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Review: Taimashin – The Red Spider Exorcist (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo

Author: Hideyuki Kikuchi
Manga-ka: Yong-Gwan
Publisher: Digital Manga
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: December 2009

Synopsis: “Traveling in-between the world of the living and the twilight world of the dead, Akamushi,the shaman is known as the Red Spider Exorcist. With the powers of a giant spider, he combats the demons of the netherworld. When career woman Megumi is suddenly pursued and attacked by unholy demons, she seeks Akamushi’s help. But as it seems, the minions of the underworld may also be too much for Akamushi to handle. But why are these creatures of twilight after her? What truths will unravel about her true self and everyone around her? And what of Akamushi—can he use his unique shamanic spider-like powers to cast out and purify himself from the demon scourge?”

An evening stroll soon takes a potentially disastrous turn for a young woman named Megumi who finds herself trailed by a group of suspicious men. Running into an alley, she’s steered towards the aid of a mysterious man named Akamushi, one whose prowess could prove more deadly than the very forces she seeks to escape from.

Akamushi, spider-demon by existence, gorgeous Nao-performer by sight, is an intriguing character. On one hand he appears to protect Megumi and moves with delicate finesse adorned in Shinto robes – on the other hand his piercing gaze and terrifying abilities betray a lot more about him then even Megumi is willing to acknowledge. Then again, why question the hand that saves you?

Still, it feels like Megumi should be a little more concerned than she is between occurrences. A little alcohol and an inkling in her subconscious as to what’s going on still doesn’t seem to excuse how remarkably calm she remains up until trouble brews. Though she could afford to be a little more concerned about her predicament, readers at least will likely finish this volume much more curious as to the who, what and whys. Thankfully we shouldn’t be in the dark too long as Megumi’s ‘protectors’ seem more in the know than Megumi seems apt to question even as one event after another occurs to ‘claim her’ for an unknown purpose.

The art is one of the book’s greatest strengths. It’s obviously the work of someone experienced in their field with good consistency and strong line work. The style itself plays more on the side of realism compared to most manga series and it compliments the story well. Easy to follow sequences and attractive (when intended) character designs make the read both coherent and appealing. The most impressive panels take place during the night against moonlight backdrops, utilizing fantastic perspective and shadows to really set a great tone, such as during Akamushi’s introduction during a late-night Noh stage performance.

This story contains its share of violence and sexual content, but nothing so explicit as to merit any warning past the book’s 16+ rating. On the amusing side of things, there’s the novelty of reading about a dominatrix pleasuring a captive girl with her snake and not be reading a hentai, though wondering how many readers will interpret that statement a variety of ways is fun in itself (Note: it’s quite literal).

On the publication side of things, the book has a solid look to it complete with grungy logo with cute little spiders with skull-bums for I-dots. The translation reads smoothly and the dialogue lettering is well handled. The book itself comes in a notable size, closer in dimension to the majority of manga releases on the market as opposed to the larger cut-sizes that the majority of Digital Manga’s library has.

Taimashin lacks a human element, potentially no pun intended, with Megumi failing to react as poignantly as perhaps she should. This hampers the intended suspense and stops Taimashin from being truly horrific. Still, there’s the beginning of a plot that could prove worth following, along with artwork that’s liable to leave readers tempted to continue on its mood merits alone. This first volume proved a somewhat shallow read for an execution that lacks compelling consequence but it should still prove a good read for the supernaturally inclined.

Review written March 14, 2010 by Lissa Pattillo
Book provided by Digital Manga for review purposes

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

Kuriousity does not condone or support the illegal distribution of manga online.
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One Response

  1. […] (The Manga Curmudgeon) Julie on vol. 2 of Sumomomo, Momomo (Manga Maniac Cafe) Lissa Pattillo on vol. 1 of Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist (Kuriousity) Susan S. on vol. 3 of Very! Very! Sweet (Manga Jouhou) Rob on vol. 2 of Yotsuba&! […]

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