Publisher: Yen Press
American release date: October 17, 2007
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Horror/Fantasy Manga/208 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Michiru Kita is the kind of girl who never speaks up for herself, and does what others tell her to do without question. As evidenced by the way the group of girls she eats lunch with every day make her buy all their food, and she has to go and get it herself! She’s on the way back one day when she accidentally runs into two male students, knocking off her glasses. To her alarm, she sees black rings around their necks. Apologizing, she hurries to the cafeteria to deliver the lunch order. There she discovers that the two boys she ran into are known as Boy A and Boy B, because they were the sole survivors of a horrible accident. Kita finds the rings disturbing because in her experience, people who have them tend to die. Worse than that, though, did she really see what she thought she saw? She awakens in the school infirmary, having fainted. She really wishes the Sister had wakened her instead of allowing her to sleep.
It’s dark and it’s late as she hurries across the empty school grounds, headed home lest her aunt worry about her. But she is stopped by Boy B, real name Chika, who demands she pay him 500 yen for what happened earlier. Seriously? They are joined by Boy A, Shito, who proposes they kill her, presumably for what she witnessed. What to do, what to do? She tells them she just wanted to warn them about danger, about the rings on their necks, and then she manages to sprint to safety.
The next day Shito and Chika face Kita’s bullies and tell them that Kita is their go-fer now, not theirs. Things are going from bad to worse, so she stays home after that but they find her anyway, and even charm her aunt into giving them tea. They claim they are debt collectors. Kita tries to pay them the 500 yen they demanded but they tell her the debt is now 50 million yen. Wth? They then spirit Kita away to a shady looking business that gives loans. They were very surprised at her ability to see their rings, and they have a definite use for such an ability. See, they work for a special branch of the loan company – the zombie-loan arm – and they owe a huge debt themselves. With her help, they can more easily make the money they need to pay off their debt. Why aren’t they dead, though, when their rings are so dark? In Kita’s experience, the darker the ring, the more imminent death. Oh well, that’s easily explained. They are dead… kinda sorta. They introduce her to the Ferryman, who is an odd sort. And thus a strange business relationship begins.
There is something about Shito and Chika that reminds me of the Boondock Saints, maybe it’s the crosses they wear, not sure. Or maybe it’s just the way they work in tandem. This was a very interesting volume and a great introduction to the series. I anticipate great hijinks ahead and interesting adventures. The Ferryman isn’t what you might expect, being rather quirky and nerdy, kind of like Undertaker in Black Butler but not quite as flamboyant. I suspect there will be character development in this series as it’s already begun. I look forward to seeing Kita grow as a person, and Shito and Chika too. There is already evidence that they are not as heartless as they would have people believe.
Good first volume, looking forward to more.