Tempest’s Downpour – Rasetsu Review

Posted on Oct 16 2011

Rasetsu is the lead female character. She is very gifted at dispelling spirits, but can’t fight a particular evil spirit who torments her every year on her birthday.

Kuryu is also a psychic, though he doesn’t appear to be as helpful as Rasetsu. He is the business-suit-type and the oldest character in the series at 26. His psychic power manifests as Kotodama, which is the power to control things by using words.

Chief Hiichiro inherited the onmyouji agency from his father, though he isn’t quite living up to his family name. A powerful psychic whose power manifests when he makes physical contact with another person, Hiichiro is lazy and turns away customers more often than helps them. He is the bishounen-est bishounen I have EVER seen.

Aoi is the sweet, caring guy who gets the tea. He can see ghosts only because he’s been exposed to them so much, but really has no other power. It’s revealed that he was there to support Rasetsu often during her recovery from her mental breakdown when she was 14. This character is possibly gay as he expresses jealousy that Hiichiro hugs everyone but him.

Yako is from the prequel series, Yurara. His psychic power manifests with water which he typically uses to make protective barriers. He has no interest in joining the psychic agency, but winds up getting recruited anyway. He starts off abrasive, though Rasetsu eventually grows attached to him.

Rasetsu reveals the mark left by the evil spirit who has claimed her.

This series is a sequel to Yurara, though that doesn’t seem bear heavily on the series.

Rasetsu works for an onmyouji agency, dispelling spirits as she fights a personal battle against an evil spirit who wants to take her soul. Every year from the time she was 14, this spirit shows up to wreak havoc on Rasetsu’s mind and body. This monster will claim her soul unless she finds true love before her 20th birthday.

As an 18-year-old, her solution is to try to date any man who offers. However, if these men don’t find her personality too overbearing, they tend to shy away because of her immense psychic powers.

Yako, guided by fate, stumbles into this agency and stumbles out its newest employee. He mistakes Rasetsu for being a weak psychic because of the strong smell of a demon on her. He quickly learns that this demon is an unstoppable force and though she is afraid of her demon, she has more strength than anyone he’s met.

Yako and Rasetsu argue like children, but Rasetsu soon starts to have romantic feelings towards Yako. Yako is still in love with a ghost who passed on when he was in high school, and is completely clueless to Rasetsu’s advances. Kuryu, Rasetsu’s other field teammate who is considerably older than Rasetsu, meanwhile expresses a romantic interest that she cannot return.

Hijinx abound, but something darker lurks below the surface. Kuryu doesn’t seem to be as harmless as he first appeared and as Rasetsu’s 20th birthday looms closer, things start to take a very bad turn.

Strongest Character
Although Kuryu, Chief Hiichiro, Aoi and especially Yako get fleshed out considerably towards the end (to the point where Yako becomes more the main character in the last couple of volumes), Rasetsu is the strongest character. I mean that in every sense. She is the most relatable character in that she is tough, but flawed. When she’s scared, it’s hard not to feel scared along with her. When she feels confident, sometimes it’s easy to cheer for her. When she messes up, it burns.

She’s also strong in that she is the toughest female lead I’ve read about since Sana in Kodocha. She’s a sturdy, no-nonsense, girl who would rather try to take care of herself on her own than have someone else take care of her. She’s looking for true love not because “that’s what girls do” but because it’s the only solution to a fate worse than death.

She’s beautiful, but has no luck with men. She fights evil spirits, but is frightened to death of the spirit that “loves” her. She tries to fight her fate with every inch of her being, while remaining a steadfastly cheerful girl who eats enough sweets to sicken her teammates.

Rasetsu taking charge in a situation.

Strongest Scene
In volume 4, we get a taste of what this demon is truly like. It is the eve of Rasetsu’s 19th birthday, and sweet, caring, compassionate Aoi gets possessed by this monster. He pins Rasetsu to a tree, and starts tearing at her clothing, kissing her and telling her how much he loves her. Rasetsu is rendered helpless. When she finally comes to her senses, she tries to dispel the monster, to no avail.

The most frightening aspect is how the artist was able to detail such subtle things as posture and facial expression. Little Aoi becomes intimidating and cocky, and it’s a truly startling transformation. Even Hiichiro is powerless to stop him, and knows it.

I give the art in this series a 10 out of 10. I haven’t seen something this beautifully drawn since Kodocha. The detail is insane and every panel looks like it should go on the cover of some magazine. Not only is the series beautifully drawn, but the evil/distorted spirits are gruesome to behold. In volume 2, there is a little ghost girl who is afraid of being dead, and her eyes are bulging out of their sockets with her mouth open in a horrified scream. This is not a series for the weak of heart.

Cover Art
Is it weird to say this is the first series I’ve read where the cover art’s color looked right? The covers of other series seem watercolored — this looks digital. The covers are all very representative to what’s going on, with lots of rose motifs around the corners in case you couldn’t tell that this was a shojo series. Oh, AND volume 6’s front cover has the two male leads very close against each other so now my parents probably suspect I’m reading a yaoi series. Thanks!

