Be prepared as this will be a very long entry as I am just going o shove every thing in together in this one entry. Note that I deleted the weekly in the original title because I realized that I obviously had not done it weekly. Originally I was going to do Ayashi no Ceres but then changed my mind as I want to do Fushigi Yugi first, after having watched all the anime and the last OVA recently, but that will be such a long entry so I changed my mind and decided to do a review on Yami no matsuei first, as it would be quite short.
Title: Yami no matsuei (commonly translated to Descendants of Darkness)
Author: Yoko Matsushita
My sister downloaded the manga as she got the anime from her friend, originally I wasn’t that interested in it was Koyasu Takehito was not in the anime, but one day I got really bored and I happened to see the manga in our family computer so I decided to give it a flip and upon doing it I thought the story was quite good so I started to read the rest and then since the anime was already there I started to watch it.
Basic story (spoiler free- I think)
The story is about a bunch of Shinigami who are gods of death and they are like officials in the underworld and the story involves them trying to solve numerous mysteries that range from murder to simple incidents in daily life. Most of the cases are quite serious but there are also many light hearted bits that are rather funny, usually the daily incidents. One of the most interesting things is the slow discovering of the character’s past- which we find are all tragic. This is not a fully happy story although it is funny. This is really as much as I can type without giving away spoilers.
Manga: there are eleven volumes to the manga and as I mentioned above they involves the Shinigami trying to solve cases. The main character is Tsuzuki, and most times the story centres around him with his partner Hisoka, although it is important to note that in the very first story Tsuzuki was only intended to be a very minor character. The manga is not finished as the author stopped because she broke up with her boyfriend or something like that. Understandable that she would feel upset but it is still so irresponsible!
Anime: there are thirteen episodes and they basically are just some selected cases of the story, the main ones. The thing about Yami no Matsuei is that it doesn’t seem to have an overall story arc, I mean, an over call connection. I am not that good with summaries, especially if it have to be a spoiler free way.
Recomandation: I guess I’ll just say that I’ll recommend it if you want to read something that would make you laugh, and the anime does get very gripping in the very last episodes. So it is good. But a word of warning, it is not going to be a happy happy story all the way, as it does get very sad at parts. And of course, the story is still unfinished although the anime is finished (but what kind of ending is that? I am so angry with the anime’s ending). The author did announce in 2006, that after three years of halting the manga, she will continue to draw it.
I now move onto the character section, which hopefully should be more interesting, but they will contain spoilers.
Characters (Contains spoiler)
Tsuzuki Asato (都筑 麻斗)- voiced by Miki Shinichiro (please look at the review for Sukisyo to see what he is in. When I first saw Mike Shinichiro live he was dressed in a very trendy way so I thought that he was someone who dressed himself quite well, but then I found that this is not true, in fact it is the opposite. His fashion sense is absolutely scary. In one concert he came out in a bright red leather or PVC outfit, and there were prints on the coat…absolutely scary. Then in another concert he was wearing what seemed like a bright blue nylon outfit. Shudder shudder)
Tsuzuki is the main character of the story, although initially he was only the side kick of the main character, but then the author decided to make him as the main character. Most of the story involves him investigating in various cases, as well as numerous extra adventures that happened to him.
Initially he seemed a very comical character, very cheerful and rather easy going. But this revealed to be fake as the story hints that he had done many wrong things, which seemed to be mass murder. It is not fully certain whether he did it on purpose or not, but it is clear that he is deeply tormented. There are even believes that he had killed his sister at eighteen, which might have been the cause of his break down. He was taken to the hospital which was run by Muraki’s grandfather and for the next eight years he would repeatedly try to kill himself. Later on, it seemed the Tsuzuki might not be fully human, as Muraki (see below) points out the unusualness of his purple eyes, as well as showing that during the last eight years of his life, Tsuzuki had not aged, and not only that, his body would heal even though he was repetitively trying to kill himself.
A more comical aspect to Tsuzuki’s character is that he is very fond of eating, and he always spends most of his wages in buying numerous foods. However, despite this he is a very horrible cook, as everyone say that his food is completely uneatable, even if it was something like instant curry.
