The focus of this week is Iou Kuroda’s Sexy Voice and Robo (Viz), and while I’ll happily suspend some of this blog’s regular features, the Manga Moveable Feast seems like a good opportunity to cast a spotlight on some of Kuroda’s unlicensed work. I’ve already made a plea for his eggplant-inspired Nasu, so the next logical choice is Japan Tengu Party Illustrated.
This four-volume series originally ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon magazine and was later collected in a three-volume set, as near as I can tell. Let me just tell you that this title has been pirated within an inch of its life. There are about three pages of copyright-violating search results. Way back in 2005, Jog named it as one of ten manga he’d like to see licensed. Here’s his description:
“This was Kuroda’s first-ever extended narrative work, the only one (I believe) to build to a finale, four volumes of aged martial-arts master bird spirits inhabiting human costumes and periodically jumping out to flap around. They’re often rude and/or lazy, even though they’re nominally around to punish vanity, and there’s a pair of mysterious girls hanging around them, one of whom might be an artificial twin of the other, except she looks and acts nothing like her. Rendered in a rough, thick, black-heavy style. A beauty!”
Some of you may already be familiar with tengu courtesy of Kanoko Sakurakoji’s Black Bird (Viz), but I’m not a fan of that title, so I’ll hold out hope for an English version of Kuroda’s take on this class of yôkai.