(W) Midori Yuma (I) Waco Ioka (CD) Laruha
If you had to work off a giant debt in an alternate dimension, would you rather: get married, deal with your enemies or all of the above? Ladies and gentlemen, I present the latest shoujo: Kakuriyo- Bed and Breakfast for Spirits.
The story shows our hero Aoi Tsubaki, an ordinary college girl who has the ability to see spirits. With her fervent stubbornness, she tries to ignore them as much as possible. One day, she ends up being helpful to an ogre spirit named Kijin and ends up being pulled into Kakuriyo, the spirit world. It turns out her grandfather trashed a bed and breakfast and ended up leaving behind a debt. He made a promise to the leader of the bed and breakfast that he would give his granddaughter for marriage in lieu of the debt. It’s now about Aoi Tsubaki to decide how she deals with this fiancée to be.
The bed and breakfast setting is kind of cute as our protagonists have no choice but are squished together in the same building for long periods of time. No perverts, I don’t mean they would have any sexual tension. Get your heads out of the gutter. I truly believe that Aoi Tsubaki and her “fiancée” would be better as friends. His cool, but driven, personality would learn to work aside Tsubaki’s earnest personality. Most people would believe that the couple would have sexual tension with one another. In this case, I truly believe the two would learn from one another. Even though Aoi Tsubaki is earnest, she knows how to think for herself and lead her own life. She isn’t a “tough and high-strung” girl, she’s just an ordinary person who wants to get through life. The characters may follow their usual tropes, but one can only hope that the creators bring a new twist to this story.
While I am a fan of tropes at times, I can’t help but worry the plot will drown itself in these tropes. Without spoiling too much, Aoi Tsubaki ends up being unpopular and has to start from the bottom up. She ends up getting hated by anyone and has to work through several trials. I believe that alone covers the basics of several tropes. Add in a cute, supportive shape-shifting nine-tailed fox named Ginji, you get a recipe for a passive-aggressive love triangle. I am a sucker for this guy as he can shape-shift into any character. He has a kind and warm heart. While he won’t give his heart out for free, he will do anything once someone gives kindness to him. It’s refreshing to see someone give kindness in equal parts. All I can hope is that Aoi Tsubaki and Ginji will have an equal relationship with one another.
The world of Kakuriyo is very interesting as there are different cultural aspects I’ve never considered. While Kijin is the master of his bed and breakfast, he also has more social ties than what’s revealed on the surface. It also doesn’t help that this world has strange double standards. For example, human brides are considered very desirable yet spirits want to eat humans. Also, only some people can see spirits while others cannot. Also, all spirits wear masks at all times, yet it is unknown when they are removed. As a self-proclaimed idiot, I frown upon the confusing rules that any society brings about. It’s the creators’ jobs to try to create some logic in a universe. There’s no doubt that universe isn’t completely out of bounds, but blindly putting reasons into a story is a terrible way to move it forward.
Finally, the artwork is stunning as usual with its intense focus on characters and their expressions. The creators have concentrated on accentuating the characters features by focusing on the backgrounds as well. It’s quite clear the creators understand their strengths and flaws and they’ve done a great job in highlighting what they do best.
Overall, this manga has a decent start. The characters might be plain, but the creators have the ability to shape them into decent people. The tropes help remind readers of the soft edges they want to bring and the world that was created is a wildcard I can’t seem to figure out. But the art is pleasing to look at and helps people fantasize on how they can interact with the characters themselves. I would recommend this for the reader who wants to get caught on the edge of comfortable yukatas and hungry demons. For more information about the manga, please click here.