Cover Image: Mao, Vol. 1

Mao, Vol. 1

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Great first volume of a new manga series from Rumiko Takahashi. Even manga beginners (like me) will enjoy this book.
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This volume makes for an intriguing start to Takahashi's latest series. The hunt for a demon at the center of a curse and the the mysteries and adventures encountered along the way are very much in keeping with Takahashi's previous series. The artwork and the characters are both comfortingly familiar feeling while also being new and distinctive. I can't wait to see what the next volume brings!
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OK, I'm pretty sure that I already gave a review for this series several times, but I'm going to write one again just in case. I love this series and it has been one of the new mangas that I look forward to the most!! I don't know what time period it goes back in time to, but its semi-feudal semi modern society with suits while still being old timey, and I think that's super original! Also, cat demons!!!
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I've never read any of Takahashi's work before, so I didn't know what to expect. In brief (I think they summarized too much in the description): Nanako is a miracle survivor of a truly freak accident that killed her parents as a child, but got out completely unscathed and can't remember anything. Fast forward to high school. Strange things start to happen when she visits the market where the accident took place. Suddenly, she's transported to a place that seems oddly familiar but different... It is there where she encounters Mao -an exorcist dealing in yokai- and the questions start to grow: why is this happening? where are these strange abilities coming from? why does Mao say she's an ayakashi? what is this curse? Not many answers in this volume, but maybe something in the next one...

Just a note, readers should have a basic understanding of Japanese folklore (or be willing to do a quick search) since there aren't any side notes to help. It's very interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. I have purchased it for my library.

Thank you to NetGalley and VIZ Media for the e-arc. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Viz for this Arc

I loved this volume so much, having read her work in my teens I say that this has a lovely feel to it. The world building is phenomenal and the character set up is on point. Volume two pre ordered volume be purchased for my shelf
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This was a fantastic first volume. We were introduced to high schooler Nanako who travels through a portal and is transported to nineteenth century Japan! While there she encounters yokai and is saved by a grumpy exorcist named Mao. As she travels back and forth between the two times, she discovers that she has some powers that she was unaware of. This makes her want to investigate her family history and see what's up with her new powers. 

I really enjoyed this manga. I started reading volume two immediately after I finished this because I couldn't wait to see what happened. This is a great manga for fans of the supernatural or adventure genres.
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It is quite the opportunity to be able to read three different Rumiko Takahashi works in the same year. Mao Volume 1 is her latest manga series, currently ongoing in Japan. The first volume introduces young Nanoka, who accidentally passes through a portal into the Taisho era where she meets an exorcist, Dr. Mao. The series is published in English by VIZ Media under their Shonen Sunday imprint. It is translated by Junko Goda, adapted to English by Shaenon Garrity, and features touch-up art and lettering by Susan Daigle-Leach. Yukiko Whitely is behind the cover and interior design, and the volume is edited by Annette Roman.

Mao Volume 1 is a great blend of a lot of the Rumic World—a combo of Inuyasha and RIN-NE with a dash of that good horror from Mermaid Saga. Takahashi manages to take what fans of those series love and still mix things up enough to make the story feel different. Readers still don’t know what is going to happen, and will likely latch on to Mao and Nanoka quickly to see what fate befalls them.

When Nanoka was in first grade, a mysterious sinkhole opened up in the street beneath her family’s car. Her parents died, but Nanoka was found lying nearby outside the car, covered in blood and not breathing. She has no memories of her apparent death, but has lived with a weak body ever since. Now in junior high, Nanoka ventures to the street of the accident after school, and accidentally walks through a portal into the Taisho era. When she runs into Dr. Mao, he calls her an ayakashi and her world is thrown upside down as she discovers powers that have been mysteriously suppressed inside of her.


 
A majority of Mao Volume 1 is set up, but it is still compelling. A great example is the question of just how much Nanoka’s grandparents know about her. Mao made it apparent that she had been taking something to suppress her ayakashi powers, but the only thing consistently referenced is the medicine she has to drink every morning for her “weak body.” Nanoka’s powers also allow her to start contributing right away in battle, and the surprise on other characters’ faces is satisfying. For non-shonen fans, however, it might feel a bit formulaic.

Additionally, this is not just the story of Nanoka. Per the series’ title, it is also the story of Mao. He was cursed by a cat demon named Byoki and seeks to undo said curse. Takahashi smartly sets Mao’s adventure in the Taisho era, so the story doesn’t feel too similar to Inuyasha (which was set in the Feudal era). Mao works as a doctor and solves cases involving ayakashi amidst developing cities with cars on the road. This backdrop adds an additional layer of intrigue, as it was such a transitional time, and hopefully, Takahashi utilizes the time period during the episodic chapters.

Takahashi’s artwork is just as great as always. It isn’t quite as intense as the body horror of Mermaid Saga, but demons still morph out of human bodies, hands get chopped off, and eyes change when someone’s power is unleashed. Also, specifically, the artwork for Byoki is great. Takahashi truly took “cat demon” and went with it.

