Kagerou is a very pretty comic.
Darkly pretty, more often than not, sure. But you can’t deny the power of the art. It started out a tad more humble, but you can quickly see the evolution of the artist – and even early on, the elaborate use of color made for a pleasurable reading experience.
Don’t get me wrong – art alone doesn’t make a strip. But trust me – if a comic is actively painful for me to read, I’m damn well not going to read it. And when the art is strong enough to carry the reader – sometimes forcefully – through the story?
That is definitely a good thing.
So, Kagerou is an epic fantasy tale, of a hero from Earth drawn into an amazing realm of gods and demons and faeries. He becomes the bearer of an ancient blade of magic, and must help overthrow the dark overlord seeking to claim the power of the gods.
Only… wait, no. Sure, thats the story. And it is there, and important, and home to a fantastic cast of characters.
But it isn’t the story I care about.
You see, our hero from Earth isn’t normal by any means. He has his share of issues – enough to have him checked into a mental hospital, back when he was on Earth. He has a whole ‘nother crew of characters packed within his head. He is haunted by a past that is more mysterious, more horrific, and more engaging than anything going on in the fantasy world he’s been summoned into.
That right there? When the epic fantasy story becomes just a footnote in the tale itself? When the true demons are the ones within the hero himself?
Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.
By no means is the above the entirety of the story – I’ve simplified it, in order to avoid giving anything away. But there is a story there, and it is a good one.
Of course, nothing’s perfect – and this strip, most likely due to its complexity, has proven a challenging one to keep track of as it updates. It is one of those that works best when read in sizable doses, chapters at a time. But what else can one expect from a strip that hops between the present and the past, between Earth, a fantasy world, and the own internal madness of the protaganist?
So go. Read Kagerou. It’s worth it.