Otaku Monthly Reads is a new feature that will be added to Two Happy Cats. At least, I hope, we’ll see how long I can keep it going! Just to give a quick overview of it, each month I’ll be selecting about three manga/ manhwa/ webtoons I’ve read that really stood out to me, whether they be for the right reasons or the wrong ones. Each manga will get a quick synopsis and review, but nothing too detailed as I want this to be a ‘bite sized’ monthly feature. Since it’s October, the manga I will be focusing will all be horror but in most other months it’ll be a mixture of genres.
I hope you enjoy this new feature!
Pumpkin Night (Ongoing)
Story: Hakazono Masaya Art: Taniguchi Seima
A young girl is home alone and receives a threatening message from someone unknown to her. A stranger appears at her doorstep, attacks her, she runs but can’t call for help. Sound familiar? Like most horror films, ‘Pumpkin Night’ begins with a pretty familiar set up and runs with the cliche. As, following on from the girl’s death, we’re introduced to a group of friends who seem to know the attacker and the secret behind the ferocity of it. ‘Pumpkin Night’ won’t win any awards for ingenuity but somehow seeing the same old story reimagined once more just works with the manga’s intense art style.
In fact, it was this art style that first drew me to ‘Pumpkin Night’. I first stumbled upon the series when a mutual was sharing screen caps of it on Twitter. I was immediately gripped by the harsh and detailed art style, and couldn’t tear my eyes away from the blood and gore. I knew I immediately had to check it out. The series never tries to be more than it is, there’s no ridiculous philosophical monologues or epic life and death discussions. It’s a classic horror tale with cheap gore, but gosh does it work well.
Kuroi Hon / Kuro Ihon (Complete)
Story: Hokazono Masaya Art: Takaminato Motosuke
Is – is that two works by Hokazono on your top three list? Yep, it is! And to be honest I didn’t even notice until I’d finished writing it. Over the last few years Hokazono has worked on a collection of short horror stories, divided into three manga volumes ‘Kuroi’ (Black), ‘Akai’ (Red) and ‘Shiroi’ (White). Each chapter is introduced by way of a group of people who have gathered to tell ghost stories. They usually begin with saying “this happened to a friend of mine” or “this was told to me by my co-worker”. Each story is very different to one another, but most are pretty creepy!
Since the stories are so short there’s not much development in them, and I feel Hokazono’s work really flourishes when he can expand on characters and settings. But what I did enjoy about the series was the art. Takaminato has an almost deceptively simple art style, reminding me of the early 1990s manga series like Sailor Moon or Ranma 1/2. But then a ghost or demon will appear and the details in their deformed face and its contrast to the characters around them is quite disturbing. There’s a few images in particular that pop up in my head when I’m trying to go to sleep at night.
And The Disappointing
Art & Story: Honda Shingo
A small group of adults have returned to their country-side high school, for a mini-reunion after receiving a mysterious letter from ‘K’. The letter references the death anniversary of their classmate, Okumura Kiroko, a death all of them have been running from for the last 17 years. Nonetheless, the six of them gather to celebrate their lives and the memory of their school idol.
The series had an interesting story, great art, a fantastic twist and lots of potential right up until the last few pages But it was all ruined in about 10 pages as the story tangled itself up into a bunch of nonsense. I won’t spoil the ending as this is just a review, but gosh was it disappointing!
Unfortunately as I’m currently on hiatus, I wasn’t able to share all the fantastic horror manga, webtoons and anime I read this month. But I’m really glad I had this post planned to at least get into the spooky spirit. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and maybe even checked out one of the series I mentioned.
Let me know in the comments what your favourite/ most impressionable reads of the month were!