It is a dark night in South Korea. A woman goes to a vendor to buy food and a beer. She downs the beer, and the man working there offers to get her another one, free of charge. He reaches into his fridge, pulls out a can, and comments on the fireworks going on. Then he takes another look at the woman and is overcome with terror. She’s not human. Her face transforms into that of a bat, leaving the man shocked. Without a word, she walks away into the night.
This is how Taimashin: The Red Spider Exorcist begins. Dark, spooky, and mysterious.
There’s another woman in the same city, but she (as far as we know) is a normal human being. Her name is Megumi, and she’s from Japan. At the time, she’s in danger and is being chased. She goes to a psychic woman for help, and the psychic sends her in search of a “handsome man” who will aid her. Megumi finds this man, and he doesn’t seem to be human, either. But will he protect her from the dark forces that approach? Once she learns what they are, will she be able to protect herself?
The first volume of this series has many questions and few answers. By the end, it’s still unclear what’s going on. It does whet the appetite for more and gets readers curious. Volume one seems to be about introducing the characters and just getting started with the plot.
For many readers, Hideyuki Kikuchi needs no introduction. He’s the mind behind the very successful Vampire Hunter D series. He wrote this graphic novel, but it’s Shin Yong-Gwan who illustrated it. The illustrations fit with the dark, moody world Kikuchi has created. Anyone who’s a fan of Hideyuki Kikuchi will probably want to pick this book up and see what it’s all about.
Other than Kikuchi fans, I see this book enticing anyone into the horror genre. It’s also not overly gory, so someone mostly uninterested in horror could also enjoy it. The characters are interesting, though they haven’t gotten too much personality yet. So far the characters with the most personality are Megumi and the psychic woman. The handsome man who’s there to help Megumi hasn’t shown much of his disposition yet. I am curious how the character Megumi will evolve throughout the series. Right now, she looks as if she could be a very strong character but isn’t there yet. (Case in point: Needing a mysterious man to help her instead of handling things herself.) Maybe once she learns what she’s up against, her character can become a lot stronger and more in charge of matters.
Taimashin, while not telling too much about itself, sets up nicely in the first volume. It gets quite a bit of drama, spookiness, and mystery going on. Many readers, after finishing the first volume, will very much want to read the next.
Reviewed by Danica Davidson on July 27, 2012