I'd forgotten how much I liked shoujo manga. Give me romance and drama any day! To be honest, if it wasn't for some glaring problems, I'd have given this book five stars.
The premise of Black Bird
is a bit weird. Basically, 'Misao is the bride of prophecy whose blood gives power to the demon who claims her. But most demons want to keep her power for themselves - by eating her! Now Misao is just trying to stay alive...' There is also a demon called Kyo who was Misao's first love when they were small children, and he has returned insisting he wants to marry her.
So, lots of potential for drama, smut (Kyo heals her by licking her wounds... yep.) and romance, and Black Bird
certainly delivers (if we hold off on the 'romance' part for now; it's a little early in the series). I really found myself sucked in by the story, and I liked Misao as a heroine. Sure, she can't really stand up for herself against demons and cries a lot, but she has no problem slapping Kyo when he gets too handsy. Which, you know, he deserves. XD
Obviously, there are some issues with the plot because what Kyo is doing could very easily turn into sexual assault, but he does seem to be determined to get her consent before actually 'making love' (in his words) to her. To be honest, it's a fine line and I think Sakurakoji is just on the right side of it. We'll see how long that lasts (though the fact Misao is crying on almost all of the covers makes me inclined to believe it won't /cynic hat). I'm a bit wary of any book with the potential to trigger bad memories, so I will stop reading if it gets too, well... much
There are also some issues with scene transitions. Sometimes it's too choppy and it made me feel like I'd missed something (not helped by the paranoia I have because some pages in my copy are loose ;_;). I also want to know more about how Misao's been coping with being able to see demons, as we only get some brief flashbacks (and they're mainly to do with Kyo).
Aside from that, I love the artwork and the style. There are moments of drama and, thankfully, humour, which I hope continues through the series as it promises to get quite dark.
Best of all, the characters are developed and few enough that I don't find myself confused. I particularly like Taro, a cute little child Tengu in Kyo's service. :) Kyo is also rather pleasing to look at (as is Kuzunoha, a kitsune), but his personality is not that desirable. Hopefully he'll grow as a character or it will be very disappointing.
I'm going to read the rest of the series, because I really enjoyed this first volume, so I'm hoping that a) the line is not crossed and b) Sakurakoji gets better with the choppy scene transitions.
Anyone who loves shoujo manga should at least give this a go, but be aware it's rated for older teens and up due to some erotic moments and blood. Sometimes together. o.o