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Fairy Cube, Volume 1-3

Review

Fairy Cube, Volume 1-3

There’s a serial killer on the loose, and his calling card is a gruesome spray of blood from the victim’s shoulder blades. It looks a little bit like wings, so the press has labeled them “The Fairy Murders.” There is more than meets the eye here, though, and if anyone can see past the surface, it is Ian Hasumi…because Ian can see fairies. In fact, he has been able to perceive these magical, mysterious beings since he was a child. Of course, no one believes him, and his peers all call him Ian the Liar.

But now one of these creatures, a malevolent spirit somehow connected to Ian called Tokage has stolen Ian’s body, taken over his life, and is wooing his childhood sweetheart, Rin. To get his body --- and Rin --- back, he will need to steal a body of his own and, with the help of the diminutive fairy Ainsel, become a Wing Person, a fairy clothed in the shell of a human body. Unfortunately, setting things aright will be anything but easy, and Ian the Liar will need to learn the truth behind The Fairy Murders if he is to save himself --- and the world as we know it.

Although Kaori Yuki is most famous on both sides of the Pacific for her epic, multi-volume fantasy/horror manga Angel Sanctuary and Godchild, her finest works are actually her shorter series. A strict page count keeps her unfortunate penchant for multiple convoluted subplots and an excess of supporting characters in check --- while highlighting her numerous creative strengths. As such, Fairy Cube, a manga complete at a pleasingly manageable three volumes, is one of Yuki’s best. It features gorgeous artwork, a skillful narrative, and a fascinating, novel adaptation of Celtic folklore.

Fairy Cube covers tremendous ground in just 600-odd pages. From the schoolyard to the back alleys of the big city to the eldritch world of the fairies to the luxurious headquarters of a corporate conglomerate, one might think that the story would be crazily disjointed. It is not. Ian’s adventure progresses smoothly throughout, and even though the story draws extensively from a mythological tradition unfamiliar to most Westerners (let alone Japanese people), nothing ever feels hopelessly complicated or confused. The characters and the world they inhabit come vibrantly alive. It is, in short, a remarkable testament to the creator’s storytelling talents and status as a veteran in the field.

Yuki’s richly detailed, decadent illustration is justifiably famous. She moves seamlessly between the ethereally beautiful and the terrifyingly gory, and her aesthetic, sensual style makes her the Japanese manga counterpart to such Western fantasy/horror novelists as Anne Rice, Tanith Lee and Storm Constantine. Her characters, both male and female, are exceptionally attractive and well-designed, particularly when drawn in full color. While those familiar with the technical side of comics creation may be bothered by the obvious, extensive and intensive use of assistants, most readers find her thickly defined, heavily-screen-toned pages instantly addictive. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Casey Brienza on October 18, 2011

Fairy Cube, Volume 1-3
by Kaori Yuki

  • Publication Date: May 6, 2008
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1421516683
  • ISBN-13: 9781421516684