Orochi Perfect Edition Volume Two continues to follow Orochi as she observes other people’s lives.
Orochi Perfect Edition Volume Two
Written by: Kazuo Umezz
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 19, 2022
This volume contains three stories, and each one runs for a little over 100 pages each. However, the stories need to be this long in order for them to be told effectively.
The first story, “Prodigy,” sees Orochi following a man named Yu Tachibana that she first saw when he was a little boy. Through her, we learn that on his first birthday, the family was attacked by a robber. Yu was stabbed in the neck before the robber fled. The robber was caught by the police, and it’s revealed that the man had a sick wife and hungry child at home. After the attempted robbery, the family moves to Tokyo, and the parents’ attitudes change. The mother goes from being patient and loving with Yu to becoming angry all the time. She forces Yu to study and not play, even though he keeps saying he hates studying. The father starts drinking all the time and is no longer the man he once was. Yu is also teased and ostracized at school because of the scar on his neck and the fact that he studies all the time and doesn’t play. But one day, when he’s in the fifth grade, Yu learns something while doing research in the library and he changes his attitude. There’s a twist that’s revealed at the end of this story, and it explains to the reader what they saw earlier, and everything makes a lot more sense.
In this story, Orochi becomes involved when she secretly saves Yu from being hit by a train when he’s in the fifth grade. Unfortunately, her injuries make it so she can’t really keep an eye on him for a while. She tries to intervene when Yu is in middle school, but her injuries make it so that her power still isn’t working for her to change a situation. Then, when Yu starts high school, Orochi transfers into his school to try to be close to him there. For most of this story, Orochi is just an observer. The only time she truly affects anything is saving Yu from death when he’s a fifth grader. But from what I’ve read of Orochi up to this point, it seems like Orochi’s role is to be more of an observer than actively trying to change her subject’s situation.
The second story, “Home,” sees a young man named Shoichi Sugiyama leaving his remote farm village to live in a mid-size city with a friend of his. Shoichi doesn’t plan to return to his hometown until he has achieved success. Unfortunately, his “friend” ends up stealing Shoichi’s things and sticking Shoichi with his debts. Shoichi goes from city to city, ending up in Tokyo and falling in with a bad crowd. When Shoichi is being attacked, Orochi intervenes. She saves the man and gets him to a hospital. Shoichi has to go into surgery, and he finds himself wishing he could go back home.
Orochi decides she wants to go to Shoichi’s hometown and is surprised to see him on the train because he’s supposed to still be in the hospital. He claims he’s better and was discharged by a doctor. The two of them go to Shoichi’s hometown, but Orochi senses that something’s different and feels wrong. As time goes by, strange events keep happening in the town, and each event that happens is even stranger than the previous one. This is a story where Orochi finds herself getting more directly involved with what’s happening around her. However, right near the end, there’s a twist that I didn’t see coming… and the twist even surprises Orochi. After the twist is revealed, though, it makes sense why Orochi ended up more directly involved with her subject’s situation than usual.
The final story, “Key,” sees Orochi moving into an apartment complex because she was interested in the people who live there. One of the tenants is a young boy named Hiroyuki Watanabe, who has the nickname of “Liar” because of all the lies he tells. He rubs Orochi the wrong way, but she still keeps an eye on him. One day, Hiroyuki witnesses one of his neighbors committing a serious crime and tries to tell his mother, but his mother accuses him of lying again. To make matters worse, his mother tells the neighbor about her son’s “lie” about them. This leads to Hiroyuki being targeted by the neighbor, and it’s up to Orochi to help save him in the end.
This story felt as if it was a horror version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Unfortunately, this little boy made a reputation for himself as a liar, so when something serious happens and he’s telling the truth, no one believes him. It really doesn’t help that the neighbor he witnesses committing the crime is very well-liked by the neighbors. At least Orochi was keeping an eye on Hiroyuki, even if she didn’t care for his personality all that much. If she wasn’t there, this story would have had a much different outcome. While Orochi ultimately became involved at the end of the story, she spent most of this one being an observer.
After reading Orochi Perfect Edition Volume Two, I found that I enjoyed the stories presented in this volume just as much, if not more, than the stories that appeared in Volume One. Even though the stories are around 100 pages each, they were a quicker read than I thought they would be. I’m sure it helped that Umezz presented compelling stories and characters that made me want to keep going to find out what was going to happen.
When it comes to the art, one thing I noticed is that the little boys who are focused on in these stories have a very similar look to them. The young version of Yu Tachibana, the son of the one of the villagers in Shoichi’s hometown, and Hiroyuki Watanabe look rather similar, and sometimes I would have to remind myself that they were different people. I don’t know if this is due to Umezz having a limited number of child designs or if he thought all three of these characters should have a similar look. Outside of that, though, the art looks very good. I find it interesting that panels that feature Orochi usually stand out more in comparison to the other panels nearby. This could very well have been a deliberate choice, since Orochi is supposed to be something supernatural.
If you read and enjoyed Orochi Perfect Edition Volume One, then I believe you’ll also appreciate Volume Two.
The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media
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