Baketeriya

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Epimondas's avatar
Jan 6, 2017

Baketeryia has a fairly unique spin on the monster world meeting humans theme.  The story flows pretty well.  Most characters are terrible upon initial introduction and actually for a few chapters before they change.  We, the readers, are lead to believe that the main character Kamitani is accepted into a prestigious school just to be consumed.  It is true and not so true but you will find out when you read it.  

Misasagi first appears practically the incarnation of hell but eventually reveals herself to be much more.  Still starting out with such animosity and even sadism among so many lead characters is pretty touchy.  Even Misasagi's father is pretty screwed up and tries to do some pretty aweful things even to his own daughter.  It is not easy to look past that first impression and I expect few will be able to since that first impression does show all their darksides and will leave you believing they are too strongly affected by this darkside to be redeemed.  As the story progresses, it becomes murky and difficult to know who to trust.  We eventually are treated to some in depth back stories through flashbacks and dreams but that hardly clarifies the weirdness that opens the story or for that matter why it was even necessary to 'feed' the yokai.  This is partly because Misasagi's father has a different approach that is in one sense worse and in another sense simpler and more effective.  

Most of the series is spent with the lead characters 'hunting' for more yokai to add to the family collection.  When the ending comes, it has alot of build up as if you will be treated to a epic dramatic and powerful climatic ending, but that does not happen.  What the reader is lead to believe will occur in the ending instead of the expected earth shattering explosion of a climax we get a puff of smoke from a weak cap gun.  The ending is sadly, horrible, and not only leaves the reader hanging since much more was expected but raises many more questions than the entire series generated about the world this story takes place in.  

The nature of the flashback is only overshadowed by the even more confusing nature of what happens to Kamitani that leaves him in an embarressing pose.  This is because it seems to happen the next day after a challenge is made by Misasagi's father.  What was supposed to have been a punishment if Kamitani failed the challenge appears to happen the very next day instead of at the end of the year like the challenge dictated.  Such a bizarre twist only leaves readers confused since it contradicts itself so completely.

I can't say the characters are aweful but I also can't say they are great.  Since most start out so bad and leave a funny aweful taste in your mouth throughout the series cause you can never be sure what their true nature is, good or bad.  Readers will only be confused by most of the characters.  Ichi, Misasagi, and Kamitani have the best development and strongest characters but at the same time it is hard to see much substantial about them that is worthy of a long manga series.

The art is not bad but at times the proportions and perspectives of things look a bit amaturish and out of step with most of the manga.  Some scenes it is hard to tell what is going on at all.  The story suffers heavily because of the horrible unsatisfactory ending especially after the reader is treated to so many clues hinting at a much more dramatic epic ending.  This is strengthened by the fact that the ending story arc is 3 mangas long, further hinting at it's supposed epic nature.  The story has a few plot holes as well such as: why they eat?; why one human can satisfy all of them somehow? (this is even suggested early on when they try to eat him so there is no spoiler here); what it is they are actually eating from him? (That is murky at best); why the weird family backstory that seemed to come out of nowhere? (Sorry but it does kind of come out of left field, it is pretty good, but lacks sufficient foreshadowing to work as well as it could); Why what worked to end the last story arc, did work?  (It just seemed way too simple and honestly did not justify needing that many pages or manga to tell it); and what the yokai do when not hanging around (I wonder if other humans even see them but there is so little interaction even if some do it could be special people but the lack of interaction makes it harder to know for sure.)  More questions come up after the ending that add much more confusion.  

** Spoiler Open **

What it is the yokai eat within Kamitani is never really made clear but I get the impression it is some kind of emotional stress that builds up as a sort of mass of energy by which the yokai feed on.  One question I ponder is why do the yokai vanish at the end?  Why was there a rivalry for romantic interest in Kamitani if all the yokai were gonna vanish anyway?  

** Spoiler close **

Overall, it might be enough to alieve boredom but if you are looking for a great story or outstanding art or anything more than what is essentially a very short story stretched out, then you should keep looking.  The ending makes it feel like a short story more than anything but other factors are: how few manga there are; how many manga the last arc is but how short and simple the story/message delivered is in comparison; and how few story arcs there are until the end.

4/10 story
6/10 art
5/10 characters
5.8/10 overall
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