Manga Review: Forbidden Scrollery by Moe Harukawa & ZUN (Vol.1)




If you're looking for a fun, magical, curious little manga, go check out Forbidden Scrollery by Zun & Moe Harukawa. The story follows three girls living in the traditional Japanese village of Gensokyo, a place isolated from the normal world where supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore abound.


Newly released in English by Yen Press. You might not have come across it yet, but I think it's worth your time. Known as Touhou Suzunaan in Japan, the series has complete at 7 volumes.



Kosuzu runs a bookstore with her parents called Suzunaan. They sell and rent a wide variety of books, but to those with specific knowledge, Kosuzu also sells Youma (demon) books.



Youma books can be:

  • Written by ancient yokai for other yokai

  • Written by yokai for humans

  • Magic Grimoires

  • Texts sealing away yokai


So they are considered to be very dangerous. Our magician, Marisa, and shaman, Reimu, know they need to do something about this bookshop. But when they visit Suzunaan, they are surprised to find that Kosuzu not only knows what the books are, but she has the ability to read them.



She's overly enthusiastic about her collection, and comes across as slightly unstable. As if mad with passion, and blind to the dangers.


Our town vigilantes realize they will need to keep an eye on her.



The rest of volumes takes us through chapters in which different yokai cause different disturbances.


Review:


Although this story is on the simplistic side I really enjoy its atmosphere.


The art style is quite cute & that clashes perfectly with the sinister undertones to each new plot about a dangerous or mischievous yokai.


Kosuzu is likably, and her bookshop feels incredibly cozy, but I don't trust her at all. I can tell she will continue to cause all kinds of trouble in the volumes to come.



I think the friendly rivalry between Marisa and Reimu a good source of comedy. They both think they know more about how to exercise yokai than the other. And seem like they can both be tempted by yokai books and things they should stay away from. So they are not reliable heroes.



Volume one has also hinted at the larger world for us with Tanuki in the woods, an apparently wealthy vampire, the dangers of foxfire and comparably less dangerous oni fire, and a night parade.


Some things referenced in this manga would be familiar to a Japanese audience, but perhaps less so to a foreign audience, like references made to The Tengu's Apology Letter & The Hyakki Yakou Picture Scroll. Translation notes at the back of the volume are helpful for anyone unfamiliar with the significance of these.



Oddly enough, this manga comes to us out of a gaming franchise called Touhou Project. I have no idea why -- but I've noticed a growing number of the anime and manga I enjoy have come out of games I have never played 🤔.


Bizarre.


But if you enjoy the world of Gensokyo, you will find there is much more to explore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touhou_Project#Print_media



In Conclusion:

Rating:4/5

Genre: Yokai, Traditional Japanese Setting, Cute Girls Doing Cute Things

Length: 7 Volumes, Complete

Plans to Continue? Yes. I am buying volumes as they are released in English from Yen Press


What This Story Has To Offer:

  • Supernatural mysteries

  • Supernatural beings [yokai]

  • Mischief comedy

  • Isolated fantasy setting

  • Traditional Japanese town

  • Bookstore

  • Magic

  • Shrine Maidens

  • Exorcists



A perfect read for people enthusiastic about Japanese folklore.


Where to buy: https://www.rightstufanime.com/Forbidden-Scrollery-Manga-Volume-1

Have you come across this series yet? Do you like Yokai Stories?

Thanks for reading!

Amanda

Header made on canva.com

Images included to identify & promote this manga were taken by me.

Copyright ⓒ  2018-2020 Amanda Vaughan