Kekkaishi vol. 1 - Yellow Tanabe
By night, junior high student Yoshimori Sumimura is a "kekkaishi" - a demon-hunter who specializes in creating magical barriers around his prey. By day, Yoshimori's got some other demons to battle: an addiction to sweets and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori's pretty 16-year-old neighbour and childhood friend, Tokine Yukimura, is also a kekkaishi, but their families are feuding over who is the true practitioner of the art. Although Yoshimori and Tokine often quarrel, they battle demons side by side almost every night. When the two must confront demon-charmer Yomi and her dysfunctional pet demon Yoki, their partnership is threatened. Can they work together to keep their school from the clutches of a power-hungry monster-and keep their fellow students from noticing? (courtesy of Goodreads)
*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.
Like most early volumes in a series, volume 2 of Kekkaishi is a lot of background material. While background volumes often drag, this volume had enough plot and action that you hardly noticed the substantial amount of background information.
A mysterious girl shows up at Tokine's house saying she was sent to stay with them by the shadow organization. Tokine's grandmother is surprised but admits her into the house. Turns out that Yomi is a demon tamer. The real reason she's here is to take her demon Yoki to Karasumori, where Yoki can grow into a powerful and dangerous demon. Yomi is willing to do anything to help Yoki the demon gain power, including killing Tokine and Yoshimori when they get in her way. Yomi particularly likes to taunt Tokine about her dead father, accusing him of being weak.
What I liked about this volume is that there's an undercurrent of love in many of the characters. Yomi truly loves her demon Yoki. They've been friends for years. Even Yoki the demon has some affection for Yomi. It shows that demons are not simply devilish creatures. I doubt they'll be the heroes of this series, but the series isn't simply black and white. Yoshimori is a kindhearted boy. Brave and willing to kill, but not without thought. He recognizes that some demons or demon tamer may not be worthy of death even if they're bad. In contrast, when the shadow organization shows up to help destroy the demon, they're cold-hearted killers. So the good guys may not be entirely good.
I still can't say that I'm in love with Kekkaishi. But I do like the thought that's gone into this series and the layered characters.