Yokai are adventurous spirits. Some are troublesome, some are downright terrible, and some are not so bad at all. It might be hard enough for common people to believe in their existence at all. But the idea that they get sick is foreign to just about everyone.
Enter Kuro, the class geek who has a weird secret. Cute in a nerdy kind of way, he's the titular Yokai Doctor, treating the spirits and keeping it all a secret. Kuro's classmate Kotoko also has a gift: She can see spirits. The twist is that Kotoko's ancestry includes a lot of exorcists. In other words, even though she can only see spirits and not exorcise them, she still feels it's her family duty to bring about their demise. She's not too keen (at first, anyway) of the idea of someone who fixes those same spirits up and sends them on their way.
That romantic tension ensues is no surprise, of course. Yokai Doctor has a humor that is definitely juvenile but probably inappropriate for younger readers (read: lots and lots of "boobies!" jokes). Older readers who can handle that kind of stuff might actually find the book funny. It's certainly lighthearted and has a terrific sense of laughs throughout, even if you do sometimes feel a little lowbrow for enjoying them.
This translation is incredibly helpful for including extensive translation notes, something that proves very useful to readers. Yokai Doctor sets up an ongoing series, and it will be more fun to watch Kuro and Kotoko grow as characters in future volumes. It's clear that both have a lot more to offer than just what's on the surface (and the book reveals that Kuro is hiding some big secret, which promises to complicate things later on). While this first book doesn't quite delve far enough into the personalities of these two, they're still both engaging enough to entertain and welcome back.
Reviewed by John Hogan on May 19, 2009
- Publication Date: May 19, 2009
- Genres: Graphic Novel
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey
- ISBN-10: 0345512383
- ISBN-13: 9780345512383