Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 2

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 2Creator: Yak Haibara
U.S. publisher: Udon Entertainment
ISBN: 9781926778594
Released: February 2013
Original release: 2008-2009

Yak Haibara’s four-volume manga series Sengoku Basara 2 is an adaptation of the video game known by the same name. The manga was released in English by Udon Entertainment in two omnibus volumes under the title Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends. The second omnibus, collecting the third and fourth volumes of Haibara’s Sengoku Basara 2 released in Japan in 2008 and 2009 respectively, was published in 2013. The Sengoku Basara franchise had its beginnings in 2005 as a series of video games but it has since spawned multiple manga and anime series among other things. Samurai Legends was actually my introduction to Sengoku Basara as a whole and it stands fairly well as its own work. Prior exposure to Sengoku Basara isn’t really necessary to enjoy or understand Samurai Legends, although it might not hurt to have some basic knowledge of Japan’s Warring States period upon which it is very loosely based.

In the aftermath of the devastating defeat of the armies of both Kai Takeda and Kenshin Uesugi at Kawanaka Island, very little stands between the forces of Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Masamune Date to prevent them from clashing head on. While there are now fewer contenders vying for control over Japan, the battle for supremacy is still fierce. Toyotomi relies on his own power and strength as well as the skills of his master strategist Hanbei Takenaka, destroying anyone and anything in his path and using fear to rule. Date, too, has an excellent strategist in the talented Kojuro Katekura, but his rise to power has been significantly less destructive, at least when compared to that of Toyotomi. Knowing that they must contend with each other, the two warlords have set their sights on Odawara Castle, a fortress that if conquered will grant the victor an immense advantage in claiming Japan as his own.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 2, page 209While Samurai Legends is inspired by actual historical figures and events from Japan’s sixteenth-century, the manga, like the rest of Sengoku Basara, makes no attempt at realism or authenticity. Quite the opposite in fact—the series is deliberately over-the-top and anachronistic. The dialogue and trash talk is very contemporary in its style, giving the characters tremendous attitudes with a modern bent. (“Dude, seriously? You wanna dance with me!?”) Additionally, Date’s army is basically portrayed as a bōsōzoku gang, complete with pompadours, although his forces do ride horses instead of motorcycles. And when it comes to actually battling things out, a frequent occurrence in Samurai Legends, the amount of damaged caused and incurred by the overpowered fighters is impressive to say the least, though hardly believable. But that’s part of what makes Sengoku Basara so great. It’s ridiculous and outrageous.

The first omnibus of Samurai Legend moved fairly quickly from one battle to the next. The second omnibus also as plenty of action, but the pacing doesn’t seem quite as frantic. Haibara takes more time to delve into the personal motivations of the primary players in the series’ conflict, revealing what drives them to conquer and unify Japan. While in the end the characters still aren’t particularly subtle or nuanced, this does provide them with more depth. I appreciate it when there is more complex meaning behind a fight than a simple lust for power; the second omnibus clarifies the underlying purpose of the war, making the battles even more thrilling. Samurai Legends is a bombastic series, and a least one major continuity error does slip in amid all of the excitement. However, I’m actually willing to forgive this simply because the manga is so incredibly entertaining otherwise. In the immortal words of Keij Maeda, “As long as you’re having fun, it’s all good.”

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 1

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 1Creator: Yak Haibara
U.S. publisher: Udon Entertainment
ISBN: 9781926778334
Released: April 2012
Original release: 2007-2008

Sengoku Basara, an outrageous reimagining of the people and events of Japan’s Warring States period, is a franchise that started out as a series of video games but expanded to include manga, anime, and radio shows among other media. Although I have been aware of Sengoku Basara for quite some time, I’ve somewhat surprisingly never actually played any of the games. Instead, my first direct experience with the franchise was through Yak Haibara’s manga series known in English as Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, an adaptation of the second game, Sengoku Basara 2 (which is also the Japanese title of the manga). The first volume of Udon Entertainment’s Samurai Legends was released in 2012. It’s actually an omnibus collecting the first two volumes of the Japanese edition, published in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Normally, I tend to shy away from video game adaptations, often finding them to be less than satisfying, but I liked Haibara’s artwork and so made an exception for Samurai Legends. I’m glad that I did, because the manga is a tremendous amount of fun.

