November 13, 2008

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Cat Eyed Boy Volume 1

Written by Kazuo Umezu
Illustrated by Kazuo Umezo
Viz

I really enjoyed the other Umezu I read, the Drifting Classroom, but this one was not my cup of tea. The conceit of a narrator that gets involved in the story certainly isn't new, and really hasn't been a problem for me in the past. But this cat eyed boy, a son of demons, just acts all innocent and genuinely surprised by the weird shit happening around him. For a horror story, I prefer someone who is either completely unaware of his role as storyteller OR to be able to act instead of react when the action strikes him.

Umezu's horror plots seem fine, as far as it goes, with crazed people, demons, and other oddities. The sheer horror of some of the things he draws are pretty cool for a manga. There's no flinching from gaping wounds, peeling flesh, and the like. I just couldn't get past the boy being so much in every story.

I appear to be strongly in the minority on my opinion of this one. Every other blog I've read that has a review of Cat Eyed Boy has nothing but good things to say about it. It's not that I thought it was terrible, don't get me wrong. I just think there's better horror manga out there, like, say, The Drifting Classroom.

Your mileage may vary on this one, so I'd still say this is worth looking at for a horror manga fan or someone looking for a change from the shojo-shonen diet we mostly see from Viz and other publishers. I just wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out. If you do read it, I'd definitely like to hear your thoughts.