Manga: The Great Yokai War: Guardians Vol. 2

Order

The Great Yokai War: Guardians Vol. 2


English Comic Title

The Great Yokai War: Guardians 2

Authors:

Yusuke Watanabe (English translation by Motoko Tamamuro and Jonathan Clements)

Pencils:
Inks:
Colors:
Language:
Release:
Publisher
:
Pages:

Sanami Suzuki
Sanami Suzuki
-
Japanese
2023
Titan Manga
164

Covers:

Sanami Suzuki

Comic

Review

By: Andrew Sudomerski

I've sung my praises before in the previous review, but I feel it's warranted. The first The Great Yokai War: Guardians volume does a great job at fleshing out what the movie failed to present, it gave me a lot of hope that the second volume will continue to maintain the level of quality presented.

So the real question is, how does it fare? The simple answer in many respects is still just as well-paced and better than how the movie comparatively handled its plot threads and ideas. The plot simultaneously both narrows down the needed beats that play off each other nicely between Kei's search and Dai's guidance to revive Daimajin. An excellent read by all accounts, and I find it hard to really elaborate on something that isn't just a mirror of what Nick has already covered in his review of the Japanese release of the second part – but I'll toss in a couple cents of my own.

I find myself in awe at how much material the manga retains from the movie, but frames it in a fresh and interesting perspective and with better execution. The cursed name element, for example, was clumsily handled within how the movie executes it, forging it as an excuse to weaken the Fox Lady in order for Kei to save them with the awakened power of Watanabe no Tsuna. But the manga is able to take the idea of a "cursed name" and really tie it in thematically, asking if one is defined by their very name (be it the literal meaning to a name, or what the family name carries, particularly for the Watanabes as a lineage from a yokai hunter). It gives this arbitrary concept a sense of narrative weight I found myself delightfully impressed by. Once again, the characters and their respective stories I think are ultimately well-handled. The somewhat deceptive nature of the yokai guiding Dai I just find to be a great interpretation all around, doing everything in their power to get Dai to revive Daimajin really paints them in a different light (even if they themselves aren't malicious, just desperate to stop the Yokaiju). All the plot threads and character motivations sync up far better compared to the movie version and are just better integrated for a more compelling story.

And to acknowledge my previous gripe of text formatting–as minor as it is–it didn't stick out to me as much this time, thankfully. The times where the text does feel smaller than the bubble feels more intentional, as if to better give the impression of a large, cavernous space to sell the atmosphere on. Maybe a couple of spots, but again, not super distracting this time around.

With the third and final volume around the corner (being released May 14th, 2024), I eagerly await to see how the story ultimately concludes. Hopefully, it doesn't disappoint–but given the track record of the first two volumes, I have high faith that will not be the case.