Ayashimon, Vol. 1

Viz. (Ayashimon). Mar. 2023. 192p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781974736676.
Gr 9 Up–With the death of the head of the Enma Syndicate, the criminal underworld of Shinjuku is thrown into chaos and mad grabs for as much power as possible. But this isn’t a society of human criminals as one would suspect—rather, these yakuza gangs are filled with unfeeling ayashimon, or demonlike creatures, who one-up each other in constant and ritualistic physical altercations. One such ayashimon vying for power is Urara, a bastard child of the dearly departed, who is set on upturning as much of the society as possible in a quest for revenge. She fatefully meets Maruo, a human with incredible strength who is constantly searching for a challenging opponent. Kaku blends the present-day, real-life Yakuza hotbed of Shinjuku in Tokyo with a supernatural storyline, but this may only be apparent to readers who have familiarity with this portion of Japanese society. Kaku’s fondness for violence and action, as well as his less-defined art style, which made “Hell’s Paradise” so popular, are also present in Ayashimon. Readers who enjoy “One-Punch Man” or other stories about Japan’s organized crime might gravitate towards this title, but now that it’s been abruptly canceled after 25 chapters, any readers hooked after the first 7 chapters in this volume will almost definitely be disappointed in the end.
VERDICT Additional purchase only.

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