Despite being questioned by the rest of his workers about his skills as he had remained in the same post for about seventy years or so, Tsuzuki is rather powerful as he can summon twelve Shikigami (I guess they are kind of like familiars) when most people can only summon two or three the most, on top of that his twelve shikigami are also the most powerful ones (apart from a random pot like thing. In the last two book of the manga he and Hisoka actually travelled to the world of the shikigami and we get to meet all his shikigami and most are very powerful- with the exception of the random pot like thing)
Kurosaki Hisoka (黒崎 密)- voiced by Asano Mayumi (also in Ayashi no ceres as Suzumi Aogiri, and as Arachne in Angel Sanctuary and Tomoko Yamada in Angelic Layer)
Hisoka is Tsuzuki’s current partners (the shinigami usually work in pairs) he died when he was only sixteen years old due to sickness and he want to become a shinigami to work out the cause of his death, which he believe to be a curse. He have powers that let him feel the emotion of others, read their thoughts as well as even seeing their memories (I guess you can say that this is true empathy and he actually make one realize how empathy can be a real curse- his parents would shut up in a cellar sometimes due to their fear of his powers.
Later on Hisoka discovers that he was cursed by Muraki (evil bastard) because he witnessed Muraki killing someone. The curse was not an instant death, but a slow and painful one (sadistic bastard)
In the last story in the anime Hisoka saves Tsuzuki from killing himself, as Tsuzuki wanted to die due to the depression that Muraki caused, as well as believing that he would bring others more trouble by living. I don’t like Hisoka that much but what he said to Tsuzuki is really good “If you don’t have anyone to live for, then live for me.” Even though he seems rather cold in the very beginning, Hisoka actually come to care very much for those around him, especially Tsuzuki. There is a suggestion that Hisoka would be Tsuzuki’s last partner because he is the only one who can truly help Tsuzuki as he is turning away from Tsuzuki’s pains.
Hisoka is also a very serious character, and this cause many comical bit in the story.
Muraki Kazutaka (邑輝 一貴) – voiced by Hayami Shō (who is Ashura-oh in RG Veda and Koji Nanjo in Zetsuai. I first saw this random clip my sister downloaded that shows some of the seiyuu in the anime talking about their characters and when he come out there was this really spooky music and it was just such a ‘evil villain coming up setting!’)
Muraki is the main villain of the story, although he is note the overall evil bastard of the story, as some of the other stories involved demons and others. To be brutally honest I think Muraki is a bastard as well as a pervert. Well, granted that he is almost angelical if you compare him with Tsuyuki Satoshi in Muteki na Bokura but regardless of other’s actions and whether you really mean what you say, you are a pervert as long as you behave like one. As you can tell I really don’t like Muraki.
Initially Muraki seemed to be a good character as Tsuzuki first met him in a church, and Muraki seemed to be mourning at his inability of saving one as he is a doctor (hypocrite). Muraki is actually a serial killer and despite some people’s claim, I don’t think it’s like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde thing. I think he is a bastard full stop who is always fully aware of what he is doing. In the end he began to kill in order to draw the attention of Tsuzuki, this is because he want to gain Tsuzuki’s body in order to resurrect his dead half brother in order to kill his half brother himself over and over again. (Granted that his half bastard is a bastard too but I mean, is this normal?) I turned out that Tsuzuki used to be his grandfather’s patient and that is why he knew about Tsuzuki’s strange body.
He is a human but strangely enough, he possesses many powers that are not normal. In the end he kidnapped Tsuzuki by literally going to the underworld and he was about to begin everything when Tsuzuki woke up and stabbed him, then summoned one of his shikigami to burn everything down, as well as killing himself. Because shikigami are generally not able to die again, with the exception of that shikigami’s fire. But what really pisses me off is the fact that Hisoka told Tsuzuki that Muraki did not die. I suppose I can come to terms with this in the manga more because the story has not stopped, so it is understandable that he might come out again. but I am really angry that they didn’t kill him in the anime because the anime is finished and it just ends with Hisoka telling Tsuzuki that Muraki is not dead. If they are not going to continue with the anime then why can’t they kill the evil villain! Not fair not fair!
