Geishas are an icon of Japanese culture that, although their heyday is long post, continues to fascinate Westerners to this day. If you’ve wondered about the lives of these flowers of Japan’s bygone pleasure districts, you may want to consider Chika Shiomi’s historical/time slip manga, Yukarism. Read on for my review of Volume 2. (For my review of Volume 1, click here.)
Things get more interesting for Yukari with the arrival of his temporary housekeeper Katsuhiko Satomi, but they get really interesting for Satomi and Mahoro. Before, Yukari merely saw hints of previous lives manifesting in their reincarnated souls. Now, old grudges actually impact the present when Satomi and Mahoro meet.
Possessed is probably the most accurate way to describe what happens to the two. Not only does their old hatred consume them, the skills of their previous lives manifest despite neither having trained in swordsmanship or magic. However, Mahoro and Satomi are only vaguely aware of what’s happening. One moment they’re literally trying to kill one another, and the next they snap back to their senses, embarrassed and apologizing profusely. These moments of possession occasionally have a comic effect, but for the most part, it’s creepy, especially with Shiomi-sensei’s illustrations of black magic in the background.
Yukari’s forays to the past also take on a different tone. Before, his episodes in Yumurasaki’s body were merely amusing, but that changes when he returns to the Edo period and finds himself in bed with witch doctor Takamura. (Ummm… yeah. Yumurasaki’s a courtesan, and even though all the vital parts are covered, it’s pretty obvious what Takamura’s trying to do in that scene). Yukari confesses to Takamura that he is Yumurasaki’s reincarnated soul, and being a magician, Takamura understands that it’s true. The interaction that follows not only causes Yukari to question his original preconceptions about Takamura, it helps him understand himself better as a reincarnated being.
Another character whose image gets shattered in this volume is Mahoro. The narrative reveals chilling details about her background. She’s definitely not the person Volume 1 led readers to believe she was. Yukari remains ignorant of what Mahoro’s truly capable of but given the irrepressible hate between her and Satomi, I doubt that will remain the case for long.
Extras include a bonus one-page manga, translation notes, and author bio.
For Yukari to investigate Yumurasaki’s death isn’t particularly gripping when s/he’s already been reincarnated, but when the hostilities of the past invade Yukari’s present life, the story gets a lot more compelling. In addition, Shiomi-sensei throws readers for a loop by blowing apart some of the assumptions of Volume 1. The story occasionally takes on the flavor of a horror flick when the Kazuma/Takamura feud reasserts itself in the present, but Yukari’s interactions with the past now actually take on meaning and purpose.
First published at The Fandom Post.