats how I feel about alot of the plot devices. Certainly a ending is supposed to close all those plot devices but what the story instead decides to do is open up to more questions but at the end you feel that the most important ones you have gotten the answer indirectly and the rest just feels insignificant. Now if you have readed until now you may wonder what the message was but that is for you too decide, bye!read more