Throughout the story Muraki also flirts with Tsuzuki in various ways (which is why I say that he is a pervert), his often talks to Tsuzuki with very heavy innuendos and lines that are just plain gross at times. Even though it does not seem that he actually is interested in Tsuzuki in any romantic fashion it is still pretty sickening, so that is why I think he is a pervert. Although the manga reveal that he is actually engaged, but not much is actually known about her. In the last manga I think there is a scene where Muraki’s friend (who owns a brothel and help Muraki by covering up many of his crimes) is talking with his fiancée.
The above three characters are the main main characters of the story but there are also some minor characters who are quite important, or at the very least, rather distinguished. I guess they are major minor characters? I can’t be bothered to put all the seiyuu in so I’ll just put in the other two quite important minor major characters. Unless I mention otherwise, most of the characters below are shinigami.
Tatsumi Seiichiro (巽 征一郎)- voiced by Morikawa Toshiyuki (he also voiced Naraku in Inuyasha from about episode thirty at the very least, so even though he was not the first person who voiced Naraku he is the one who did most of the voicing. He is also in X the anime as series as Aoki Seiichiro and in Saiyuki as Homura. One of the most distinguished bit about the seiyuu is that his hair is this bright yellow/orange colour. In every photo I have seen of him his hair is that colour.)
Initially Tatsumi is just the random secretary in the underworld that occasionally popped out in the anime, but the develop of the story he began to become very important. Tatsumi was actually one of Tsuzuki’s partners, but he quite as Tsuzuki reminded him too much of his mother- who kept on grieving even though he was trying to help her, the same thing happened with him and Tsuzuki. In one of the stories where Tsuzuki ended up in an alternate world it is revealed that what Tatsumi really want it for Tsuzuki to be happy and he is willing to sacrifice a lot for Tsuzuki. Initially Tatsumi was not willing to save Tsuzuki from his Shikigami’s flame as he thought that he no longer has a right in interfering with Tsuzuki’s life as that might prevent him from being happy.
I didn’t like Tatsumi in the beginning, as I said, he was just the random secretary, but when I discovered that what he really wants is for Tsuzuki to be happy, I like him so much better, and now I think he is my favourite character. Even though the author herself said there is no definite pairing in the story I like to believe that Tsuzuki and Tatsumi might end up together!
Tatsumi’s main characteristic is that he is always obsessive with their budget, as his department always owns bills due to Tsuzuki’s actions which often end in great destruction. According to one source Tatsumi used to be an accountant before he died, and that makes sense as anyone one else in his position would probably long have to quit. Tatsumi really managed to make their budget as best as it could.
On the appearance Tatsumi seemed a stereotypical appearance of a male secretary. The suit and the hair along with his glasses which he always play with (gosh, the idea of secretary wearing glasses even continues onto death). He seems a very calm and composed figure until he get angry, which is a very scary sight as he have a very sharp way of delivering insults as well as a determination of paying all insult back along side with interest. Tatsumi is also able to control shadows and he also seems to have died around the same time as Tsuzuki, which makes them roughly the same age.
Watari Yutaka (亘理 温)- voiced by Seki Toshihiko (he also voiced Sanzo in Saiyuki, Mousse in Ranma 1/2)
At a glance it seems that Watari is the true optimistic character in the story, as he does not seem to be burdened with a tragic past, although most believe that this will be proof to be untrue. Watari is a very close friend of Tsuzuki as they are very similar.
Watari is an engineer but he is constantly trying to invent potions, and his greatest dream is actually trying to create a sex changing potion and justify himself by claiming that his reason is to gain a knowledge of women by becoming one himself, in a late bit in the manga he did show a great interest in the pregnancy of one of the woman in his case. While it is not certain whether his scientific invention would even work, his mechanical inventions are very successful, although they are not always practical (his made his first appearance in the anime by showing off his latest invention- a cake cutting machine.) Watari is also accompanied by the mechanic animals that he had created. 001 is a toucan; while 002 is a penguin, and 003, the one that accompany him the most is an owl.
Chief Konoe- Tsuzuki’s superior and he is one of the few characters who know about Tsuzuki’s past life. He is not a very distinguished character and unlike the rest of the minor characters, he has not once made it onto the cover for the manga.
