Touhou Suzunaan: Forbidden Scrollery. is a Touhou official comic published by Kadokawa. It introduces the human book renter and collector Kosuzu Motoori as the main character, with the story centered around her mysterious ability to decipher any book no matter the language or script, and her assortment of various rare and dangerous demon books.
Marisa Kirisame runs into Hieda no Akyuu on her way through the Human Village, and notices that she's carrying a strange book—a youma book, said to be indecipherable. Afterwards she makes her way to the Hakurei Shrine to ask Reimu Hakurei about them, but she doesn't know much on the subject. Marisa explains their dark and mysterious nature, and the two decide to take a visit to Suzunaan to talk to Kosuzu Motoori about it. She reveals her collection of demon books, as well as her recently-awakened powers that allow her to decipher any sort of script. Reimu worries that it might be dangerous, but Kosuzu is not very concerned.
ZUN is a genius, as a man who have a family, lots of life experience and alcohol, ZUN's work drips with messages and his life views, and as a result tend to run deeper than most manga and anime, one chapter of Forbidden Scrollery is worth a deep analysis about both the lore and messages, and is more fulfilling than 10 or more chapters of any other manga.
Story - 8
Suzunaan's story revolves around the book store called Suzunaan ran by the family of Motoori Kosuzu, and ties into the ongoing world of Touhou lore. Featuring stories ranging from the dangerous youkai books kept within Suzunaan to ongoing incidents such as the aftermath of Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. From the way the story is told, it should be categorized as a Slice of Life, but Suzunaan accomplished what all of those sad excuses of a story could not do, it is immersive.
Well...technically that is the common appeal of the entire Touhou franchise, but in terms of manga, Suzunaan manages to convey the culture and world in it as a very believable world, even while it is very alien.
Character - 9
It is said that it is what the author don't say that shows the skill of an author best, and ZUN certainly taken that to heart. For example, without showing Yukari at all, ZUN was still able to paint her as a master schemer, like in the year-end Doomsday urban legend event, after LoLK, we know that Yukari took the lunar power stone, yet we don't know why, and after reading chapter 35, it all comes into place like a jigsaw puzzle, and makes you go "Oh, so that's why she did that", and taking in the events of the doomsday rumour, you realize that everyone was just dancing on her palm, and this was done with NO exposition or SHOWING Yukari at all. Masterful, I actually had to use my brain for once and actually piece together the story from the clues scattered all around.
Overall - 8
It is like a multi-layered sweets, the first layer is really easy to dig into, but once you dig harder and connect it to other lores you realize there is another layer underneath it all, and when you dig even deeper you find even more layers, and in your excitement to keep digging deeper into the lore, you became a Touhou fanboy, Congrats.read more
Forbidden Scrollery is a lot more different than your typical Touhou manga. Unlike the more whimsical Wild and Horned Hermit, or the lighthearted Three Fairies manga, Forbidden Scrollery tells a more serious, perhaps harrowing tale of life in Gensoukyou, seen through an ordinary human inhabitant rather than a person with considerable power.
This, I feel, is one of the strengths of the manga, and what makes it stand out from the rest of the Touhou manga. World-Building is top-notch as per ZUN's previous works, but the story, now delivered in 2-parters, are excellently told and often contain twists and turns, some unexpected, that make for an enjoyable read.
Characters are also very well written here. Main protagonist Kosuzu in particular, may seem like an innocent character who's a bit naive, has depth in her characterization in which she actually comes across as much more manipulative as she may initially seem. Other supporting characters are given as well, series protagonist Reimu, for instance, is given a much more serious portrayal, who very willingly will go through whatever it takes to upheld the law and decency in Gensoukyou, a far cry from her lazy attitude in Wild and Horned Hermit, but still doesn't feel out of character with her attitude across the franchise.
Overall I recommend Forbidden Scrollery to all fans of good material.read more