June 2, 1582. Akechi Mitsuhide leads a rebellion against Oda Nobunaga, setting fire to Honnou Temple and burning those inside alive. With Nobunaga dead, Japan’s temporary peace is disrupted as warlords once again battle to gain control over the country. The power vacuum is quickly filled by Hideyoshi Toyotomi with the aid of his impressively skilled strategist Hanbei Takenaka. Currently, they’re in the best position to seize complete control, but they aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the recent upheaval. In the east, the young and brash Masamune Date is itching to make his move, his chance encounter with Shingen Takeda’s protegé Yukimura Sanada spurring him on. Meanwhile, further to the west, Takeda is locked at an impasse with the “God of War” Kenshin Uesugi. While the balance of power is shifting swiftly and dramatically, the appearance of the vagabond Keiji Maeda on the field of war only seems to hasten events.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, Volume 1, page 87The Sengoku or Warring States period was an extremely tumultuous time in Japan, lasting from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries. Conflict was nearly constant as alliances between military factions were repeatedly forged and broken, making for an exciting setting for a franchise like Sengoku Basara. While fairly loose with its interpretation of historical figures and events, one thing is for certain: the action and fighting in Samurai Legends is almost nonstop. It’s also ridiculously over-the-top and over-powered. Characters are incredibly strong and resilient. They each have their own style of fighting and distinctive weaponry that, frankly, are often absurd. I mean, Date fights with three swords in each hand and Takeda’s battle-axe is as big as a horse. And that’s only two examples. Samurai Legends includes anachronisms and is hardly realistic, but the manga’s badassery is bombastic, dynamic, and highly engaging as a result.

Surprisingly enough, there actually is some legitimate history mixed into the raucousness that is Samurai Legends, but the manga was never intended to be a primer or to be taken too seriously. Though I will admit, I do find it much easier to remember who was who historically having been exposed to their highly-fictionalized counterparts. The manga has a very large cast of important and memorable players. Though Date is arguably the lead in the series, every faction involved in the conflict has at least one moment in the series in which it takes precedence. Samurai Legends isn’t particularly subtle or nuanced with its story or characterizations—more often than not it’s just one spectacular fight scene after another—but the manga’s humor and intense drama, exciting action, and sheer audacity have their own charm and appeal. Honestly, I never expected that I would like series as much as I do, but I get a huge kick out of Samurai Legends and find it to to be extraordinarily entertaining.

My Week in Manga: July 14-July 20, 2014

My News and Reviews

Two reviews were posted at Experiments in Manga last week, one of a manga and one not. The first review was part of my Year of Yuri monthly review project. I took a look at Milk Morinaga’s Gakuen Polizi, Volume 1, which is quite different from her other work currently available in English. The first volume at least is less of a romance and more of a buddy cop story, but it’s still fairly entertaining. (She does promise that more of the drama in the second volume will be romance-related and less crime-related, though.)

My second review last week was of Tokyo Demons, Book 2: Add a little Chaos, a novel written by Lianne Sentar with illustrations by Rem. In case it isn’t clear from the review, I absolutely adore Tokyo Demons. It can get pretty dark and heavy, but it’s a fantastic series. The second volume should be available as an ebook later this month and the print edition is currently scheduled for release in October. (Tokyo Demons is one of Chromatic Press and flagship series, so in the meantime it can also be read online at Sparkler Monthly.)

Once again I wasn’t actually online much last week, but I did catch a few things that other people may be interested in: Over at Comics Forum, Martin de la Iglesia writes about Early manga translations in the West. Kate at Reverse Thieves explains How the Library Became My Go-to Place for Manga and Comics. (I posted a bit about finding manga at the library a little while back, too.) And on Twitter, manga scholar and translator Matt Thorn hints that a project with Moto Hagio is in the works. Let’s hope so!

Quick Takes

Honey DarlingHoney Darling by Norikazu Akira. After reading and enjoying Beast & Feast I decided to track down more manga by Akira available in English. This led me to picking up Honey Darling. The manga isn’t the most realistic or believable, but it is cute, delightful, funny, and very sweet. Chihiro is a young man without any real goals in his life until he takes in a stray kitten. When Shiro falls ill, Chihiro ends up working as the live-in housekeeper for Kumazawa, the vet who treats her, and helping out in the animal clinic. Honey Darling has a lot going for it: nice art, a sense of humor, adorable cats and dogs, amusing and ttractive leads, likeable side characters (including women!), and so on. Ultimately Honey Darling is a boys’ love manga, though. As might be expected, Chihiro and Kumazawa become more than just roommates by the time the manga ends, but the development feels more like Akira fulfilling a requirement of the genre rather than being something that was necessarily called for by story itself. Still, I did enjoy Honey Darling a great deal, the two of them made me happy as a couple, and the manga frequently made me smile.

Lone Wolf and Cub, Omnibus 1Lone Wolf and Cub, Omnibuses 1-2 (equivalent to Volumes 1-5) written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima. One of the first manga to be translated into English, Lone Wolf and Cub wasn’t released in its entirety until Dark Horse picked up the license. Sadly, the first Dark Horse edition was tiny and, while extremely portable, was difficult to read because the text was so small and crowded. Additionally, those original twenty-eight volumes have steadily been going out of print. Thankfully, Dark Horse recently started releasing Lone Wolf and Cub in an omnibus format with a larger trim size. Though quite hefty (each omnibus is around 700 pages and collects about two and a half volumes or so), the reading experience is much improved overall. Lone Wolf and Cub is an excellent series, so I’m very glad that the manga will remain in print for a bit longer. The series is fairly episodic, following the titular Lone Wolf and Cub: Ogami Ittō, who once served as the Shogun’s executioner but who has become an assassin-for-hire out of revenge over the destruction of his family, and his young son Diagorō.

Mail, Volume 1Mail, Volumes 1-3 by Housui Yamazaki. Summer is the time for ghost stories in Japan, so I felt it was appropriate to finally get around to reading Mail. I came across this short series thanks to The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service which shares the same illustrator. Reiji Akiba—detective, exorcist, and the protagonist of Mail—actually briefly appears in the fourth volume of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service as well. One of the things that particularly struck me about Mail is how often the stories incorporated modern technology such as cell phones and computers. It’s as though traditional ghost stories and urban legends have been updated for a contemporary audience. Occasionally Akiba will present a sort of prologue to the individual chapters, giving the stories an almost Twilight Zone feel to them. Mail can be legitimately creepy and at times a bit bloody, but gore is not at all the focus of the series. In general Mail is episodic, although the final volume adds a recurring character who becomes Akiba’s assistant as a sort of homage to Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack.

Stone Collector, Book 2Stone Collector, Book 2 written by Kevin Han and illustrated by Zom-J. I want to like Stone Collector more than I actually do, but at this point I can’t really say that I’ve been enjoying the manhwa much at all. It’s not all bad. The artwork in particular has moments when it can be impressively dynamic. The character’s facial expressions are great. Even the basic premise of the story isn’t terrible. As a whole though, Stone Collector just isn’t working for me. Though it moves along quickly, the plot is thin and the characters are underdeveloped, almost as if it’s an outline or draft than a finished product. The second half of the second volume of Stone Collector of is devoted to a side story, “Land of Ice.” I was more interested in “Land of Ice” than the main story more because of its tundra setting than anything else, but it still frustrated me and had many of the same problems that Stone Collector proper has. November 2013 was the last time there was a Stone Collector update. I’m not sure if there are plans to release more (it may simply be that “more” doesn’t exist yet), but the story clearly hasn’t reached its conclusion yet.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai KingsSengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, Season 2 directed by Kazuya Nomura. While I was entertained by the first season of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, I really enjoyed the second season. While there are still fantastically outrageous fights and action sequences, there’s also more focus on the characters and their characterization and on battle strategies and tactics. Personally, I appreciate the added context this gives the series. The characters, who continue to be magnificently and ridiculously overpowered, come across as a bit more human since their pasts and motivations are clearer. Their confrontations carry more emotional weight because of this as well. Miyamoto Musashi makes an appearance in this season, too. I was greatly amused by the fact that he fights with a giant oar. (Legend has it that Musashi once forgot to bring a sword with him to a duel and so carved a bokken out of the oar he used to get there; this why his weapon choice in Samurai Kings is simply perfect.) Samurai Kings is a tremendous amount of fun. Based on a video game that’s nominally based on actual events and historic figures, it’s wonderfully absurd and irreverent.

My Week in Manga: May 19-May 25, 2014

My News and Reviews

After a week full of random musings comes a week full of reviews. Well, that is if you consider two reviews “full.” Either way, there were two reviews posted at Experiments in Manga last week. First up was Lucy Birmingham and David McNeill’s Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Originally released in 2012 as a hardcover, it is now available as a trade paperback. The volume is very approachable and makes an excellent overview of many of the aspects of the March 2011 disaster. As promised, I also reviewed the first omnibus of Takashi Ikeda’s yuri manga series Whispered Words. So far, I’m really enjoying the series (it even has karate in it!), but One Peace Books’ edition is rather disappointing in regards to quality control. Check out the review’s comments for more specific details.

As for other interesting things online: Oishinbo has certainly made some political and social commentary in the past, but the manga recently managed to get suspended amidst nuclear furor. The latest ANNCast features the return of the super manga pals Deb Aoki and Rebecca Silverman. The Gay Manga tumblr has a great post about how language impacts the way that sexuality is thought and talked about, looking at the terms “bara” and “gei” among other things. (The discussion reminded me quite a bit about my random musings on translation and queer theory.) Another fantastic post (well, series of four posts) is Revealing and Concealing Identities: Cross-Dressing in Anime and Manga over at The Lobster Dance. So far, Part 1 and Part 2 have been posted.

Quick Takes

Bunny Drop, Volume 10Bunny Drop, Volume 10 by Yumi Unita. Oh, Bunny Drop. I love parts of the series while other aspects frankly piss me off. I personally don’t mind incest plotlines in my fiction (and technically there’s no incest in Bunny Drop), it’s just that it was handled so incredibly poorly. It’s been a while since a manga has gotten such a visceral reaction from me. But even though Bunny Drop left me seething, I was still looking forward to reading the tenth volume—a collection of short side stories as well as an extensive interview with Unita about the series and its anime adaptation. Most of the volume is devoted to when Rin and Kouki were small (including the story of how he got the scar on his forehead), which I enjoyed. I also rather liked the story that focused on Rin’s mother and the man who would become her husband. However, the final story takes place sometime after Rin and Daikichi are married—a development that I continue to be completely unconvinced by, a sentiment this final story does nothing to alleviate.

Carciphona, Volume 1Carciphona, Volumes 1-4 by Shilin Huang. Another splurge purchase from TCAF, Carciphona is a self-published manga-style series of graphic novels which are also available to read online. It was Huang’s spectacular artwork that caught my eye. (Her artbook Toccata is simply gorgeous.) Though the interior art isn’t as stunning as the series’ covers, it is still excellent. Huang considers herself more of an illustrator than an comics artist; though it was fairly strong to begin with, her storytelling improves greatly from volume to volume. Occasionally Carciphona falls prey to infodumps in order to establish the setting, especially early on in the series, but the worldbuilding and characters are interesting. Carciphona is high fantasy with magic and religion, assassins and political intrigue, and tension between races. The story follows Veloce Visrin, a young, powerful sorceress living in a world where common magic—magic which relies on demonic spirits—has been prohibited. Her life has not been an easy or happy one, so she’s a bit surly (and understandably so), but she is also very loyal and protective of those who become her friends.

Devils and Realist, Volume 1Devils and Realist, Volume 1 written by Madoka Takadono and illustrated by Utako Yukihiro. William Twining comes from a prestigious family and has done everything he can to meet, and surpass, all expectations so as not to disgrace his family’s name. He’s brilliant and at the top of his class…and recently lost most of his wealth due to his uncle’s bankruptcy. Perhaps even more problematic is that he’s somehow also responsible for selecting the next ruler of hell, despite being scientifically minded and refusing to believe in the demons right in front of him who are trying to bribe him. The artwork in Devils and Realist is attractive, though the more action-oriented sequences, while pretty, can be somewhat difficult to follow. It was amusing to see many of the demons introduced become transfer students at William’s school, but personally I’d like to see the story focus less on school antics and more on the struggle for control of hell. Then again, I actually did enjoy the sillier aspects of the manga. Devils and Realist has some potential; I’ll probably be giving it at least one more volume to see which direction it takes.

I've Moved Next Door to YouI’ve Moved Next Door to You by Fuhri Misasagi. There were two things that particularly appealed to me about I’ve Moved Next Door to You and which led me to pick up Misasagi’s boys’ love one-shot: the somewhat “reversible” nature of the characters and their polyamorous relationship. At least it’s described as being a polyamorous relationship—it’s really more of a pseudo-love triangle. Sadly, neither of those things could save this manga for me. With the aid of his secretary Kamoshida (who is in love with him), Takumi has recently moved into a rundown apartment after leaving his company. Up until now he’s led a very privileged and sheltered life and so has no idea how to live on his own. However, his new neighbor Renji is more than happy to help him out, which apparently also includes sexually harassing him any chance he gets. Even though the manga is supposed to be a comedy, tragic backstories are also added to the mess of unbelievable characters and plot. I’ve Moved Next Door to You isn’t sexy or romantic, and it’s not even very funny, though it does try very hard to be all of those things. I can’t say that I enjoyed the manga much at all.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai KingsSengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, Season 1 directed by Itsuro Kawasaki. A little to my surprise, I enjoyed the Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends manga so much that I decided to track down more of Sengoku Basara. I still haven’t gotten around to playing any of the video games, which is where the franchise started, but I have been happily watching the Samurai Kings anime. Sengoku Basara is based on the actual historic figures and events from Japan’s Warring States period, but it is delightfully irreverent and over-the-top with its portrayals. Honestly, Sengoku Basara is ridiculous and doesn’t at all take itself too seriously, but because of that it’s also a tremendous amount of fun. I mean, it has literal battle auras, impossible feats, absurd amounts of damage, nearly indestructible warriors, epic battles, and constantly shifting alliances, not to mention a healthy dose of improbable technology and anachronisms. I get a kick out of it all, though, and find Sengoku Basara to be highly entertaining. Samurai Kings might not be a series that I’ll watch over and over again, but I’ll definitely be checking out the second season.

My Week in Manga: December 2-December 8, 2013

My News and Reviews

I posted two reviews here at Experiments in Manga last week. The honor of the first in-depth manga review for December goes to Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Volume 3: Ramba Ral. The fourth volume in the series is scheduled to be released this month, so I wanted to make sure to catch up with my reviews. Though I wouldn’t call myself a Gundam fan, I’m still really enjoying The Origin manga. The second review was for Ivan Morris’ The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan. Originally published in 1975, the work was recently brought back into print by Kurodahan Press. It’s an extremely illuminating and fascinating volume. I also announced the Fairy Tail Feast Winner last week. In case you’re looking for some epic manga to read, the post also includes a list of series that have had at least thirty volumes published in English.

I’ve come across quite a few manga-related things online recently. Sadly, that includes the news that PictureBox will no longer be releasing any new titles. PictureBox had some fantastic manga releases this year, including the start of the Ten-Cent Manga and Masters of Alternative Manga series. It also released The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame. PictureBox’s closing means that the previously announced anthology Massive: Gay Erotic Manga And The Men Who Make It, originally scheduled for release in 2014, is now in limbo.

In happier news, Manga Bookshelf’s Melinda Beasi was interviewed at Diamond Bookshelf—Understanding Manga: Editor Melinda Beasi Discusses CBLDF Presents Manga. I thought that Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices was a great resource when I read it, so it was interesting to hear about some of the behind-the-scenes work that went into it.

And speaking of interesting interviews, Organization Anti-Social Geniuses has been Talkin’ Seven Seas and Manga Business With Conner Crooks. Crooks is the Social Media Manager at Seven Seas, which has been having a very good year. Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview series are currently available. Part 3 should be posted on Tuesday.

Continuing on with the Seven Seas theme, Sean Gaffney took a look at the publisher’s recently announced licenses over at A Case Suitable for Treatment. And if you’re interested in all of the anime, manga, artbook, and light novels that were licensed in 2013 (as well as related successful crowdfunding projects), Reverse Thieves has you covered with All the Titles Fit to License, 2013 Edition.

Quick Takes

Hero Heel, Volume 2Hero Heel, Volumes 2-3 by Makoto Tateno. Out of the boys’ love manga by Tateno that I have so far read, I think that Hero Heel is probably one of her better works. At least it has some of the most interesting and believable character development. Although that being said, I’m not sure that I’m entirely convinced by the ending, but that might just be because I feel bad for Katagiri. Minami in particular goes through a lot of change as the series progresses. In the first volume he’s almost the villain of the story, blackmailing and forcing his feelings on Sawada. By the end of Hero Heel he’s a much more sympathetic character and has matured significantly. As for Sawada, he comes across as rather harsh from the start, though how much of an asshole he really is isn’t revealed until later. The themes of hero and villain and what it means to be a good person are very prominent in Hero Heel. It’s interesting to see the parallels between the characters that Minami and Sawada play on the superhero show they costar in and their lives off the set.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Short Stories, Volume 2Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Short Stories, Volume 2 by Naoko Takeuchi. For the most part, I think I probably enjoyed the second (and final) volume of Sailor Moon short stories more than I did the first. In general, they don’t rely as heavily on knowledge of the main series; a basic understanding of the Sailor Moon universe is sufficient to follow the short manga in the second collection of stories. Well, at least that’s true for the first two stories. The third short manga “Parallel Sailor Moon” requires a bit more, and even then it’s a really strange, almost nonsensical piece. I much preferred the first two stories in the collection. “Princess Kaguya’s Lover” is the longest and most involved, basically amounting to a one-sided love story between Luna and Dr. Ohzora, an astronomy professor. It has space and astronauts, which I’ll admit to having a fondness for, so that made me happy. (Takeuchi even visited the Kennedy Space Center on a research trip for the story.) “Casa Blanca Memory” is a shorter work featuring Rei, which also made me pretty happy.

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 2Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, Omnibus 2 (equivalent to Volumes 3-4) by Yak Haibara. I get a huge kick out of the Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends manga. I’ve never played Sengoku Basara 2—the video game on which it is directly based (it hasn’t been released in North America)—nor have I seen any of the Sengoku Basara anime (though I may make a point to check it out now), but I do have some familiarity with the Warring States period. Because of the number of characters, battles, alliances, castles and such to keep track of in Samurai Legends, which are all based on historical figures and events, that familiarity has come in handy. Overall, I think the first omnibus of Samurai Legends was a little stronger than the second omnibus. The last half of the series has a few continuity problems in the artwork, and there are some characters who are introduced more because they are a part of the franchise than because they had an important role to play in the manga, but it was still a lot of fun. I really enjoy the series’ over-the-top fights, characters, and dialogue.

Sickness Unto Death, Volume 2Sickness Unto Death, Volume 2 written by Hikari Asada and illustrated by Takahiro Seguchi. Probably because it doesn’t employ nearly as many clichés, the second volume of Sickness Unto Death is much better than the first. Granted, the first volume was needed to set it up the whole scenario; I just think it could have been handled better. But the payoff is mostly satisfying. Even so, the manga still makes me vaguely uncomfortable, and not in the way I think it was intended to. The problem I have with the story of Sickness Unto Death stems from the way Emiru’s case is handled. That Kazuma wants to help and treat her I’m fine with. In fact, there’s some really interesting conflicts of interest and ethical and philosophical questions that arise because of it. At its best, Sickness Unto Death has some marvelously dark psychological elements to it. What particularly bothers me about the series is that Kazuma’s continued “treatment” of Emiru is actually encouraged by his professor, which is highly irresponsible not to mention unprofessional.