Published by KADOKAWA/Enterbrain Pages: 194
on November 15, 2016
Aoi Tsubaki is a college student who has the ability to see Ayakashi, a trait she inherited from her deceased grandfather. One day, when Aoi walks past a torii shrine, she sees an Ayakashi sitting there who announces that it is hungry. However, after giving it food, Aoi is kidnapped by the Ayakashi, an Ogre named Odanna. He takes her to the Hidden Realm, a world where all the Ayakashi live. He tells Aoi that her grandfather owed him a debt, and as compensation, she must marry him. Aoi negotiates with the Ogre instead, asking to work at Odanna's inn, the Tenjin'ya.
Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi
♥ A light novel that plucks at the heart strings ♥
I’m not a fan of manga. I’ve never considered myself the kind of reader who would enjoy literature comprised mostly of illustrations rather than words. In so many ways, I still don’t see myself as a person who generally enjoys manga books, but…I did, much to my surprise, wholeheartedly enjoy Kakuriyo. It might have something to do with the fact that I love the anime series based off this manga series, which only just came out this year (and is still in production), but I’d like the think the overall story and diverse cast of characters had something to do with it.
Aoi Tsubaki is no ordinary human. Though she may live as one by attending university classes and searching for employment, her ability to see creatures from the Hidden Realm — the world of spirits — makes her life anything, but ordinary. The story begins with the funeral of her grandfather, Shiro Tsubaki, who was equally liked and despised by all. His shameful behavior is put on display at his funeral, where dozens of people turn up to tell Aoi of all the things he’d done. And though she agrees with them that what he did was shameful, she also loved her grandfather deeply because he is the only one who took her in when her mother abandoned her.
By the third or fourth page in, it’s clear to me the complex nature of their relationship. How she both loved him and disapproved of him. How he taught her to survive should she ever meet a yokai, especially the hungry ones. In the anime, flashbacks to when her mother abandoned her are painful and sudden. There is a huge theme of hunger – of the ways humans and yokai hunger for not only the things they desire, but for what they need to survive. After reading volume one, I can see this theme throughout the heart of the story.
Not long after her grandfather’s funeral, Aoi is confronted by an ogre yokai who is hungry. So she does the only thing her grandfather taught her to do in such a situation: she offers the yokai food so that it would not eat her. The story plunges ahead when the ogre – Odanna – spirits her away to the Hidden Realm.
In a world with so much outrage (much of it justified, a bit of it exaggerated), I can see where readers will absolutely hate the relationship between Aoi and Odanna. To some, it will be seen as outright sexist the way Aoi’s grandfather promises her away to be the bride of an ogre in the Hidden Realm, just to make up for his ridiculous debt. At first, it might seem like Aoi is powerless in this entire situation. She is a human and Odanna is an Ogre, a spiritual being with a crap ton of political power. It would be easy for him to force her to stay and marry him, as was the contracted deal struck with Aoi’s grandfather. As I read, I felt like this was reminiscent of Beauty & the Beast, except in this case, the ogre is considered far more civilized and honorable than Aoi, a human with little to no knowledge of how the world works. However, Odanna doesn’t force her to do anything. Instead, I discovered Aoi to be a rather strong character. She’s hardworking, as evidenced by the way she applied for every single open position at the Tenjin-ya. And when no one would hire her? Well, she opened her own eatery.
And Odanna supports her. What I love the most about his character is that his actions, not his words, reveal the most about him. Odanna is kind, fair, cautious, and values hard work and loyalty. In so many ways, this is why he and Aoi click – because she is also kind….so kind to feed hungry Yokai who might have feasted on her and she is cautious to enter into a relationship with Odanna. Most of all, she is loyal, dedicated, and hard working. She truly believes it is her duty to repay the debt, even if it takes years. Because like Odanna, Aoi is also honorable.
Slowly, I’m eating my words from two years ago. I swore up and down, left and right, that I wouldn’t like or read manga. I may have included graphic novels and comics to this generalized statement, but this year, I’ve torn those claims apart and have eaten them one by one. Every page of this book was infused with emotion, stunning illustrations, and new discoveries. Of course, the character development is not the same as it is if I was reading 500 pages, but I was impressed nonetheless.
And I’ll definitely be reading volume 2.