I received this book for free from MediaLab in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I received Sleeping Moon in the mail along with my requested copy of Blue Morning. Since I didn’t request it, and I had some other manga to read first, I’ve let it sit on the shelf for a bit. I’m a little bummed I didn’t pick it up before the second volume expired on Edelweiss though, because I really enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve had good luck with manga lately, and I have to say that SuBLime is putting out some quality stuff.
Sleeping Moon follows Akihiko Sakaki as he travels to his family’s ancestral home looking for a way to end the curse that has put all the male descendants of the Sakaki family into an early grave. There are strange things happening at the family home that he can’t explain, and one night he finds himself 100 years in the past, talking with one of ancestors.
There’s a lot going on in this manga, but that only made me more interested in reading it through to the end. I really love the main plot. No, family curses are nothing new, and neither is time travel. Still, I like the way Miyamoto used them in this story. The time travel is less science-fiction and more of a magical mystery. Akihiko travels in his sleeps and he’s unsure why he can travel some nights and not others. I’m sure that’s something that will be discovered as the series continues. He and his ancestor, Eitarou, are both working to solve the mystery of the curse and decide they’ll work together. There’s also Ren, Akihiko’s young cousin, who’s having a hard time keeping his hands to himself. Their dynamic is what really sets the stage for Akihiko’s relationship with Eitarou. The two look very similar in the face, and it causes Akihiko to have some very confusing feelings. I liked both Akihiko and Eitarou, but I’m not sold on Ren yet. It’s mostly because he brought in the old yaoi trope of overbearing seduction that borders on sexual harassment. I think this is such a great and original manga (within its genre) otherwise, so I hope that kind of things doesn’t continue and they’re relationship is developed a little more. Something I’m always sure to look for in manga now is clarity. Sometimes I find myself hopelessly confused when reading manga. I think at this point it has less to do with cultural differences and than poor translation. This manga never confused me. Everything was perfectly clear, and that’s important to me in a manga with fantasy elements. The art was great, sometimes downright beautiful. I’m noticing a trend in the quality and definition of art in manga intended for more mature readers. I’m not sure why that is, but I like it. Honestly, Ren and Akihiko’s relationship development was the only thing I found lacking in the manga. I’m very interested in the story and I can’t wait to read the next volume.