Manga-ka: Kaori Yuki
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: May 2008
Synopsis: “Ian and Rin used to just see spirits. Now Ian is one. Using the Fairy Cube, Ian must figure out how to stop the lizard-spirit Tokage from taking over his life and destroying any chance he has resurrection. Ian is transported to another world by the fairy Ainsel, who promises to help him stop Tokage upon their return to the human plane.”
Ian was a young boy who could see fairies. Everyone called him crazy, Ian-the-liar, until one day a girl named Rin gave him the benefit of the doubt. For the first time he had someone to share the world he saw with, that was until they were ripped apart. He wouldn’t see Rin for years, thanks to the manipulative hand of Tokage, a lizard-spirit who seeks to isolate Ian for his own purposes.
For one volume there’s a lot to take in here. Sometimes the who’s who can be a little overwhelming but mostly there’s just quite a bit that happens. At only about one-sixth of the way through, the spirit Tokage has already gotten what he wants, leaving the rest of this densely packed book with Ian’s struggle to regain what he’s lost. At the pace things were going (though worth noting, I really liked the overall pacing of this book), I felt like the end was near by the time I was through. With as much happened as it did, what more could there be?! Lots more it would seem and that’s certainly not a bad thing, though it is going to take me another reread or two to fully understand it all (what is up with these Fairy Cube things exactly?).
Characters go through a lot of changes in this first book, such as the lead character Ian going from falsely ignorant to scorned and vengeful, and I definitely want to see them develop further as things progress. Also, several Kaori Yuki’s plot staples return here (she just loves that creepy abusive parent angle), but despite being a little overused, they’re no less effective.
However there were some moments in Fairy Cube that I felt didn’t fit as nicely in the whole scheme of things as well as others. For a while in this first volume, Ian is accidentally sent to the Fairy world and must find his way out. This whole arc just felt out of place to me, really changing the mood and pacing of the story. While the end result of a deal made with the fairy Ainsel did allow plot progression, it didn’t seem like the whole Fairy world fiasco was necessary to come to that end. Then again, Ainsel also bugged me a bit and it was her that really gave the book’s mood such a flip-flop effect. I hope she integrates a little more smoothly in future volumes.
While I stick with her books for the interweaving plots, I always start with my love for her artwork. Kaori Yuki’s art is richly detailed with a gothic feel to it. Characters are delicate and attractive, unless otherwise intentionally of course, and the backgrounds are just as well rendered. Her style works really well to set the atmosphere of her stories, Fairy Cube included, and it’s always strongest when portraying fantasy and horror. I also found this book, being one of her newer series, to be noticeable more tidy in terms of panelling which helps a lot with making for a smooth reading experience. Fans of Kaori Yuki’s Cain series will no doubt see some similarities in character design here.
Overall, despite some moments where the strength of the plot seemed to waiver, I still really enjoyed this book. The plot is dark, with a sinister nature that keeps it riveting and suspenseful, but with a fairly smooth linear story that isn’t weighed down by its own dark frills as some of Kaori Yuki’s other series. All of this and more, including beautiful artwork, make Fairy Cube a unique fairytale that I look forward to more of.
Manga of the Month – August 2008