Black Bird 2 by Kanoko Sakurakoji: B-

blackbird2Misao is the bride of demon prophecy, and marrying her will bring her childhood friend Kyo, leader of the Tengu clan, prosperity. Misao is drawn to Kyo, but she resists this arrangement because she can’t be sure whether Kyo actually loves her for herself or because of the benefits she could bring him.

The answer to this question arrives in the form of Kyo’s eight vassals, a group of young men who’ve got intimate knowledge of Kyo’s past, his real feelings for Misao, and how hard he worked to become clan leader so that he could have the right to claim her as his bride. The original heir, Kyo’s older brother Sojo, also makes an appearance and nearly ravishes Misao, but not before allowing her a glimpse of her forgotten childhood memories.

The backstories of the characters are fleshed out nicely in this volume, and I’m pleased with the rate at which information is doled out to the reader. One confusing point, though, is that Kyo is shown in flashbacks and the testimony of the vassals to be a kind, nurturing guy, but his present-day treatment of Misao runs contrary to this assessment. Sure, he comes to her rescue as needed, but he also says things like, “Shall I shut your mouth for you?” and punishes her for being a flirtatious drunk. Worse is Misao’s reaction: she accepts his use of force as his way of communicating and finds that it makes his gentle moments that much more meaningful. That’s seriously disturbing!

Ultimately, I do enjoy this series but its creepy moments ensure I feel rather guilty doing so.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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