I have my fair set of expectations when it comes to my favourite authors. The fact that I consider them my favorite entails a kind of resonance, a hive mind of sorts where you just know what kind of title to expect whenever they release new works. As such, when I got one of Yamashita Tomoko’s newest titles this year, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window (Sankaku Mado no Gaisoku wa Yoru), I was expecting some kind of emotional turmoil. Except, as with everything Yamashita Tomoko has done in my life, she takes a different turn and gives me a bit of a fright when she brings these two ghost hunters in this title.
In this story we first meet Kousuke Mikado, a bookshop clerk who has an eye for dead people. I can understand his worries that THIS WAS NOT THE BEST GIFT TO HAVE, however, a young man convinces him that his gift could be quite useful. This man was Rihito Hiyakawa, a president of a cleaning company by name but is actually an extremely efficient exorcist. He believes that it was fate that led him to Mikado and if Mikado helps his business, he’ll make sure to get rid of Mikado’s fears. Sounds good but as Mikado discovers more about the spiritual world, it becomes less and less convincing that their relationship was fate.
I am not a big fan of ghost stories and would often drop stories like this in a heartbeat but Yamashita’s casual yet gripping narrative of these ghostbusters was enough to get me through some creepy faces in the comic. The narrative is led by Mikado who is getting a grip of Hiyakawa’s antics and the demanding nature of being an exorcist’s assistant. Apart from being someone who is sensitive to ghosts, Mikado also has the spiritual energy that allows Hiyakawa to lure his targets, capture their hearts, and seal their souls. I love the shifts between Mikado’s and Hiyakawa’s bickering and their exorcism exploits because Yamashita does it in such a way that Hiyakawa’s actions surprises you, as if this was both normal and extraordinary that like Mikado, we can’t help but be amazed by Hiyakawa.
Despite this, like Mikado, there’s a part of us that remains doubtful. This unease brews as we continue to follow their story until Mikado and Hiyakawa finally comes to aide a detective in search of three women who may or may not be dead. Their search for this women proves to be a revelation to Mikado who begins to question human existence the more that he encounters dead people. How much of his power is truly a gift and how much Hiyakawa’s actions truly give people their peace?
After my initial read, I kept on asking, “Is this really Yamashita Tomoko?” because unlike most of her works, this story is a little different from her usual BL narratives. Maybe because I didn’t expect her to write about ghost hunters. Nor did I even expect her to write a BL beyond one volume. I’m not even sure if this is really BL because it isn’t like anyone’s getting laid soon (but it actually runs in Beboy Gold). But it is for these apprehensions that this title really excites me. Not to say that this kind of story is particularly unique. We’ve seen partnerships like this in BL, or even in NL, and you can expect that this title (and its forthcoming volumes) will build on Mikado and Hiyakawa’s relationship until neither one cannot live without the other — the perfect partnership — as some would say. It’s the stuff that makes our hearts leap and this title already has its moments where Mikado would cling on Hiyakawa’s sleeve.
That said, this title remains to be true to Yamashita’s craft. It still has the ability to convey honest emotions and thoughts without befuddling us in intense metaphilosophical tirades. This title still has endearing characters who are adorable in their endless domestic bickering while ghost hunting. And she still leaves a bit of mystery, that strange allure that gets us drawn to her characters and their story. As with everything Yamashita, Tricornered Window is a captivating read that’ll leave you amused with every page as it try to keep your fears at bay. I am not a fan of the supernatural nor am I particularly enthusiastic of dead people. However, Yamashita has given me some courage to see through Mikado’s tricornered world.
And what’s the best part about this? It’s been licensed by Sublime so that means all of you guys will get to read this sometime next year. Are you excited? I think you should.
Sankaku Mado no Gaisoku wa Yoru (The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window, さんかく窓の外側は夜) by Yamashita Tomoko
Serialized in Be-Boy Gold (Kurofune)
Published by Libre Publishing
Available in Amazon Japan and Ebookjapan