Karakara Kemuri: Donten ni Warau V01

The first story in this volume is about three brothers who are tasked with making sure that criminals make it to the prison on the lake. Set during the Meiji era, all things bushidou are on their way out and western influence is making its way in. The Kumou brothers, Tenka, the oldest who has a tragic hairstyle; Soramaru, the second brother who was bestowed the Kumou family heirloom sword; and Chuutarou, the youngest, who has the utmost faith in his brothers are responsible for ferrying the prisoners across the lake. Occasionally, the prisoners give their land escorts the slip and when that happens, Tenka is asked to retrieve them. Along with the Kumou three is their housekeeper Shirasu who seems so serene that you just know that there’s more to him, but what?

With the exception of Tenka’s hair, I really like the art. With the garments appropriate for the times, I get to see lots of billowing and heavily draping fabric. The story is interesting as well. So far there have been some shadowy figures, flashes of the past, and some brotherly envy. The synopsis leads you to believe that things aren’t quite what they seem, so I’m looking forward to understanding what that means.

The second story, which assumes the bulk of the volume, jumps back 500 or so years to the Kamakura period. We meet Botan, Hirari, and Kagemitsu who, barely an adult by today’s standards, is the head of the Kumou clan. The supernatural finds its way into the story and I am reminded of Shimizu Yuki’s Ze. More than anything, the things in this story are not quite what they seem.

Hirari falls in love with Botan at first sight and wastes no time in attaching himself to her, much to the chagrin of Kagemitsu. But things being as they are, their love won’t last or will it?

I know that the main story is about the Kumou brothers, but since they introduced mythical elements, I hope I get to see Hirari and Botan again.


requierobl replied: The comparison to Ze has me interested; I thought Ze’s plot had great potential but it didn’t really follow through.

The comparison is pretty week, though. It’s just that one of the supernatural elements is the same as the one of the core ones in Ze. I haven’t finished reading Ze yet, but I’m going to be starting from the beginning the next time I pick it up.

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