Posts Tagged ‘Karasumori’

Kekkaishi v2Last week we visited Volume 1 of Kekkaishi. We learned about a High School student, Tokine, and a Junior High student, Yoshimori, and how their families are feuding. The two of them are responsible for keeping ayakashi (demon-like creatures) away from their school.

Should one of these ayakashi stay in the area too long, then the buried power of the Karasumori site will envelope them and turn them into stronger and fiercer creatures. Both Tokine and Yoshimori were born with a square shaped mark called the Hoin, which proves that they were chosen to be the legitimate successors for their clan.

Yoshimori sees this responsibility as a burden, but Tokine seems content with the task. And with this, we open the next book in the manga series.

Story overview:

The story begins with Tokine’s father, who seemed like a pleasant yet uncertain man. These were her memories before his death. One that was vividly engraved into her young eyes as he coughed out his last words, “Don’t ever let your guard down, okay?”

As Tokine lives with her Mom and Grandmother, Yoshimori lives with his Father, Grandfather and younger brother. We learn that Yoshimori’s Mom is alive, but very seldom seen. A powerful Jutsusha, she supposedly turned down an offer from a group called “The Shadow Organization.” It is this very organization who sends a young girl named Yomi to stay with the Yukimuras (Tokine’s family.)

All isn’t what it seems, and we learn that Yomi was being deceptive so that she could sneak her pet demon Yoki into the Karasumori site. Since both her and the demon were outcasts, weaklings, and looked down upon, they teamed up to form an impenetrable bond. However, when the demon becomes filled with the power of the Karasumori site, he soon casts his companion aside and lets the power overwhelm him. Yoshimori finds himself fighting against the demon, yet he holds back knowing that the creature is still important to the young girl.

My thoughts: 

This manga maintains its page turning appeal, and even though this is my second time reading it, I found myself finishing in one sitting; eager to be reminded of what happened next. The story and the characters are brilliantly designed.

Things to consider: 

For teens and over, and more for boys than girls, but could easily be enjoyed by both. There is action violence and bloody scenes, but is done in good taste. And as always, remember that the demons are not representatives of those mentioned in the Christian culture. There are no sexual or inappropriate scenes either.

Opportunities for discussion:

The theme here is about weakness. Talk about what weakness truly is, and what strength truly is. Tell your kids about power, and how it corrupts. Tell them that weakness of the heart is a worse weakness than that of the body. We see Yoshimori’s strength of heart regardless of the circumstances. He shows that he cares about what is important to other people, even when it causes him great trouble, and even perhaps at the cost of his life. There is a redemptive power in this kind of compassion, a much greater power than that of any physical strength. The story talks about the power to protect those you love, even at great loss to one’s self. It shows how this love is mightier than the efforts to prove you are better or stronger than someone else.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Kekkaishi (Volume 1)

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Kekkaishi v1The author, Yellow Tanabe (nice name, eh?) mentions that when she was a child, her and her friends would play a game in which they pretended to create invisible walls. Their declaration was, “I stretched the barrier from here to there!” And if someone walked into the area, they would get the cold shoulder, as if breaking the most important law of life.

From this imaginative game comes the making of Kekkaishi. In the first volume, we learn that in order to make a barrier, called a kekkai (“protective ward”), a Kekkaishi must perform three acts: (1) say the word “Hoi” to designate a target, (2) say “Joso” to position the Kekkai, and (3) call out “Ketsu” to create the barrier. Once that is established, the user has the option to either say “Kai” to let their prey go, or “Metsu” to destroy it.

Since the first volume is so filled with content—more so than most manga—my brief overview only covers a little bit. So just keep this in mind.

Story overview:

Where a Junior and Senior High School stands, there once towered a castle. Buried deep below the school is the spirit of the master of that castle, who was from the Karasumori clan. He possessed a power that to this day attracts nasty beings called ayakashi. If they spend any significant amount of time in the school grounds, they will grow bigger, more powerful, and dangerous.

Two children, who have special Kekkaishi powers passed down from generation to generation, are designated the guardians of the school. Since ayakashi are creatures of the night these guardians must lose out on a lot of sleep. If that wasn’t enough, it just so happens that their families are in a feud over who should be the true successor. This puts both Yoshimori (age 14) and Tokine (age 16) in an awkward position, as they so often end up working together.

When Yoshimori was nine years old, his naivety lead to the scars on Tokine’s arm. To this day he has two major goals: (1) never allow someone to get hurt in front of him again, and (2) make a castle cake big enough to live in. His dream to build the cake is constantly being overcome by his crotchety grandfather, lack of money, and fighting off ayakashi. As is the case when he finds out that one of Tokine’s teachers happens to posse inhuman powers, and the two of them must put a stop to it.

My thoughts:

The characters are wonderfully designed, the artwork is top rate, and the story is brilliant. A page turner for sure. This is currently one of my favorite manga series.

Things to consider:

I’d target this for boys at around the age of thirteen. There are a few places with slightly crude humor, and ayakashi are often called demons, but remember that demons to the Japanese are more like monsters to us. There is a lot of action violence too, but it’s done with proper cause.

Opportunities for discussion:

Yoshimori shows us that there are times to give second chances and times not to. We must be discerning of such things ourselves. He also shows us how to put someone else above ourselves. Not without emotional insecurities and flaws, his character is noble and pure underneath it all.