If you’re looking for a Manga that is fun, interesting, and beautifully drawn, you should check out March Story! But readers beware!This manga is in the horror section for a reason. Dark themes, jaded pasts, and nudity run amok in these books, but you’ll find that they are nicely balanced out with an overlying theme of hope and redemption.
March Story is set in an 18th century England that is plagued by demons called ill who overtake a host after they have touched an object possessed by one. After possessed, the host will commit generally awful acts, such as killing their entire family, scalping people for funsies, or bathing in a bath full of blood to retain youth (very Elizabeth Bàthory). Enter March, a Ciste Vihad charged with either exorcising the ill or killing the host, depending on whether or not they have taken a life yet.
For the first part of volume one, the reader believes that March is a boy. It shows it’s pale gender bender colors, however, when it is revealed later in the book that March is, in fact, a girl. It’s not clear in the beginning why she would dress up as a boy. After all, her mentor is a very large woman named Jake who wields a giant axe as well as any lumberjack, so obviously it’s fine to be a Ciste Vihad and a female.
It’s not until later chapters that the dark past of March is revealed along with the curse that makes her powerful enough to offer hope to others while at the same time stripping it from herself. With nothing but blackness behind her, and a bleak future of loneliness stretching ahead she seems to find happiness only in helping others and her friendship with Jake and Rodin, an incorrigible shop owner who threatens to send her into madness with the love he could offer.
Illustrator Hyung-min Kim‘s artwork is beautiful. The vines that March uses to incapacitate and exorcise the ill are breathtaking in their detail every time. He does not shirk on the background art and his drawing style meshes wonderfully with Kyung-il Yang’s narration.
If you like your heroes Dark Knight style, you should definitely check out Hyung-min Kim and Kyung-il Yang’s manga. March Story has three volumes released in the United States currently, and a fourth volume is expected.
If you get squeamish at bloodshed, crying children, or revealed nipples you might think about passing. Though the story line that provides plenty of angst with a good side of redemption and the promise to love might just help you see past all that. I, for one, thought that it only added to the experience, and really, who minds so much blood and nudity when it’s drawn so expertly and with such care?