Today I bring you a manga review on Time Killers, a short story compilation by Kazue Kato, the creator of Blue Exorcist. It’s a book I picked up a while back at ACEN.
The titles in the book are The Rabbit and Me, Tomato, A Warrior Born of the Red Earth, Usaboy!!, A Guide to Princess Clothes, Highway of Life Stray Star, Nirai, Master and I, A Maiden’s Prayer, Astronerd, and The Miyama-Uguisu Mansion Incident, making this a total of 11 stories.
It’s a book you can definitely relate to Kazue Kato and looking through it I’m slightly afraid I’ll make connections between these characters and those from Blue Exorcist. For example, the cover features an array of characters from the collection but all I can think are Yukio, Shiemi, and Kuro, though that may have to do with the fact that the supposed prototype for Blue Exorcist is enclosed within these very pages!
But yes, let’s start: I’m actually really glad I picked this book up when I did, like two years ago possibly.
One of the reasons I decided to buy this book was that it was by Kazue Kato. Being a fan of Blue Exorcist and even collecting the series, I knew this would be a fun read if nothing else. I know the booth attendant told me these were pre-Blue Exorcist works so I was interested in checking out how Kato got from point A to point B.
Another reason was that the book was really attractive, and when I see pretty things I like to buy them. The book is actually really slick and glossy. The pages are very clean (the paper reminds me of photo paper), the marks very extreme (black and white for the most part), and it even came with a mini poster! (I’m a big poster collector).
I had slightly flipped through it and knew the art would be great.
Soon enough I found myself handing over my money to the booth attendant and walking away with yet another book added to my collection. Of course, it only took me two years to finally get to reading it…haha
I did enjoy the very experimental feel and progression that it showed from the first work all the way to the last. It was experimental in terms of content and style. And by that I mean that Kato experimented with different methods of telling a story (no dialogue, color, very little dialogue), material (acrylic gouache, graphite, ink), and character designs (your typical manga look, super hero look, more realistic approach, and the current Kato look).
It really shows that creating something well rounded takes a lot of work (ten years was contained in this book) and that your first try doesn’t have to be the next best selling book.
Also, when reading this it’s a good idea not to expect nothing great. When I was reading through it there were times when I wondered ‘what’s the point of some of these stories’ and it’s only after I read the author’s note that I understood. Kato actually wrote the majority of these stories without considering the audience, only creating works of things she wanted to draw.
I wanted to write about Indians! And horses and red! There’s no deeper meaning behind it. (A Warrior Born of the Red Earth)
Some of my favorite one shots included Usaboy, which is a story about a 5 year old to-be Champion of Justice who stays home for 3 seconds only to end up fighting an intruder who gets into his house; The Rabbit and Me, about an assassin and a to-be doctor that cross paths one night; Master and I, a story about human greed and a magical bowl, and the supposed prototype The Miyama-Uguisu Mansion Incident, a story about a demon who works as an exorcist all for the sake of a young girl who he met when he was a worthless cat demon.
I call that last one a supposed prototype because the author mentions that it was actually the opposite. That this story was inspired by Blue Exorcist rough drafts.
Either way, I would definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you have time to kill!