Book Review: Mao Vol 1 by Rumiko Takahashi

Title: Mao Vol 1

Author: Rumiko Takahashi

Series: Mao #1

Page Count: 192

Publish Date: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Vix Media

Buy Mao Vol 1 at Amazon.

Synopsis:

When Nanoka travels back in time to a supernatural early 20th century, she gets recruited by aloof exorcist Mao. What is the thread of fate that connects them? Together, they seek answers…and kick some demon butt along the way!

Nanoka passes through a portal into the Taisho era, where exorcist Mao reluctantly rescues her from the jaws of a grotesque yokai. When Nanoka gets back to the present, she discovers she has some new, incredible abilities. She returns to the past looking for answers, only to get caught up in Mao’s investigation of a series of gruesome murders. As her questions about herself multiply, Nanoka learns that Mao is cursed by a cat demon named Byoki—and so is his sword. If anyone but Mao attempts to wield it, they are doomed. But when Mao’s life is in jeopardy, Nanoka picks up his blade and swings!

Mao Vol 1

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My Review:

This series is like a mashup of Inuyasha and Rin-ne, which makes it appeal to me quite a bit. Nanoka travels back through time whenever she crosses a threshold where her parents died in an accident.

It’s a mystery how or why she can do this, but it only happens in this one spot. In this past timeline is where she meets Mao and her life changes quite a bit from here.

Mao is a mysterious character and we only get to learn a little bit about him in this volume. His companion, Otoya is another interesting addition, as he is essentially an extension of Mao. These two work together but their exact story isn’t revealed just yet.

Nanoka also has some elements about her that are hidden for the time being. We know a bit about her past and the tragedy that befell her family but we don’t know how she managed to survive exactly. There are hints, but no solid answer at this point.

Byoki has plenty of mentions but only shows up in flashbacks at this point. It’s clear that Nanoka and Mao are connected through Byoki, but exactly how or why is still a mystery.

As these two navigate things together the story builds. Nanoka must travel back in time whenever she wants to see Mao but she never knows how long she will be gone from the present day when she does.

She may be gone mere seconds or several days. This creates some complications and it’s hard for her to explain where she had gone and why she had disappeared for so long.

I’ll be curious to see if an answer comes as the series progresses on how exactly the time difference works.

Another strange character is Uozumi. She seems so much different from everyone else in the present day and I look forward to seeing what is revealed about her. Is it possible she is connected to the past or Byoki?

I love how the clues of many things are spread throughout the volume but we aren’t told too much right away, after all, this is just the beginning, so we can’t know too much right away. But it leads a nice trail of breadcrumbs that makes me want to keep reading the series.

As Mao and Nanoka work together to deal with certain threats that pop up, we learn more about them and the world/time they are in. With her present-day knowledge, Nanoka may be able to find the answers before the problems truly happen.

Overall, this is a solid start to the series. We get quite a bit of world-building and character-building throughout. While there are plenty of unknowns, you can see it is building the foundation for the series and it makes me excited to see what will happen next.

I really look forward to working through more of this series from my TBR.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Mao Vol 1. Have you read this book?

Buy Mao Vol 1 at Amazon.

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