By Hajime Segawa
Genres: Action, Supernatural, Demons, (Comedy), Martial Arts, (School), (Romance)
While many of us will probably scream at even the thought of a ghost being near us, Freshman Nimura Kensuke just thinks of it as a common everyday thing, seeing as how he has the uncanny ability to see so many of them on a daily basis. Things soon heat up for him when he meets a girl who changes his life from then on. Her name is Kagura, and she has the power to summon a mighty “Spirit Devourer”—otherwise known as a “Ga-rei”—called Byakuei. So, what’s Nimura to do? Chase down the evil spirits and and have Kagura summon the Ga-rei to devour them, of course! Now, come feast on their adventures like some ravenous Ga-rei!
Even though the introduction makes the impression that this manga is an episodic-styled, comedic, and typical ghost-exterminating story, it is really not. Ga-rei really is a plot-intensive (heavily involved in a lot of mysteries of the past), action-packed, and intense light-romance manga.
In fact, I call the broad category of manga that possess the level of intensity in works such as Ga-rei: epicness! Seriously. Just when the protagonist fell into an absolutely despairing situation, Kensuke always does something epic that saves the day. Anyways, that feeling just can’t be put into words…
Another one of the biggest strengths that Ga-rei has is the way it narrates the story. Instead of the usual “third-person” narrative, it uses “first-person” narrative, which is rare in manga. The advantages of latter choice is expressing the protagonist’s thoughts and emotions directly in the manga panels. In this case, Segawa does this extremely well because the sentiments of the protagonist feel real, and his thoughts are what any normal person would think under those situations. Soon, audiences are pulled into Kensuke’s thought, and this is part of what leads to Ga-rei’s epicness.
The art in this manga is also refreshing, although whether I wouldn’t know whether this novelty is a good or bad thing for readers. For me, it is a plus. I liked how the mangaka would draw the lines and curves slightly thicker than others.
For the finishing touch, all good plot-heavy action manga should have some romance between main characters in the mix (the opinion of my teenager self), Ga-rei is no exception. It is not a lovey-dovey romantic tangle. But, you know, the male character saved the female character from absolute death for a few times, and vice versa. Plus, there is a satisfying enough romantic conclusion for the couple. All is well.