Hanako and the Terror of Allegory Vol. 1 (Manga)
Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: March 2010
Price: $10.99
Creator: Sakae Esuno
Format: 224 pgs.; B&W
ISBN: 978-1-4278-1608-5
Age Rating: OT/16+
ICv2 Rating: 1.5 Stars out of 5

Kanae has a big problem--ever since she heard the urban legend about the man hiding under the bed, she discovered that he really is hiding under her bed.  There’s only one person she can turn to and that’s Detective Aso, who has the ability to sense “allegories” that have become real.

Esuno, creator of Future Diary, presents a tale about tales, though the storytelling isn’t the most exciting.  None of the stories are scary enough to make this collection horror, nor are they thought provoking enough to make it a psychological thriller.  Two of the stories examine bullying, but in one the main characters are too passive and in the other the victim is made unlikable, so it is hard for readers to lose themselves in the tales.  Aso, Kanae, and the titular Hanako are equally forgettable, though at least Aso is shown to have a potentially interesting backstory.  Not even the art is much out of the ordinary: cute character types clash with uninspired horror images and occasional nudity.  The last, combined with a rape, earn this its older teen rating.  Overall this is a very optional choice for those desperate for manga horror.

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