Two days ago I finally finished Black Bird! I actually started this manga a few years back, when I really became interested in manga. But at that time the manga was still incomplete. I read all the chapters that were out, but then I decided to wait because I did not want any cliffhangers. So the other day I just though of this manga and before I knew it, I had read it all from the beginning.
This review will be a little different than what I usually do. This post will contain spoilers, but I also want people who wish to have a spoiler free review to be able to read this. So when spoilers occur, I will italic it, and you can just scroll over the paragraph and continue reading the none spoiler paragraphs. The reason I am doing this is because there is different things I want to comment about in the manga, but I also want this review to be helpful for people who have not read it.
So Black Bird is basically about the young girl Misao Harada. Since she was little she has been able to see demons, which obviously other people can not see. This has caused her to get bullied and having none to very few friends. However, when she turns sixteen, things are getting even worse. It turns out that Misao is the rare “Bride of Prophecy”, also known as “The Senka” or “The Holy Fruit”. With her blood that grants incredible powers and flesh that gives immortality, monsters are trying to eat her. Moreover, a man name Kyou Usui, suddenly claims that he is her childhood friend and also the only one who can protect her. What will Misao do?
NB! Readers should be 15 years old or older to read this manga, it is marked as smut!
I know, this sounds awfully like a typical, cliche shoujo manga. And yes, some aspect of the manga is, but that is not all to Black Bird. The heroine starts off by being a typical sixteen high school girl, who is fragile and know nothing about the situation. But as dangerous situations happens one after another, she becomes more clever and brave. What I like about Misao is that she does not cry and wait for her prince to rescue her (even though she did that in the beginning and does cry a lot in the manga, but who could really blame her). She also wants to protect the persons dear to her, and not only getting protected.
Spoiler: It does annoy me that Misao did not try to learn some sort of self defense techniques or improve herself more after she found out that she was useless, because she could not help fighting or help the ones that got hurt.
We meet a lot of different characters in the Black Bird. The most important characters were well built and (most of the characters had a dark) background that explained their behavior. Their background stories were also shown, even if it was just briefly, making it easier to understand the story. I think the exit and the role for support characters could have been done better. When new characters are introduced, they often just suddenly disappear from the story when they have fulfilled their purpose (or just reappears when they are useful again). It would be nice if there was a better exit/transition for the support characters.
The story might not sound that complicated, but the fact that Misao is the Senka will lead to many, many obstacles. Some ends up with a happy-ish outcome, while others have an unfortunate ending. I think the different events that happens in Black Bird clearly has a read-thread, which is good.
Spoilers (next four paragraphs are spoilers): In the beginning Kyou and Misao knew that it would be dangerous to embrace each other more than once, so why did they frigging do it that many times? I understand that Misao wanted to feel Kyou’s touch, while Kyou wanted to avoid physical contact, because it would be hard to restrain himself. But a hug or a kiss once a while would not be that big deal would it? And then they suddenly decide to screw it and handle the problem when it occurs? -_-
I also I did not really like that Misao got pregnant. The reason she got pregnant is because they did it so many times after Shou died. When I first read that scene I was going with the flow and did not think about it that much. But thinking back now ಠ_ಠ …. I do not think it makes sense to mourn over a (dead) person like that.
I find it a little disappointing that Misao’s parents did not know the truth about Kyou and herself. Misao’s mother do get to know that Kyou is not a human and have wings, but I would like to have a chapter where Misao’s father get to know it and throws a tantrum. What about Sou, do they know he is a tengu? O.o
And I hate that we did not get to see the wedding! I know with her current state it will be nearly impossible for Misao to walk down the aisle, but I would love to see her getting a ring. She should have asked for it when Kyou said he would by her two birthday presents!
What I liked about the manga is the fantasy and supernatural elements! (I really like wings and fox demons :3 ). The art in the manga is also very nice! It is quite detailed, with the author’s own signature drawing techniques. Moreover, it does not scream shoujo style all the way, it does have a lot of feminine details (like the sakura petals, which is drawn beautifully btw), but it also got some shounen feelings towards it.
I know that there are a lot of opinions on this manga. Some like it while other hate it, and I just think it really depends on the person. I think the manga is quite good, but not flawless as things could have been executed better. This is not usually the type of manga I read, I mean the smut tag, but I did enjoy reading it. And even though Black Bird is marked as tragedy, and there a two main support characters that dies, it is not really that sad because you understand their death was the only solution.
Spoiler: What I find a little bit funny and weird, is that I was not really against Shou being killed by Kyou. When I read Black Bird for the first time, I came where Shou asked Kyou to kill him (or something like that), and I was hoping there were another way. But this time when I read the manga I was not frustrated when Kyou slashed him. The reason is probably because I got to know that Shou was actually dead. It is sad that he had to die (again) and did not really have a nice life when he lived, but I think he would have suffered more if he lived one.
So overall I would say that Black is quite good. The art is nice and detailed. The are different characters, which we get to know better through their background story. There are a lot of things that happens in the manga, some good some bad. And it got a quite satisfying ending. Read the manga if you like reading smut, fantasy, supernatural, having a weak-yet not so weak main character and believing in love.
Spoilers (coming four paragraphs are spoilers, but a little bonus at the end): It was good that Misao did not die! I did see it coming, but I could not be 100% sure until they said it in the manga. I feel the transitions in the last chapters with the flashbacks and the present time was a little bit choppy.
I was a little bit disappointed on how Kyou’s father did not play a bigger role. Like he just disappeared after losing his arm, and suddenly reappearing saying he could kill Sou if Kyou wished for it and thanking Misao for keeping the baby. It is also a pity that Kyou did not get a better relationship with his father.
Speaking of being a father. I was (again) a little bit disappointed that Kyou did not behave more lovingly towards Sou. I know that he still struggles when seeing Misao sleeping, thinking she has passed out or something. And he also have a hard time grasping that Misao is in fact alive. But I think 6 years of a time skip might have been too long for not accepting the facts that I mentioned over. I understand if it was 2 or 3 years, but 6 seems a little bit too long.
I would also like to see Sagami acting like a father towards his children. We only got to know he got children but not how he treat them. I would love to see that! XD
It was not satisfying how Misao did not really get to do anything with her life. She quit high school before graduation and she does not really help out in the village. I mean as the village chief’s wife, would she not have to do some tasks beside giving birth and raise a heir? Speaking of female, there were not really any strong female characters, except for Ren in the manga. But we did not even manage to see her in action… (＝д＝) And why were there not any female Tengu fighters? While we are at female tengus, Ayame is a tengu right? Why does she not have any wings? Is it because she was very sick? Urgh… so many unanswered questions..
Bonus for coming so far! 😀 :
I wish that I had a boyfriend who loves me as much as Kyou loves Misao! T^T Just look at that heroic catch! And their expressions are hilarious! XD