Rasetsu and Yako from a front cover.

Back Cover Summary
“Rasetsu Hyuga works for an exorcist agency where she uses her special powers to banish evil spirits. There’s a story behind the red flower mark on her chest though – it’s a memento left by a powerful spirit who vowed to claim her on her 20th birthday. Unless Rasetsu can find true love by then, she is fated to become his.”

Following that blurb are details about the storylines contained in that volume. These summaries are surprisingly well-done, though they still don’t quite show how enjoyable the series is. It makes me feel like I’m reading something girly and trashy. Still, it’s a far improvement over Tokyopop’s old summaries which typically left me more offended than interested.

Author’s Notes
Just like in Kodocha and several other series I love, the author shows up in little comics drawn about her every day life along the edge of a few pages of each volume. I love these bits. For example, the author, Chika Shiomi, talks about how she likes rough-looking guys, but always winds up having to draw bishounen. She shares anecdotes about the assistants who helped her draw every volume of Rasetsu and it makes me feel honestly like I’m in the room, watching them draw while I sip tea.

An interesting fact I’ve picked up on is that every author draws herself with a round figure and without any attractive features. Considering she makes her money drawing such gorgeous images, I would have expected her to make herself into some supermodel. Instead, this representation makes her seem very down-to-earth.

The Author’s Corner appears on the left-hand side of a few pages each volume.

Who Will Enjoy This?
Fans of Tokyo Babylon, rejoice. This series is like a more fulfilling version of that story we know and love. The pacing is not quite up to CLAMP’s rate, but the characters are fascinating and familiar and the ghosts are even more gruesome. However, there is a lot more good-and-evil bouncing around, making Rasetsu seem less Japanese than Tokyo Babylon, despite the fact that both series are set in the same place.

Fans of Yurara will probably love this. People (like me) who have never read Yurara will love the hell out of it. Anyone who enjoys a good ghost story, hints of romance and really excellent characterization will love this series.

Gahhhhh, I only bought up to volume 8 – WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S A VOLUME 9? There’s so much more that needs to be answered. So much action to look forward to: a battle, a struggle, possibly new relationships. What will happen to the characters? Will people die? DON’T TELL ME I NEED TO WAIT FOR MY AMAZON DELIVERY. I WANT IT NOW.

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  • nerdwerld October 17, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    I don’t know if this is up my alley, but the art you showed me is very well done. It is very beautiful.

    • Tempest Wind October 17, 2011 at 8:34 AM

      If you’re a fan of shounen series, the action sequences in this series are not very satisfying. But if you don’t mind shojo manga with great character development, this is something to look into. Just don’t lose patience with the first three volumes — they’re dull in comparison to the rest of the series.

  • nerdwerld October 17, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    I just like great plot, great art,and sensible character design. Fantasy, Historical dramas, and Sci-Fi are my main loves. There are shounen that I like, and there are Shojo that I like. I might have to check it out…

  • Asterose October 17, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Fun fact: I’m pretty sure most artists use Copic markers to color, not watercolor. Now, for a less organized comment.

    How sad that the artist ends up having to draw bishounen instead of rough men ;-; Let’s get a mix here, some more variety! Especially since…hold up, art critique in a moment.

    Yako’s a guy who works with water? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW RARE THAT IS? *Happiness!*

    I’m less pleased by the art, personally-you know what that means-artist opinion tiem! I love the style of the top image and the intense eyes especially, but the manga pages and cover art show unappealingly stiff, angular bodies. The head-to-body proportions seem to be
    I really like the personality and flare in the image of Rasetsu showing her mark, but the extra weird head-neck-body proportion and aforementioned stiffness squiggle the effect for me, uwaa. The bishounen look very unappealing to me, I wonder what less bishie men could have looked like?

    Thus, I suspect the top image isn’t actually of Rasetsu? The demons are a whole different ballgame, so I am curious what they look like. The plot is still plenty interesting enough to pick the manga up. *Coughborrowcough*

    Lastly, gotta say that I absolutely love how you ended this article. Such hilarity XD

    • Tempest Wind October 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      Lol. Leave it to the artist to critique the art style I love. You actually do get to see what rough-looking guys look like in a later volume and the manga-ka even says that he’s “her type,” which is a nice tidbit of info. And yes, he does look handsome, though I do like my bishies to be rather bishie, admittedly.

      The top image is Yurara, the ghost that Yako fell in love with. (I think her name is Yurara. I’m kinda certain her name is Yurara…. okay, I have no idea). Kibs is convinced I get into series like this just so that he can’t find art for me.

      So the top image is from the previous manga. I don’t like the art style (from what I’ve seen) quite as much, but you might like it. And the demons are freaky as hell — think Petshop of Horrors level of freaky. Gratuitous creepiness, though not as much gore. More psychological, like Aoi’s possession in volume 4.


  • Tempest Wind October 20, 2011 at 6:57 AM

    Update: Got volume 9. The ending was practically perfect. Very satisfactory and not ridiculously shojo-girly.

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