Mao Volume 1 is a great start to another Rumic World manga. Takahashi is back in form, blending the best parts of some of her beloved series to create a story that both feels familiar and still new. It will be fun to follow Nanoka and Mao into the future.
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In case you were wondering, Rumiko Takahashi is still at it when creating manga. After literal decades of being on top of the manga world with one hit or another, she is still working on manga with their own kind of stories that have changed over time with the world around her. That is the way Mao feels like to me. While it repeats some of things that Rumimo Takahashi has done so far, how she changed the story around it matters. All sorts of great work here.

One day, a normal high school girl named Nanoko in a modern japan finds a portal to another world. A world to what is known as Taisho Japan. A world where demons still wander the world and an attractive swordsman by the name of Mao is searching for demons. The guy is a Yokai doctor that also heals people. The sword he carries is cursed by a spider demon named Byoki. There is a lot of mysteries to this series. One of them is the sword, what the time distance in the portal, and how Nanoko became a yokai.

Yeah, Mao takes a lot of cues from Inuyasha and plays around with them on a lot of levels here. The time portal, a normal school girl, an attractive guy with a sword on the other side. It really does feel like a greatest hits of Rumiko Takahashi’s work in a modern context. Having Nanoko being a powerful demon in a modern world will probably add some complexities to her story as it goes on. Same as Nanoka was able to take Mao’s sword and use it at the end of this volume. It not only makes her more awesome, but adds to the mystery of the manga.

Plus, the worst parts of Inuyasha aren’t here and I feel like this will be a shorter story with simpler goal hopefully. It’s hard to tell considering that this is only eight chapters of an on going story. I am sure the cast will expand more and the adventures will explore Taisho Japan a little more. Something really cool, because I like the concept of Taisho Japan. The manga itself flows very well. Eight decent sized chapters that give some introspection and space while also being well paneled and one panel just naturally flowing from one to another. It’s honestly a lot of fun. You can tell that a master it as hand here and Rumiko has been a master for years. Check it out if you are interested.
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When Nanoka travels back in time, she learns she has unique strengths and abilities. She meets Mao, an exorcist on a mission to find and kill the demon that harmed him. Nanoka navigates her ability to move through time, and grows her skills fighting alongside Mao. A fun, adventurous read that any manga lover will enjoy!
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Thank you to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an unbiased review!

This new series is a real return to form for Rumiko Takahashi. It sets up a lot of concepts in the first book, that you might only be familiar with if you have knowledge of Japanese folklore, but I am sure she will explain these concepts as the series goes on. 
The art is strangely hit and miss for her, one thing I noticed is the main character's eyes seem to sort of drift apart on a lot of panels. 
The one concern I have is that this does not become a rehashing of Inuyasha since it is a very similar story concept, but that remains to be seen.
Will absolutely be keeping up with this series.
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As someone who is not often into the horror/gore manga genre, this book has changed my mind. After reading the first volume, I cannot wait for the next of the Mao series as it leaves on quite the cliffhanger. The art style is very classic to Japanese manga, but the English text translates well without any confusing dialog, unlike some manga books I have read in the past. The introduction of the main characters, as well as the overall plot, kept me engaged, and I read the first volume in one sitting. Can't wait for the next book of the Mao series!
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Absolutely LOVED this one.  I have brushed against this author's work before when I was younger and enjoyed everything of their's that I read/saw, so am not surprised that I also love this.  

I like that while the MC h is a high school girl and the MC H is a broody-type hero, it's more action and mystery oriented, rather than romance.  There is a HINT there, but just a tease, which is refreshing.  The mystery with the MC h is much more interesting to me than a romance to be front and center.  

Honestly, I don't want to say much because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so all I am going to say is, get and read this one if you enjoy manga and like action and mystery with a hint of possible romance.  

5, I need the entire rest of the series now, stars!

My thanks to NetGalley and Viz Media LLC for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.
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This feels to me like a cross between Rin-ne and Inu-Yasha.  Nanoka has Akane’s hair but goes back in time like Kagome. Mao is an exorcist (like Rin-ne) and goes after yokai, like Inu-Yasha. He originally looks like Inu-Yasha in human form before the was attacked by the angry cat yokai. He also has a special sword. The time period seems to be similar to the one in Inu-Yasha as well. Also, there is the Earthquake/sinkhole event from Nanoka’s past and…the past. Nanoka lost her parents when a sinkhole opened up under their car but also remembers seeing fire and a towering monster.

Anyhow, it turns out both Mao and Nanoka were cursed by the same yokai? Byoki? A cat-like monster, which resulted in Mao having immortality and we-don’t-know-what to Nanoka. The two have to work together to find this creature. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s pretty classic Takahashi and hints pretty hard that it might fall into the same type of story line as the others. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I quite enjoyed Inu-Yasha. It’s one of my favorite series. My personal worry is that I will always be comparing the two.

