Joy Kim

Librarian. Book Reviewer. Coffee Addict.

Ishida, Akira: Oninagi, vol. 1

oninagi1.jpgFifteen-year-old Nanami is looking forward to starting high school, since it will give her an opportunity to be closer to her long-time crush Kazuto Sanjouin. But her hopes for a normal springtime of youth are promptly derailed by the arrival of a mysterious swordswoman, Tomotaka Onogoroshi. Tomotaka accuses Nanami of being a demon and tries to kill her. And when the dust finally settles, Nanami learns things about her family history that will change her life.Oninagi is basically supernatural action by the numbers. Every element in the story is a familiar one, and there’s no twist that makes the series distinctive or noteworthy. The plain Jane lead, the tough swordswoman, the shadowy organization of demon slayers, the random assortment of demons–readers have seen all this before. Even the fan service feels perfunctory. When one fight ended with Nanami’s sailor fuku being torn to pieces by a blast of magical power, it was so predictable that I didn’t even bother to roll my eyes.

The story also suffers from a somewhat scattered focus. It can’t seem to decide whether its main character is Nanami, who is sweet and bland, or slightly more interesting Tomotaka, who fights with the sword Oninagi that gives the series its name. By the end of the volume, I was leaning toward seeing Nanami as the lead, but she hardly seems compelling enough to carry a series. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast falls into their respective sidekick or villain roles so quickly that any introductory conflicts feel like going through the motions.

There are so many great supernatural and action manga out there–try Kekkaishi if you like the high school angle, or Claymore if you want strong women characters–that I can only recommend Oninagi to those reading for the fan service. Everyone else can safely give this one a pass.

This volume features a color page insert featuring the main characters and a page of translator’s notes at the end of the book. Sound effects are left untranslated, but are accompanied by romanizations and translations in small print on the some page.

Review copy provided by Yen Press.

Review originally published at

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