Oninagi Volume 1

Nanami Kushimiya is fifteen years old, she’s looking forward to starting high school this spring time, and has found out that her junior high love Kazuto Sanjouin is also going to the same school for the next three years. Sounds like your typical romantic comedy opener, doesn’t it? Well…until someone wielding a sword suddenly appears, judges her to be a demon, and starts pursuing her all round the town.

The swordswomen chasing Nanami is Tomotaka Onigoroshi, a demon slayer dispatched to find out how five people disappeared. When she catches up with Nanami near a park, Tomotaka discovers that the demon is instead a cherry blossom tree. However, while in battle and struggling to defeat the demon, Nanami changes into a different personality and kills the monster in seconds. After this, Nanami’s school life will never be the same again.

To be honest, even though I found quite a lot of genres in this manga, my prime guess is that it’s a supernatural/action title, yet it also dives into comedy and horror. I think the creator Akira Ishida (not to be confused with the voice actor) mixes all this into Oninagi but at the end, it didn’t make me chuckle or feel scared.

The first volume has a good balance between action and story-telling; everything is explained about important events so the reader doesn’t get confused – although in parts it does drag on. The fights in Oninagi are effective yet most of the time they ended too quickly for me to get into them. There are also small elements of fan-service added that might interest some hardcore manga fans.

The art has attractive character designs; Nanami seems to be the only one who has a “Moe” look which might put off some people. I sometimes got annoyed at the lack of backgrounds; if you add to that the US edition’s infrequent translation of sound effects, it could come across as something of a disappointing and lazy effort.

However, there are some translator’s notes at the end of manga explaining various Japanese references and more information on new characters, weapons and other items that are in this volume, which is a helpful extra.

In Summary

I didn’t hate this, I just felt that it was unsatisfying for such an interesting project from Ishida; if you’re interested in the supernatural genre and pick this up, you might be disappointed. However this is just the first volume and since everything is set up for the next issue, I hope that the next one will be an improvement.

5 / 10