The Betrayal Knows My Name Vol. 1 (Manga)
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: June 2011
Price: $18.99
Creator: Hotaru Odagiri
Format: 368 pgs.; B&W; Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-3161-1941-2
ICv2 Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

The only world Yuki has ever known is the orphanage where he was abandoned as a baby.  But when he takes his first uncertain steps outside, his strange empathic powers draw the attention of the mysterious Giou Clan who want to use them in their battle with the demons known as Duras.

The Betrayal Knows My Name has the kind of mythology, monsters and supernatural battles you can find in any number of manga melodramas.  But it also has a sympathetic protagonist in Yuki who uses his powers as a form of therapy, dealing with the traumas that made the humans vulnerable to demonic attack in the first place.

It’s unfortunately also a soap opera with emo overtones and a focus on the intense relationship between Yuki and the silver-eyed Zeuss, two very pretty young men who seem to have an inordinate amount of trouble keeping their shirts on.  Nothing ever actually happens between them but it certainly looks like it might, until the tension is abruptly interrupted by the introduction of the rest of the Giou Clan.

After this the tone regularly shifts sharply between the supernatural battles and what I'm going to assume are supposed to be humorous interludes.  Unfortunately for me it was still further proof that unwelcome sexual advances, bad cooking and lots of shouting don't always equal comedy.  It's certainly attractively drawn and if you're a fan of this kind of manga this volume certainly gives the reader plenty of it.

--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant