This week Manga Monday starts up once again with a quick look at the first volume of a Shonen Jump manga – Kekkaishi.

Title: Kekkaishi, Volume 1
Story And Art by Yellow Tanabe
Translated by Yuko Sawada
Adaptation by Shaeon Garrity

The Premise

Yoshimori Sumimura is a “Kekkaishi” or barrier master. he generates magical barriers that he uses to exorcise demons and youkai (Japanese fae folk). By day he attends a junior high school – one that’s attached to the high school that his childhood friend Tokine Yukimura attends. Yukimura is another Kekkaishi, but her family has been at odds with Sumimura’s family for generations. Additionally, Yoshimori doesn’t want to follow in the family business, instead wanting to be a p√Ętissier instead. This puts him at odds with his grandfather, who has already chosen him to be the family’s successor.

High Points

The barrier master powers are used in some really creative fashions in this manga.

Low Points

There is just no sense of dramatic tension in this book. It’s not that the stakes are low, it’s that the stakes aren’t there at all.

Scores

Originality: This is certainly different from the supernatural action shonen manga I’ve read in the past, for good and for ill. 4/6

Artwork: The art is nothing special, but not horrible either. 3/6

Story: This is pretty bland. At least Naruto and Bleach had set up some sort of future conflict or antagonist by this point, even if it wasn’t the ongoing thrust of the story’s narrative (Naruto having to contend with the Nine-Tailed Fox imprisoned within him, and Ichigo having to take on the Hollow that killed his mother). Here, there’s absolutely nothing. 2/6

Characterization: Yoshimori Sumimura is pretty well fleshed out, but that’s about it. 3/6

Emotional Response: I’m not even sure I want to read the next volume, that’s how dull this one was. 2/6

Flow: 6/6

Overall: This is an incredibly underwhelming book. 2/6

In total, Kekkaishi – Volume 1, gets 22/42.