Yurara by Chika Shiomi (amazon.com)
Now that I’ve read the first volume of Yurara, I’ve read all three series by Chika Shiomi, who has achieved a publishing trifecta of having three series being released in English by three different publishers. Yurara is starting her first day of high school, but as she is approaching the school gates she sees a mournful spirit. She can see and feel the emotions of ghosts, and when she’s forced to pass by the crying ghost she bursts into tears in sympathy. This isn’t the best way to start off a new year, and it is made worse when she gets to her desk and sees an angry female ghost hovering over her assigned seat. Yurara’s seatmates are two of the most handsome boys in school. Mei can fight ghosts with fire, and Yako creates water barriers that ghosts can’t penetrate. Mei is extremely flirtatious while Yako is more aloof and sarcastic when he isn’t trying to creep people out by telling creepy ghost stories. As the boys start to realize that Yurara can see ghosts too, the three students together start investigating some of the paranormal incidents at their school.
Yurara discovers that not only can she see and communicate with ghosts, she’s protected by a guardian spirit who can send the ghosts to heaven. She has an interesting kind of not-quite spirit possession – when the guardian spirit acts, Yurara’s appearance changes, but she’s still herself, just a more self-assured, aggressive version of herself. Mei is instantly attracted to the more mature version of Yurara that he sees when her guardian spirit takes over. As the guardian spirit continues to act, Yurara becomes more self-confident in daily life.
Yurara was published later than Night of the Beasts and Canon, and in some ways it seems a more commercial than Shiomi’s earlier works. Yurara, Mei, and Yako seem a little more like typical shoujo character types, but I’m still interested in seeing what happens to them as they fight off ghosts at their high school.