GuShoShin- they are two brother who record down many information as well as working in the library. They are also two chickens…well; they have the appearance of chickens so I presume that they are chickens. I remember when my sister first told me about Yami no matsuei, she was complaining about the two chickens and I was just like ‘yeah yeah whatever’, then I read the story myself and can see why she keep on complaining about the chickens because it is so weird!!!
Mibu Oriya- Muraki’s friend who is also a brothel owner. While is not certain whether he is a good guy or a bad guy as he does help Muraki, but at the same time he did not prevent the rest of the shinigami in reaching Muraki at all.
Hakushaku/the count- his is the person in charged of the candles that represent human lives, and he is invisible with only a half mask and glove visible. In the beginning he seemed to be interested in Tsuzuki in a perverted way (he would look at photos of Tsuzuki as well as speaking to Tsuzuki in innuendos). But later on it seemed that he is genuine fond of Tsuzuki. He and Tatsumi would often spend many of the time arguing in regard to Tsuzuki.
My sister thinks that he is actually Tsuzuki’s dad, that the author decided to make him into Tsuzuki’s dad in the later books. Initially I didn’t believe this theory until funnily enough I watched fushigi yugi. Because what Hotohori said to his son is exactly the same as how the count described Tsuzuki. “He is the most important thing that I left on earth”, and there is also a bit when the count reflects on how Tsuzuki had grew to be so much like him. While I admit that what he said does suggest some fatherly authority but I still question this as his behaviour to Tsuzuki is simply too…perverted? How can a father ever behave like that even if he was trying got disguise his role. There is a hint though, that the count is aware of Tsuzuki’s past.
Short review on Muteki na Bokura, which translate to We are invincible
I don’t have anything against homosexuality but I still prefer to read about heterosexuality more, although I have been listening to one or two drama cds of BL because Koyasu Takehito has done them, and I like hearing his voices. However the drama cd that I will be talking about does not involve him. So the question is why I listen to it? This is because my sister and I keep on hearing people talking about how Narita Ken (who voices Sesshoumaru in Inuyasha) is in this drama cd with Yamaguchi Kappei (Inuyasha in Inuyasha) and everyone was saying how perverted his character is, and we kept on wondering why. Then we listened to the drama cd and the conclusion: “His character is a pervert alright.”
For those who only know Yamaguchi mainly from Inuyasha, don’t be surprised but he is actually in a lot of BL cds! This is like the little extra non-related story that usually happens in the end of some mangas. A little additional review.
Basic story: basically Mizusawa Wataru (Yamaguchi) was half forced to be the lover of Tsuyuki Satoshi as a compensation for injuring Tsuyuki with his bicycle in school. It would almost be rape if it wasn’t for the fact that Mizusawa does love Tsuyuki, and vice versa. The truth is that Tsuyuki actually walked in front of Mizusawa’s bike to be injured to carry out his evil plan.
Personally I think Tsuyuki is a pervert as well as a sex addict while Mizusawa seems the opposite with a dislike of sex. The basic story is the development of the relationship between Tsuyuki and Mizusawa, with occasional parts about Tsuyuki’s cousin Ogata Kazuhiko (voiced by Hiyama Nobuyuki) It’s kind of hard to describe why exactly Tsuyuki is a pervert but trust me he is, and when I listened to the drama cd I had to use ear phones and at parts I was definitely blushing.
Consequences: First of all not only do I understand why every one say Narita is so good at voicing perverted roles I also understand why there are so many Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha pairings due to this drama cd. (it was released at the same time) But just do defend myself, I do regard the Inuyasha pairing as very ewwwwwww!
Secondly I decided that if I ever have a son I would not send him to a all boy’s school. (everything tend to happen in a all boys school instead of a co-ed school)
Lastly, I had to avoid thinking of Fushigi Yugi and Genbu Kaiden in anyway during the fortnight after I heard it because Hiyama is also the one who voiced Hikitsu and after listening to that drama cd I just can’t stop associating these two roles together. This is really bad as Ogata is kind of perverted too while Hikitsu is completely different, he is so noble… This problem occurred as Hikitsu is the only role I have hear Hiyama voicing, and then I hear him in this drama cd…
Ah…what a long entry…please leave a comment as it did take me ages to type up!