Kaen Majin Manga Series: Special Powers to Fight Oni Lurking in Japan’s Darkness
In Japan there is a manga genre that may be called “paranormal action”, in which main characters with unusual abilities fight vengeful ghosts or yokai monsters that harm people.
The works of mangaka Saki Okuse stand out with its distinctive atmosphere in this genre and they have fanatic followers. This time we are introducing 3 works from her masterpiece series “Kaen Majin”.
This work consists of two stories.
Desperately looking for help, she turns to “Tsunami Togen”, an exorcist who specializes in “oni (ogre)”.
The story depicts fierce fights for life between Tsunami, who has special ability to manipulate fire freely, and the legendary vampire, Count Dracula.
But the seal was incomplete and it requires live sacrifice to maintain it.
Ibaragi Doji tries to achieve his ambition of freeing himself, by masterminding subordinate evil oni from the space he is sealed in.
“Tsunami Togen” challenges and fights him in order to seal him again.
“Twilight of the Ruler”
Japan has become a multinational state, being integrated with other Asian countries including China.
“Tsunami Togen” has been running a detective agency in the futuristic Tokyo, where security has deteriorated and the city has been overrun by drug that has side effect of making people extremely violent.
One day a female client comes to the agency.
Her lover has dabbled in the drug and become violent and gone missing. Having received a request, Tsunami starts his investigation to find the lover.
“Kaen Majin – Exorcism of Oni–”
Oni lurk in the darkness of the society and work behind the scenes.
They harm people by hiding among them or possessing them and “Tsunami Togen” chases and corners oni to defeat them.
In this work, rather than depicting achievements of Tsunami himself, the story progresses focusing on anguish and grief of oni who has become a deviated existence from human society since being possessed.
He is a white-haired handsome young man and covers himself in a long black coat.
He is always calm and gives an impression that he is lacking in human emotions, but actually he is just not showing them in his face.
He has an ability to create fire using invisible matter called “tane”, and he produces explosive fire at will.
In addition the “tane” ignites when it touches something. Thus it is effective in various scenarios; it can be used as an attack against the enemy or as a trap, in which it is placed in the air in advance and it would ignite when the enemy comes and touches it.
The main character “Tsunami Togen” fights against oni that oppose humans and it gives an impression that he deals with oni mercilessly in cold blood.
The early work of “Kaen Majin” was published in 1987 and the newest “Kaen Majin – Exorcism of Oni–” in 2013, and the pictures have changed in style.
However, her drawings are essentially dark, emphatically monochrome of black and white. Her style reminds readers of ink drawing, giving oriental flavor, and combined with her unique world view, it invites the readers deep into the story.
Her style has given great influence to later generations of mangaka by materializing mystery and fantasy similar to traditional Japanese supernatural stories called “kaidan”.
As the roots of this “paranormal action” manga, one may find a group of novels written by “Baku Yumemakura” and “Hideyuki Kikuchi”.
Other than producing manga, she sometimes works on the original stories of manga including “Ghost Talker’s Daydream” and “DRAW Majo no Nemuru Umi de (In the Sea where a Witch Sleeps)”.
However, the number of her works is small and several works are incomplete as well.
As for “Kaen Majin”, the 3 works in the series were published from different publishers as long as 26 years after the original, and this is an unusual situation.
However, the fact she can present a new work 26 years after the original is a proof that this work “Kaen Majin” and other works of Saki Okuse are quality pieces that enjoy good reputation.