FAIRY CUBE by Kaori Yuki
Shojo Beat, 3-volume manga series
More than once I’ve bemoaned the length of some manga series. Bleach and Rurouni Kenshin jump immediately to mind. . . . As much as I want to purchase and read them in their entirety, I simply can’t afford to do so. Besides which–at least in the case of Bleach–the series is still ongoing, which only makes the prospect of reading all of it even more impossible in the short term.
On the other hand, the benefit to these lengthy series is that you get to spend a long time with the characters. That’s something that I think Fairy Cube would have benefited from, even though Kaori Yuki’s original purpose with this manga was to write a shorter series.
Ian Hasumi has seen fairies his entire life. No one has ever believed him except his childhood friend Rin, whom he meets again at school after having been separated from her for many years. Just as Ian is developing a romantic attachment to Rin, he is attacked by his father who is under the influence of the doppelganger Tokage, whom only Ian can see. When Tokage takes over Ian’s body, Ian seeks the help of the mysterious shopkeeper Kaito and the fairy Ainsel. With their assistance, he borrows the body of a deceased elementary school student and seeks to regain control of his true body. In the process, however, other mysteries are uncovered, as is a plot to bring the world of the fairies and the world of humans back into coexistence.
Initially, I thought that this would go right along with Kaori Yuki’s other series, and in many ways it does. There are still a plethora of family issues, though the parental situation is not what it initially seems. Still, compared to something like Godchild, it’s fairly light and comes to a reasonably happy ending. In volume three we even get the short story “Psycho Knocker,” which follows two of the characters from Fairy Cube on a spin-off adventure.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind reading more stories like “Psycho Knocker,” considering that those two characters aren’t as heavily explored in Fairy Cube. This brings me to my major issue with the series, which even Kaori Yuki notes in one of her sidebars. The story is so focused on the relationship between Ian and Rin that the other relationships (which are potentially more interesting) are allowed to pass by the wayside. And, of course, since this series is so much shorter than her others, there wouldn’t have been time to explore them even if she wanted to.
Now, don’t get me wrong–I like Fairy Cube, and I realize that in every story the author must choose what to focus on at the expense of other things. In this case, it was Ian and Rin. But I was much more interested in Ian and Tokage. Or even just Tokage on his own. And don’t get me started on Kaito and Raven. There are a few dozen things I want to see explained about their relationship. Frankly, the backstory scenes between the two of them didn’t do nearly enough to satisfy my curiosity (or to clarify certain events).
But we can’t have everything we want, and in terms of whether you should read Fairy Cube–I would say yes. I realize that not everyone is trying to read the Kaori Yuki oeuvre, but even so Fairy Cube is intriguing, action-packed, and short. It won’t take up much of your time, but what it does take up will be enjoyable.