Manga Quick Information
Misao is an unlucky girl; ever since she was young she’s been able to see things that others can’t. Ghosts and demons haunt her everyday life, causing her misery. To make things worse, on her sixteenth birthday, she gets attacked by a demon possessing a human. Just as she thinks it’s all over for her, the handsome Kyo (her childhood friend who's recently moved back into town) saves her life...but it turns out that he’s a demon too! It doesn’t end there though as Misao discovers that she is the one human born every few hundred years that the demons hunt. If demons drink her blood, they gain a long life; if they eat her, they gain eternal youth; or if they make her their bride then their whole clan will thrive, which is what Kyo intends to do!
Take a look at the cover; you’ll notice that Misao looks as if she’s in great pain to the point of tears as Kyo, wearing an evil grin, restrains her in a hostile position whilst being covered in blood, most likely hers. That pretty much sums up Black Bird; this cover represents most of the scenes and emotions flowing in this volume. The book follows the pattern of Misao being ambushed by a demon, getting injured (usually badly), Kyo coming to the rescue and proceeding to licking her wounds in provocative areas against her will. In between these scenes, we get plenty of panels showing Misao being utterly miserable, Kyo manipulating her to become his bride, and groping her at any given opportunity.
The plot has many dark roots, and if the story was written as a gothic, serious drama rather than mostly as a romance title, then I’d probably have been kinder to it, but the romance in this book doesn’t make me feel loved-up or weak at the knees; I feel dirty as I read it, as if I’m watching a rape scene. It’s hard to cheer on the supposed ‘love’ between Misao and Kyo because in several ways it’s quite offensive. Let’s forget the fact that Kyo likes to grab Misao's boobs and ask for sex at regular intervals (‘cos let’s be fair, who doesn’t know a bloke that likes to be a little forward at times? Or a manga with at least one perverted character?) but the fact that Kyo plays with young Misao’s heart by coming to her aid, only for it to be purely for his own intentions of making Misao his bride and increase his own demonic powers, just completely null and voids any romantic advances between them. Kyo also blackmails Misao on regular occasions to get his own way; he pins her in various positions to suck her blood (knowing full well how uncomfortable she is with it) while spouting dialogue along the lines of “I’ll teach your body to not live without me” and “I want to teach you a lesson”. It’s not romantic, it’s sinister. Readers who find Kyo’s actions romantic will most likely also argue that Edward Cullen breaking into Bella Swan’s room to watch her sleep without her permission is romantic too, when in the REAL world it’s creepy!
On the receiving end of Kyo’s affection is Misao, who despite being one of the most tormented heroines I’ve seen in a while, is also unlikeable in her own way. The poor girl just can’t catch a break; she gets thrown off buildings, bullied by demons, dragged into conflicts she rather avoid,has glass shards thrown at her, and so on. On the other hand, though, the lass makes no attempt to defend herself against the demons that attack her, or to fight against Kyo when he holds her down. As soon as trouble comes, she immediately calls for Kyo, even if, panels before, she’s crying over how miserable he makes her feel. Misao is a weak character to project the reader onto as half the time you just want to shake her to her senses, and it doesn’t help that on pretty much every page she’s either in tears or bearing a frown.
Putting the uncomfortable aspect of the relationship aside though, there is some trashy fun to be had here if you can switch your brain/morality off for a few minutes. The action progresses nicely, with every chapter contributing to the plot, which itself is unique in its own right.
The art however is beyond bad and downright lazy for the most part. Characters look ugly, lack depth and detail, while the demons that haunt Misaso look more like doodles of sperm than ghouls to scare our heroine. Backgrounds are generic, there are no smooth transactions from one action to another - everything just looks half-arsed.
Fans of the Twilight Saga and younger readers will probably get more enjoyment out of the book as they’re unlikely to see the main character’s romance as borderline rape. Older readers or those who always wear their thinking cap should stay clear.
|Score:||3 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Tue, 24 Aug 2010|