Manga Review: “Yukarism” Volume Two

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Yukarism Volume 2 focuses on Yukari Kobayakawa, a 17-year-old high school student who is an accomplished writer. His writings include amazingly accurate historical details about the Edo period, even though he has never researched that era. A classmate named Mahoro Tachibana is a fan of his writing, and the first time the two of them meet, Yukari feels that he knows her even though it’s the first time they’ve met. Yukari falls into a deep sleep after seeing an old burn on Mahoro’s wrist, and discovers that his soul has the ability to travel into the Edo period and inhabit the body of a renowned female courtesan named Yumurasaki. When Yukari’s soul returns to the present, he believes Mahoro is the reincarnation of Yumurasaki’s bodyguard.

Yukarism Volume 2
Written by: Chika Shiomi
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 7, 2015

Volume 2 opens with Yukari and Mahoro meeting Katsuhiko Satomi, who has come to fill in for Yukari’s housekeeper while she recovers from a back injury. Mahoro finds that she hates Katsuhiko from the moment she first sees him but has no idea why.  As Volume 2 progresses, we see her experiencing the same dizzy spells that Yukari was having as he was starting to make connections with his past life.

Volume 1 had been written in such a way to make the reader think that Mahoro was the reincarnation of Kazuma, Yumurasaki’s bodyguard. Also, the end of Volume 1 led the reader to believe that Katsuhiko was the reincarnation of Shizuka Takamura, one of Yumurasaki’s customers who seems determined to make Yumurasaki his. But it’s made very clear over the course of Volume 2 that Shiomi had been trying to trick the reader, since it’s revealed that the reincarnations are actually the other way around. Looking back at Mahoro’s behavior in Volume 1, I realized that Shiomi had dropped some hints that she was actually Shizuka’s reincarnation. But during Volume 2, as both Mahoro and Katsuhiko start reawakening memories of their past lives, Mahoro becomes more antagonistic toward Katsuhiko.

During this volume, it’s also revealed that Shizuka isn’t necessarily the villain that I thought he was at the end of Volume 1. In fact, it appears that Kazuma may also be evil even though he’s supposed to be Yumurasaki’s bodyguard. Back in Volume 1, Yukari had a vision of Yumurasaki’s death and saw that she was murdered. While his soul is in the Edo period, it appears that Yukari is trying to piece together the murder, and Volume 1 made it appear that Shizuka was guilty. But Volume 2 shows that not everything in the Edo period is as it seemed back in Volume 1 and that perhaps the one who was supposed to be guarding Yumurasaki actually killed her.

Volume 1 had also introduced a character named Emi Yoshizumi, another fan of Yukari’s who turned out to be the reincarnation of Yumurasaki’s apprentice, Hitoha. By the end of Volume 1, it seemed like there was a potential for a love triangle between Mahoro, Emi, and Yukari to develop. However, Emi was never seen or referenced in Volume 2. Perhaps she was just introduced to help Yukari understand what was happening to him in Volume 1 and won’t be seen again. Between Emi’s disappearance from the story and the reincarnations not being who I thought they were, it seemed that everything I thought I had understood at the end of the previous volume ended up getting turned onto its head.

When it comes to the art in Yukarism Volume 2, Shiomi went into noticeable detail during the scenes in the Edo period. This is especially true when it comes to Yumurasaki’s character design. In the modern day scenes, there was some very impressive art during a scene where Mahoro goes after Katsuhiko as her past life reawakens inside her. In both time periods that are depicted in the story, the art helps to keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s going on.

Yukarism Volume 2 moves the story along with quite a bang, which helps to make up for the somewhat slow start that the first volume had. Readers who have read the first volume should appreciate the various twists that appear in Volume 2 and will be left wanting more at the end. The Yukarism series should appeal to shojo manga readers that enjoy stories which include historical and supernatural elements.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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