But so far, I quite enjoyed it and look forward to reading future volumes.!
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I've read/watched a large amount of Rumiko Takahashi's works in the past and this is along the same lines of quality.  It has comedy, fantasy, history, and action.  Her work is always great.
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The creator of Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 is back with a brand new series reminiscent of their more classic works. Set in what appears to be modern day Japan, our heroine Nanoka travels back in time to the Taisho era, to a land filled with yokai and those that exorcise them. Nanoka meets up with the standoffish and somewhat emotionally distant Mao, an exorcist who seems to also be from another time. Both of them may share a similar curse and have teamed up to hunt down the yokai demon who is responsible. Nanoka is just warming up to her own mystical powers and the adventure is just beginning. 
Very similar to Inuyasha, complete with the girl who travels back in time and the handsome and somewhat cold young man who becomes her traveling companion.
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In the world of romance manga, Rumiko Takahashi reigns supreme. The award-winning writer and artist has been creating strangely beautiful love stories for more than 40 years, including Urusei Yatsura, Ranma ½, and Inuyasha. Her latest outing is MAO, whose first volume (Viz, $12.99) wastes no time plunging readers straight into its time-bending story. Our heroine, high school girl Nanoka, was found dead and covered in blood after a strange accident when she was eight years old. How she cheated death and lives on is a mystery; also a mystery are her burgeoning superhuman powers, and the side street that transports her to a Taisho-era village. There, she meets Mao: an onmyoji (a sort of priest or diviner) with particular interest in the cat demon Byoki. If this is starting to sound a bit familiar, it’s not surprising. MAO plays out a bit like a “best of” of Takahashi’s favorite paranormal fantasy tropes, with a lot of re-traveled ground in this first volume. But while it may not satisfy those looking for something completely new and innovative, fans of Takahashi’s previous work will enjoy the return to myth-inspired works in a slightly more modern historical era.

(reviewed in Sci-Fi Magazine)
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This is the newest series from legendary Mangaka, Rumiko Takahashi. For those who aren't aware, she is the author of titles like InuYasha and Ramna 1/2. I'd say this is closer to InuYasha as it involves a lot of time travelling and fantasy elements in it. Folks who are interested in Japanese folklore will probably get a kick out of the yokai references that are scattered throughout this first volume.

This is an interesting thing for Takahashi sensei, as the protagonist is the character that the series is named after - in this case, the turn of the 20th century doctor Mao - but the way the story is mostly told is through the lens of the young woman he meets. That young woman in this story is Nanako, a bit of a timid teen who's sense of isolation from her peers is amplified by her having lost her parents in a house fire when she was younger. Of course she's not all that, and we learn that she is pretty special herself when she is sucked through time into Taisho Era Japan (this is basically the late 1900s to mid 1920s). She meets the surely Mao, a cursed exorcist and gets caught up in his quest to find the demon cat, Byouki.

I think this is a pretty good setup for the story so far. With manga that feels like its going to be longer running, I usually give it a couple of volumes to help lay out the trappings of the story. Here Takahashi Sensei starts with a decent pace by giving us some worldbuilding and action at the same time. Mao feels very much like our favorite half-demon dog, InuYasha, but more mature and hilariously more broody. So far, I think that Nanako is the more interesting character, as she actually gets some more developed plot points already. Also, the references to Japanese folklore help move the story along, with a pretty gross depiction of the Japanese spider lady (it's not graphic, but the implications of the reveal are nasty).

I liked this, so far, even if I think that Nanako might lose some of her story to highlight Mao's. I hope not, because Mao's back story is interesting even if he currently is not and Nanako is a fun insert character. Takahashi sensei flat out writes great fantasies. She doesn't break many conventions, but the stories she does tell resonate with a ton of people. Mao looks like it could continue this trend.
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I received an eARC of this title through NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

I really liked this manga. It is reminiscent of Inuyasha in the sense that the main character, Nanoko, can travel either back in time or to a different universe. While it is similar in this sense, I felt it does diverge a bit after that in the back story of Nanoko. There is a bit of something for everyone in here. There's action, mystery, and an intriguing story of a girl who is trying to remember what happened in the car accident she can't seem to remember years earlier. 

The artwork is well done and in the typical style of Rumiko Takahashi. If you liked Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2, then you will enjoy this new series by this very talented manga author.
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A classic Takahashi manga, not as silly as Ranma or Maison Ikkoku or but not as horror-filled as the Mermaid Saga.  this one looks like more of a action-packed mystery series, run through with themes and creatures from Japanese mythology.  On the one hand, the fact that the POV character doesn't know much about the mythological world and its rules allows for a nice structure of the large amount of exposition this world needs.  On the other hand, the other characters (especially Mao) don't tell Nanoka (our POV character) enough to be safe in the universe and understand her place in it.  Is this lazy writing to ratchet up dramatic tension?  Or is there a deeper reason why Mao might not fully trust Nanoka?  Time will undoubtedly tell.....
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Rumiko Takahashi is one of my favorite authors & Inuyasha is my favorite manga & anime series.. When I saw that this was the last series she's made, I had to read it. This manga reminds me so much of Inuyasha. I wasn't sure what I was getting into but after reading Vol. 1, I was already hooked. I loved how its set in two time periods. The plot is interesting & I cannot wait to see where it will lead. I have to read Vol. 2 now.
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