(Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji)
by Aya Shouoto
July 7, 2015
Volumes: 12 (on going)
Genre: Fantasy, romance
VIZ Media: Shojo Beat
On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she's never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house, and one seems to have already taken over her role!
One of the things I’m reading lately (it’s still ongoing – I’m behind and only up to vol 7 of 11 so far) is a title that combines romance sensibilities with the paranormal, something that’s also big in the shojo genre. I’m enjoying it as of right now because it’s got enough plot to keep it interesting and the romance isn’t so back-and-forth dramatic that it makes me want to kick a wall. It seems to be a slow burn because there are some significant problems going on for the characters, and I’m okay with that.
Himari inherits her family’s house when her parents die because orphaned teen girl is a classic way to kick off a plot. At any rate, she goes to find this house she never knew about, and for good reason – it sits on a place where the mortal and spirit plans collide. Within the house dwell many types of yokai (or ayakashi, I think this series uses both terms). Upon her arrival, she discovers that Aoi is already living there, as are two other guys.
And the house has decided Aoi is the rightful representative. Also the other dudes are yokai in human form.
After refusing to leave, Himari works to find her place within the household while battling different feelings for Aoi – who can also turn into an ayakashi form (the Nue) to fight off yokai, demons, and solve supernatural problems within the house. What’s interesting is Himari has stumbled upon at least one power of her own and often inserts herself into different supernatural conflicts, with varying results.
Of course the main thrust of the series is will she and Aoi get together or not, and is complicated by the fact that he can’t actually leave the house. She gradually learns more about him and the others (Ise and Yukari). The series is slowly leaning into putting her into a role of helping Aoi regain his human memories/make it possible for him to return to human life, but I have to admit, I have no idea where this is going.
I will admit, parts of this have made me laugh because Aoi has been trapped in the house since he was a child, so some of his behavior is more like a kid which leads to some funny moments of misinterpretation (he ends up in Himari’s bed a lot just because he wants someone to cuddle with, etc).
On the one hand, Himari is the classic “good” heroine who is pretty much there to be good and encourage the hero to be good and good good good etc. On the other, she does mess up, she does try to fix her mistakes, and she gets in over her head trying to help out. Thankfully, this reads less as her being dumb and more as her trying to figure out her role in the house, which works and I like so far. There’s also plenty of school interaction because she’s also determined to go to school and sometimes the yokai who can leave the house end up tailing her for Aoi in human disguise. This works as an episodic story and as a bigger arc, and I like that it uses the paranormal aspects to really push things along instead of just set dressing. I’m still up in the air about it as a whole series, but I like what I’ve read so far. The art is pretty, the yokai designs are cute or spectacular, and there’s as much humor as there is drama and slow-burn romance. It’s a decent, fun, fast read.
4 sheep based on volumes 1-7
About Selah Janel:
Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.