100100 is her registered number. Her name is Momo, the girl god of death.
Death is always painful. When you think of death in the form of an image, it is often of a reaper, one that wears a dark cloak with a heavy shroud around his head. Yet, death is not always taking you away. Sometimes, it is one that makes you realize how much you want to be alive.
Momo, the girl god of death, is a death god (shinigami). She wears white, with a pet familiar called Daniel. She goes around to some people, appearing to them and eventually bringing them happiness and joy. A different type of shinigami. Who is she and what does she do?
Shinigami no Ballad (死神的歌谣） is a manga drawn by Asuka Izumi and it is released in Chinese by ChuangYi publishing in January. It talks about a white haired shinigami called Momo. Unlike the terrifying shinigami that we used to know, she often goes out of her way to protect, to guide and to do favors for the living and the dead. In this volume, it is separated into three different stories. One talks about a boy who can see shinigami roaming around him all the time, as he feels the moment of death upon him. A girl suddenly appeared, one that made him realize that he had found someone important. However, the haunting of his sister dying for him still goes on within him.
Yet another story came with another guy who was waiting to die but a girl loved him. He realized that he never wanted to die and he now wanted to survive. However, will he escape his predicament? The last story is a sweet little event of two childhood friends finally meeting each other. However, the girl waiting for the man of her dreams found that he was nothing like how she imagined after seven years.
Every story seems like one of its own, but they all have similar themes, love, hope and the backdrop of death.
This manga really differs from most in which the “main character”, Momo actually does not appear very often in the manga. Do not expect her to be around too much, but she is perhaps the link for all three stories, even though they are not related. All the characters for now have not cross-appeared in any of the stories. In fact, the cat whose name is Daniel, only have like three or four lines of conversation for the whole volume, usually complaining how meddlesome Momo is.
Don’t get me wrong though. All the characters, especially the first story main one-off leads, are really endearing and it will be hard pressed not to feel for them. Since I read this manga on the travels, it becomes quite a tough job to hold myself together because the two characters portrayed in the story on the boy who can see shinigami are so beautiful. It is definitely not a character driven story, but yet the characters are likable enough for you to concentrate on the sweet little stories provided.
Why you should read this
1. Endearing stories. I do not know about you but I know that my eyes are a little wet after reading the first story, because the ending is really sweet and heartwarming. I will not spoil too much but all three stories have this rather soft feel to it. It’s a intangible thing, one that is hard to describe in words. However, if I am forced to throw in one word, it will be “uplifting”. Death shinigami really do not only bring death but they also bring a sense of salvation to those who can see them and those blessed by such angelic beings.
2. Themes of love, hope with the backdrop of death. I have said it earlier in the story synopsis that this recurring theme will appear in every story, at least for Volume 1. With my knowledge of the anime series (Shinigami no Ballad is a 6 parter), it will be likely to be so. However, unlike the average anime series, the manga series is definitely a few notches up. I will say that the artist makes full use of the drawings, as well as the keen words to touch your heart, just like how Momo quietly looks on to the people her blessings are given.
3. Nice art design. As mentioned earlier, I really like the slightly cute clean design that portrays the story very well. It is done in a rather typical shoujo manner, yet not as sketchy compared to manga series like Honey and Clover. It’s perhaps a matter of preference but I personally like it this way.
4. Nice story twists. Every single story had a nice climax in the end, be it sweet, drama or even death. I think that it really holds your heart beat for a few pages when the story comes slowly to a close.
When you have an excellent series earlier on to review on, there is always a tendency to compare it. I have known that the anime for Honey and Clover is far more superior than Shinigami no Ballad and did not have much expectations. However, this manga proves me wrong and I found myself very receptive to the manga as the relationships and story line is done much more effectively with the detail given to everything. I really felt very good after reading it, which means that this series has done its part to impress me. It has captured my attention for the next few volumes.
Chuangyi Publishing has released this volume in February and is available at your rather friendly comic store.