Posts Tagged ‘Tokine’

kekkaishi_v7We learn that an organized group has its eye on the Karasumori site. Using man-skins to cover their ayakashi identity, they are becoming a problem for our Kekkaishi, who recently have been given help by the Shadow Organization with the addition of Gen to their team.

Story overview:

A ghost cat haunts Yoshimori’s teacher, but rather than let Gen kill it, Yoshimori waits for the cat to find its peace. Shortly after Gen realizes Yoshimori is in love with Tokine. The two boys follow her as she goes off with a popular boy, only to find that the boy is being controlled by an ayakashi (which is why Tokine went with him, and she easily defeated the creature).

Meanwhile, Yoshimori’s older brother, Masamori is inducted into the Shadow Organization’s Executive Committee (Council of Twelve). The council turns out to be a den of wild beasts, all of which Masamori plans to kill someday.

New and improved human skin is produced to disguise ayakashi sent on a mission to demand the surrender of the Karasumori site. One of the oppressors decides to keep his old human-skin, which resembled that of the first skin found. Only, this creature possesses a greater powerful. After making a bloody mess of Gen, the villain and his group trick Yoshimori and Tokine to fall into a trap that prevents them from using their Kekkaishi powers.

My thoughts:

The addition of Gen to the Kekkaishi team makes the character dynamics only get more interesting. Gotta love the humor, the character interaction, the human struggles, the mystery, the side stories, and the great action. Still top of the manga list for me.

Things to consider:

Continued to be rated thirteen plus and targeted mainly towards boys. This story remains free of any excessive and inappropriate sexual references, has only the slightest profanity (if you can even call it that), and the action violence is just the right amount for this kind of story.

Opportunities for discussion:

Compassion seems to be a main theme in this volume. With Yoshimori, who extended it to the ghost cat, and Tokine who didn’t grant the request of the ayakashi. There are times in life when we need to show compassion and other times when that compassion can cause more harm than good. Ask your teen if they can understand the difference and then ask them for an example in their lives. Then ask them if they think Tokine’s decision was the right one.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Kekkaishi (Volume 1)
2) Kekkaishi (Volume 2)
3) Kekkaishi (Volume 3)
4) Kekkaishi (Volume 4)
5) Kekkaishi (Volume 5)
6) Kekkaishi (Volume 6)

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kekkaishi_v5When last we were with our favorite ayakashi slayer, Yoshimori, we learned of his older brother and the conflict between them. Yet Yoshimori trusted him enough to share his ultimate goal: to seal off the Karasumori site forever. Why? This he did not share, but as the reader, we know it is mainly to protect Tokine, whom he cares deeply for.

Story overview:

A totoro-like creature shows up at Yoshimori’s school and eats everyone’s food. One of the students—a girl named Yuri—is able to see the creature, as she possesses paranormal abilities. She seeks out Yoshimori (since she knows he seems them too) and the two of them talk. He ensures her that everything is OK, but his investigation is anything but over.

When the creature shows up at Yoshimori’s house, he realizes that it isn’t an ayakashi, but a deity named Lord Uro. It seems that the deity’s bed needs repairing and only a Kekkaishi can do it. Yoshimori ends up jumping into a lake and is transferred to a dimensional world where he fixes the bed by using his restoration magic on a magical box. Though he repaired the bed, the effects of the dimension start to make him forget who he is. Staying behind to get answers about the Karasumori site, he barely escapes being wiped out of existence. With the help of three things written on his arm (Castle Cake, Seal off the Karasumori site, and Tokine–which was scribbled off,) and his grandfather, he makes it back to his world.

Afterwards we learn a little more about his younger brother, Toshimori who seems to be smart like Tokine, but very new to using the family magic. Not much times passes before Yoshimori and Tokine go up against a new opponent—a really strong three-team ayakashi—who just so happens to be observed from a distance. The two of them appear to defeat the offender, but we learn that this may have just been a test from an unknown group.

My thoughts:

It was fun watching Lord Uro mess with people, and I liked learning about the Restoration Magic. The story mentions how this magic is harder to use outside the Karasumori site and that it is best if used by the Shikigami (the helpers created from magical paper.) I always thought it was a little farfetched to believe it was possible to repair the damage done to the school during the nightly battles, but this explanation helped to clear that up for me.

Things to consider:

For ages 13+ and targeted towards boys. Like the others in this series, this book does not contain any real questionable content for this age group.

Opportunities for discussion:

When Yoshimori was in Lord Uro’s dimension, he started to forget who he was or what his purpose in life was. He wrote down three things that were important to him to help him remember. Ask your teen what three things they would have written down and why.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Kekkaishi (Volume 1)
2) Kekkaishi (Volume 2)
3) Kekkaishi (Volume 3)
4) Kekkaishi (Volume 4)

Kekkaishi v4Yoshimori and Tokine are the legitimate heirs of their clan. They protect their school from ayakashi, as the creatures try to absorb the hidden power that is buried deep beneath the building.

Yoshimori is the more powerful of the two and he has a hidden love for Tokine. Tokine makes up for the lack of power with skill and precision, but she tends to think of Yoshimori as a younger, annoying brother.

We pickup from the last volume where Yoshimori’s dog, Madarao, battled against an old friend who turned out to be a new enemy.  After the battle, Yoshimori replaced the power-restricting collar on Madarao. It seems that Madarao develops a little more respect for the boy.

Story overview:

We welcome back the ghost of a patissier (pastry chef,) whom Yoshimori had helped out in a prior volume. The ghost seems to be reluctant to leave the living world. He claims that it is because he did not like that his last word was “cabbage,” but there seems to be something else going on. To help out the ghost, Yoshimori works with Yumeko Hananokoji, the Psychic Counselor that he referred the ghost to. Together they find the ghost’s brother and put closure on the thing that was bothering him so that he could finally find peace.

This leads to the introduction of Yoshimori’s own brothers. His younger brother, Toshimori, feels he’s not as talented as Yoshimori. And his older brother, Masamori, came home for a visit. Masamori is a highly skilled, Executive Officer of the Shadow Organization and seems to harbor some unspoken resentment towards Yoshimori for being the one born with the symbol of the legitimate heir. Yoshimori could care less about being the heir, but has a certain amount of animosity towards his older brother.

Masamori puts Yoshimori to the test as he feels the heir needs to use his skills more intelligently. Passing the test in his usual reckless way, Masamori realized his brother’s strength is greater than he thought. Once Yoshimori discovers that his brother is watching him from the sky, he figures out how to use his kekkai to climb up to meet him. At this time he tells his older brother his plans to seal off the Karasumori site forever.

My thoughts:

This one is still currently one of my top three favorite manga series. As always, great character dynamics and a constant page turner. Good humor too.

Things to consider:

Good for ages 13+ and mainly directed towards boys. No questionable content for this age group. Just the typical action violence.

Opportunities for discussion:

The subject of passing on to another world is brought up. Where this series does not take liberties to share what that world is, I believe this is a good time for parents to. Ask your teens what they think about life after death, and then share with them your beliefs and why you believe them.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Kekkaishi (Volume 1)
2) Kekkaishi (Volume 2)
3) Kekkaishi (Volume 3)

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)

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.