Hanako and the Terror of Allegory Volume 2 by Sakae Esuno
I had mixed feelings about the first volume of this manga but I enjoyed the second volume a lot, mostly due to the opening story which was funny and provided an interesting twist on what happens when you make a bargain with the devil. Allegory detective agency office girl Kanae becomes a victim of an allegory yet again when she drunkenly wishes to become an idol singer when she’s out doing karaoke in the presence of two mirrors turned towards each other, thus summoning “the demon in the mirror”. She wakes up the next morning to find that she’s become a star despite the fact that she can’t sing and her signature song has extremely lame lyrics “I am not powerless! Ya can’t look away! Because my rack won’t let ya!”
Aso and Hanako get to work on trying to save Kanae but when she realizes that she’s been possessed by an allegory she decides to torment it by escalating her demands of superstardom more and more until the allegory finally begs to be released from her. At the end of the story we see a glimse of a budding romance between Kanae and Aso, as when told that when she wakes up nothing from her idol days will have happened she decides to give Aso a kiss on the cheek. This story was amusing, providing Esuno an opportunity to comment on pop idols. I especially liked all the baffled newspaper headlines that detailed Kanae’s rise to stardom.
Other stories in the collection include “Teke Teke” about allegory attacks that might actually be part of a complicated suicide pact, a story about a girl who ends up reuniting her family after her allegorical attack, and the ouija boardish Kokkuri-san. While Hanako and the Terror of Allegory is very episodic, there are suggestions of more of an ongoing storyline as Hanako confronts Kanae about Aso’s true nature. As Aso continues to investigate allegories, his existence is being changed. While Kanae might hope for a romance with him, it might not be possible.
This is a good example of why I generally like to read a couple volumes of manga before deciding to give up on a series. I enjoyed this much more than the first volume. I generally don’t tend to stick with monster of the week manga series for very long, but I’m curious to find out what is going to happen to Aso as he deals with his allegorical detective cases and the loss of his humanity.
Review copy provided by the publisher.