Book review: My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 1

My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 1.My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 1 by Yutaka Tanaka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first manga of its type I’ve read, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s the story of Daikichi (whose name means ‘good luck’) who seems to be a bit of a loser. He has no job, nobody to look after him, and ends up living in an abandoned apartment. It’s overgrown and shitty, and the heavy inference is that he’ll die there, or at least fall through the cracks.

Until he meets his ghostly girlfriend, that is.

It’s not a spoiler – it is in the title – but what follows is a surprisingly commonplace record of how their life together progresses. Kana loves beer and fried chicken and at this point her character isn’t hugely developed. We know she’s the ghost of someone who committed suicide, but she can’t remember her life pre-death. So she exists as a ball of cuteness, purely in the now.

So the story meanders on: they spend their time just floating through the days, literally so in Kana’s case. And they have sex. A lot of sex.

A lot of sex.

It’s not as explicit as you’re imagining, and it seems to be handled pretty well – though the illustrations conform to the cutesy-pie style you’d expect, the actual physical act feels like an extension of their relationship. It appears as something normal that just happens because that’s what happens in the real world. It’s a little confronting, but it’s ultimately reassuring: it’s there for story rather than pure erotic interest. (Though I’m absolutely sure there’s readers who use it for more nefarious purposes.)

Toward the end of the volume there’s a bit more darkness – a shopkeeper with an interest in the occult, a keeper of unnamed graves, and a catastrophe averted only with great effort or sacrifice. The drawing style – light lines, occasionally lapsing into supremely simplified characters mugging their emotions – remains the same, even in these more stressful moments. It’s a light touch that serves the story.

This isn’t anything heavyweight. It’s the story of a guy and a ghost, but there’s enough intrigue over their respective backstories to keep me reading.

(There’s a great write-up of the series (with spoilers, so beware) to be found over here. It’s worth a look if you think this might be your kind of thing.)

My Goodreads profile is here.

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