Name: Lawrence Brenner
Title: Kasumi Volume 2
Author: Mizutaka Suhou
Publisher: Del Rey
Age Rating: T Ages 13+
Star Rating: 3
Kasumi is a nice story that draws you in. Let me start with the extras first and what I like about them. As is more or less a standard, upon opening the volume (assuming it is opened the right way of course, haha) you are greeted by the explanation of the honorifics that are used. Here I learned that “-hime” at the end of a girl’s name means princess which take note, I think would be a nice complement to give a girl.
I like how at the end of the volume where they explain the cultural references and terms they use a character from the series. I find this to be a nice personal touch to connect more with readers. I find it always interesting to learn these nice little cultural aspects and it is even more fun to learn this from a character. This said I would like to see the page numbers where the references are located so I can look them up again, but that would imply that the volume had page numbers, which it does not. (I like having page numbers.) After the Reference pages (which is refered to as “Yuuta’s Guide to Japanese Words and Culture”) there is a funny two page “SugiCon” section, which is followed by “Character Profiles.”
Now I like character profiles for a few reasons: I am a cosplayer and I always like having nice reference images to base any potential cosplays off of (as many of us do), and this volume provides some nice ones for both male and female characters. These grayscale images are especially great for MangaNEXT’s Cosplay Grayscale Contest (http://www.manganext.org/contests) as they are a complete body shot. (Full disclosure, I am AnimeNEXT and MangaNEXT staff.) The next reason I like character profiles is that it gives you an insight into the characters that you may or may get from just reading the story.
As for the story, page one is a recap of what happened in the last volume, which sets up for the events of this volume where we begin to learn the importance that Kasumi has in the Kasumi universe. This is where the story really picks up and major forces of mystical power become involved. In a way, it reminds of the One Ring from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as she is a girl who can turn invisible, but she and her abilities are far more reaching and important than just being able to turn invisible, just like in The Lord of the Rings. And through all this are all the things that most people probably hated about high school, all the silly power plays, the clicks, the personalities, and the sheer vindictiveness of people. Which is funny to watch and sometimes compare to people you may actually know. As stated what really interests me is the involvement of the evil spirits and all the potential powers of the “gifted.” I am looking forward to seeing what develops in this series, read it for yourself, and I think you will like it too.