Mythical Beast Investigator, Vol. 1

By Keishi Ayasato and Koichiro Hoshino. Released in Japan as “Genjuu Chousain” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Famitsu Comic Clear. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Angela Liu. Adapted by Ysa McFarlane.

As if the shot of the adorable young woman sitting politely in the forest with her red-eyed demon flayer behind her weren’t reason enough to believe this might be a wee bit darker than expected, it’s also written by the person who wrote Torture Princess. Then again, that may actually be par for the course in this genre. We’ve seen an extensive amount of “cute young thing is introduced to (or is already part of) supernatural world manga series, and almost all of them tick the ‘darker than they seem’ box. The Ancient Magus’ Bride, The Girl from the Other Side, etc. The world is filled with wonders, but the world can also easily kill you – or worse. Fortunately for THIS world, we have Ferry, the titular investigator, who is traveling the countryside looking for villages that are having issues with monsters and fixing them, along with her bodyguard Roxy Music… erm, sorry, Kushuna, who seems to be a monstrous rabbit demon.

Ferry, of course, will tell you she’s not an Official, just a Member of the investigative team. That said, she certainly has the knowledge and will to do a good job. The first part of the story concerns a wyvern that is rampaging in a village, which is unusual for this sort. Ferry quickly finds that the wyvern had a “ribbon maiden” by its side, and that she was very quickly sold out to bandits by the “save our own hides” villagers. As such, well, the wyvern is upset. Fortunately, Ferry also has Kushuna, who is theoretically more cynical and hard-boiled than she is, and tells the wyvern to essentially stop throwing a temper tantrum and go and rescue his girl. This actually turns out to be a running theme of the manga, as we run into some other villages that instinctively fear and despise monsters and beasts, only to find either a) they’re not as bad as feared, or b) they were never dangerous to begin with.

This does change with the final story, which also serves to give us a cliffhanger. Here we have an actual beast that is killing young children, and the father of one of these children bent on revenge. One of the really nice things about this series is showing off how Ferry thinks about her job and how to do it, and that it’s not merely “stop the problem”. In this case, that’s part of it, but she also needs to help the father work through his grief and do so in a way that is not “after I kill this monster, I will die”. Kushuna is there to do Ferry’s dirty work, but the good thing about Ferry is that she is well aware that the dirty work exists – he’s not protecting an innocent or anything. Ferry just happens to be very, very good at her job. Or at least, I am assuming so, unless she gets eaten by the water horse, which is the cliffhanger.

If you enjoy these sort of pastoral fantasy monster sort of tales that Seven Seas has created a niche market for, this is another good entry. I’ll be getting the next volume.