Time and Again Volume 1 (Manga)
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: December 2009
Price: $10.99
Creator(s): JiUn Yun
Format: 164 pgs.; B&W
ISBN: 978-0-7595-3058-4
Age Rating: n/a
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

During the Tang Dynasty two exorcists, the lazy Baek-On and his bodyguard Ho-Yeon, wander the countryside offering their services to those in need, but they often find that the living people who retain their services are crueler than the spirits themselves.  This collection of loosely connected stories has a theme of tragedy running through it with just enough humor to keep the sorrow from being unrelenting.  At first the pacing of the tales is awkward and the setting is not immediately obvious, but readers looking for quiet, thoughtful horror stories are likely to persevere.  The art is long and graceful.

Yun seamlessly inserts fantasy and horror elements into the story alongside the realistic ones, not sparing on violence, but not overdoing it either.  Since volume one only has four complete stories in it, and since only two of those stories feature the attractive young exorcists, it is hard to tell where Yun is taking the characters.  Hints are offered of a tragic backstory for both men, though, and hopefully these elements will be fleshed out in later volumes.  Fans of fantasy/horror series like xxxHolic or Pet Shop of Horrors will probably gravitate towards this fantasy/horror title.

--Snow Wildsmith: Librarian for the Mountain Island Branch of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County in North Carolina.