Manga-ka: Housui Yamazaki
Publisher: Dark Horse
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: January 2007
Synopsis: “Postcards from purgatory… Broken dolls that prey on people… babies who toddle forward with sharp scissors and laugh… elevators trapped amidst floors, as if caught between heaven and hell. All these and more are known to exorcist detective Reiji Akiba as messages to the living from the restless dead. But answer this mail at your own risk, unless you a sign with a bullet from Akiba’s sanctified gun!”
It’s more chilling stories here in volume two of Mail. Continuing in an episodic manner, numerous people are contacted by the dead many of whom seek what they couldn’t have in life, even if they must take it from the living. The only hope these people have is Reiji Akiba, a detective who has the ability to see ghosts and a gun that can stop them.
Initially as I read through this second release, I didn’t find it as scary as the first. However by the time I got the end, I had those familiar chills and realized Housui Yamazaki had done it again. …did I leave that light on in the hallway? Was that door always open?! I officially had the willies and it’s great to have a book that delivers on horror so well that it accomplishes that. The last story in the book was the freakiest for me and the thought of opening the book to see that ghost again is not something I plan to do until the sun is up and there’s someone home with me.
My opinions on the stories vary but all were creepy and unnerving in their own right. While some were predictable, it didn’t stop them from being terrifying during the climax thanks to the artwork. Even if I hadn’t read the book and merely opened it to one of those pages incidentally, the wide-eyed focus of a deceased child dragging it’s lifeless body across the floor would still pack a punch. The style works so well with the story, simple and vibrantly expressive with more grounded character designs that make it easier to relate to the characters instead of your more unrealistic run-of-the-mill manga beauties.
Dark Horse has done another nice job on this treatment of this series. I love the cover design and rough textured paper used for the cover. The inside printing is nice and the binding is really strong while still allowing for easy to turn pages. With the high quality and pleasant weight, it’s just a great packaged book. At the back of the volume are the usual detailed sound effect and general translation notes as original sound effects are kept intact during the story. My only quip with this release would be the synopsis on the back which I’m glad I hadn’t read until finishing the book since it spoils one of the stories.
Overall, for those who enjoyed volume one, you won’t be disappointed by volume two. For new readers, since the stories are episodic, you could hop in here no problem (though definitely get your hands on number one for some more thorough explanation). It’s creepy, it’s chilling and I don’t suggest reading it by lamp in a dark room.