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Tatics: v. 3

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Gr 7 Up-The mystique of a magical, feudal Japan is the theme of this new series. Kantarou is a young folklorist who is also studying supernatural beings, or youkai, and "exterminating" them. A mysterious young woman hires him and takes him into the bucolic countryside to a shrine. She remarks that her parents were once the caretakers, and that her fiance recently assaulted her, probably because he is demon-possessed. A centuries-old demon hunter named Haruka appears elsewhere, hypnotically chanting his spells in an ancient language. Occasionally, his chanting carries on for several pages, which, combined with the action on the page, makes for a thrilling experience. A "Notes" section reveals how complex the story really is, and it is apparent that quite a lot may have been lost in translation. There are few stock manga characters such as rail-thin older boys or ethereally lovely young women; instead, there is action and fighting-demons being killed, spells cast, etc. The artwork is all black and white, as usual for this genre. A well-produced manga and already a series in Japan, Tactics will likely catch on if the story grows in the succeeding volumes.-John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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