Shannon, here – Halloween is my favourite holiday and to honour it I’m counting down 13 manga throughout the month that I think best capture the Halloween spirit. They aren’t all horror manga, as to me Halloween is about more than scares: it’s about a sense of fun and wonder. It’s about discovering that there may be more to this world than meets the eye. So with that in mind, there’s everything on this list from action-packed shounen to romantic-comedy to children’s manga to some lock-the-doors-and-leave-the-lights-on horror. (See all 13 Days of Halloween so far…)
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2. Haunted House
Another manga with no supernatural aspects to it on the list, the first being Kindaichi Case Files, Haunted House is a comedy by Mitsukazu Mihara. The main character is a high school guy named Sabato, a perfectly normal guy whose only goal in life is to get a girlfriend. Each chapter he meets a girl, falls for her, starts to think that maybe things could work out between the two of them…and then he takes her home to meet his family. Sabato may be as normal as can be, but his family is insane. His mother and sisters all dress to the nines in gothic Lolita type outfits, while his father has practically stolen Dracula’s look wholesale. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that on top of that they seem to purposely set out to embarrass Sabato, pulling crazy, morbid stunts every time one of Sabato’s ladyfriends come to visit.
Haunted House is a funny manga in that it takes something simple (the embarrassment most teens feel when it comes to their family) and put a crazy, wacky spin on it. There are so many gags on each page, and pretty much all of them work. It’s an especially fun manga to read if you’re a horror fan, as there are lots of jokes relating to classic horror stories and movies.
What’s really impressive is that the manga isn’t just an episodic comedy series. While each chapter stands alone to a certain extent, over the course of the book Sabato goes from being a frantic, shallow girl chaser to being a more thoughtful and accepting young man. It’s a nice bit of characterization that works without bringing the comedy down. By the end of the manga it’s also revealed that Sabato’s family, for all their harassment and teasing, really do love him and just want what’s best for him.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention Mitsukazu Mihara’s beautiful art. While she can draw some very pretty characters, she also has great comedic timing and knows when to go for a more cartoony style.
Haunted House may not be a horror manga, but it is probably one of the few manga that you can see being actually influenced by Halloween. If you love creepy things as much as Sabato’s family does, then you should check out this manga.