Yesterday I mentioned two types of kitsch. So bad it’s good and so good it’s bad. But there is actually a third category of good crap. It’s “We really don’t care what you think or if you like it or not.” In many ways, this is the most excellent form of good crap, because it creates an instant us/them cult effect. Either you like The Cramps, or you don’t. You like Murakami, or you don’t. But frankly, they don’t really care which side of that fence you fall on. And in the case of manga, Tamaki Nozomu *clearly* doesn’t much care what you think of his story.
As it happens, I love Hakodate Youjin Buraijou Himegami (箱館妖人無頼帖ヒメガミ) Volume 4 with all my love. (Not that Tamaki cares.)
In Volume 4, the arc which involved a large-busted cross-dressing (ftm) French politician/whorehouse madam, the cases of missing men who turn out to be turning into youjin, the cross-dressing police captain (ftm), the colobockle, 4 magical animal-powered, fishnet-stocking-wearing ninja women and our heroine, the cursed, yet powerful young girl Hyou all comes to a climax of awesome proportions.
As Hyou is forced to endure the pain of the unending growth of marks on her body that represent the creation of youjin, Himeka realizes that the source of the youjin is the madame of the Black Widow saloon. She puts the mark of the spider on the women who work for her and any men they sleep with turn into youjin by her spell.
Himeka and the police captain – now revealed as a woman – take on the youjin and try to save as many of the women as possible. They are joined by the samurai who turned out to be allies in the last volume – friends of Hyou’s father.
More importantly – the pain and madness that Hyou is undergoing turns her into a ravening monster who kills indiscriminately. Himeka, joined by her sisters, manages to make Hyou remember her past, and recognize that the fairy spirit who protected her after her father’s death was, in fact, Himeka after all. Hyou returns to herself, and joins the Himegami on a full-out assault against the now kaijuu-sized sorceress.
Of course, they win. And no one we cared about was hurt. The police captain, her henchcops, the ronin, the guy with the cat mask who showed up suddenly but everyone knows him, the prostitutes – and especially not Melanie, Hyou’s friend from the cabaret.
The book – and, I thought, the series – draws to a close with Himeka carrying Hyou off in her arms, promising to keep protecting and loving her, while Hyou commands Himeka to not touch her anywhere weird.
Yuri is basically Himeka and Hyou’s tender, but one-sided relationship. Hyou wanted to be like Himegami, while all Himegami every wanted was to protect Hyou and love her as Himeka. It’s probably a cycle that won’t change, but it’s good enough for me.
The four-koma comics at the end have a great little schtick about the cops not being able to look their captain in the eye anymore. She thinks it’s because she’s a woman, but it’s actually ’cause they all think she’s so cute. ^_^
And I turned the last page, thinkkng, “well, that was pretty fun” only to find that there’s a Volume 5 planned! Really? Why?!
So, despite the fact that Tamaki doesn’t care about what I think, I am absolutely looking forward to more huge breasts, and mostly naked women with hefty haunches and more women crossdressing and more random magic and slaying random monsters. Woot!
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 3
Service – 8
Overall – 8
Seriously, if you were drawing this manga, you wouldn’t care what other people thought, either. ^_^