Why did I read it: I was intrigued by the covers, and I thought the series would make for an interesting change of pace.
How I would rate it: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Summary: (For volume 1:)
There is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magical realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. All that changes one day when Misao is attacked by a demon. Her childhood friend Kyo suddenly returns to save her and tend to her cuts–with his tongue! It turns out Misao is the bride of prophecy, whose blood gives power to the demon clan who claims her. But most demons want to keep her power for themselves–by eating her! Now Misao is just trying to stay alive…and decide if she likes it when Kyo licks her wounds.
Review: When it comes to manga, I almost exclusively read titles geared to the action-oriented. The same is true for fiction, of course, but in manga if often feels like you only get two choices. Shonen, which is typically action with manly friendship and the occasional hot chick, or Shojo, which tends to be episodic love stories with soppy angst thrown in. Shojo is hit or miss for me. I’m not a big fan of the whole hopeless pining that goes on or the wet blanket characteristics usually assigned to the female lead.
Black Bird is not without these issues. In fact, parts of Black Bird reminded me of the reasons why I gave up on Twilight very early on, but there was another part of it that was really more depthful and worth my reading time. For one thing, the format of Black Bird definitely works in its favor. I loved the artwork and the pacing was great. For another, there’s no stupid triangle and for another the supernatural elements of the story aren’t tired and predictable. Instead they relate to Japanese mythology and legends. I really liked the colorful cast of minor characters and the concept of different clans of demons. Having a Tengu as a love interest was pretty nifty too.
So although I was sort of creeped out every now and then by Kyo’s remarkably forceful designs on Misao that occasionally bordered on the unsavory, –not to mention the not so savory intentions of nearly every male demon around– I ended up devouring these volumes at a rapid clip. I also ended up really liking Misao more than I could ever imagine liking Bella Swann. Misao’s a bit of a limp noodle at first, overwhelmed by demons, decisions, and her own inability to look after herself properly, but she really learns to overcome her self-imposed limitations and honestly grows up quite a bit. Kyo also isn’t just a wicked demon interested in sex and nothing more. Early on it becomes obvious that he honestly cares for Misao and seeing their relationship develop was more enjoyable than it was irritating. I liked the range of emotions and I even liked most of the conflicts Misao and Kyo face both together as well as apart.
In conclusion, while this is not my new favorite manga series, it was quite enjoyable and one that I plan on following closely from here on out. Please note though that the Black Bird series is really not appropriate for young teens or kids. It’s definitely older teens and adults only.