Yokaiden 1

“Yokaiden 1” (2008). Published by Del Rey Manga

Ages 13+
Art and script by Nina Matsumoto (me!)

Yokai…Japanese spirits. Most people fear them, and a few people even hunt them, thinking they are horrible monsters to be destroyed at all costs. But young Hamachi wants to be friends with them! He sees them as mischievous creatures that could coexist peacefully with humans if only given a chance.

When his grandmother dies under mysterious circumstances, Hamachi journeys into the Yokai realm. Along the way, he encounters an ogre who punishes truant children, an angry water spirit, and a talking lantern. Will Hamachi be able to find his grandmother’s killer, or will he be lost forever in another world?


Yokaiden is Matsumoto’s first full-length (print) published work, but you’d never guess it from reading her perfectly-paced story and almost flawless comic-timing.”
-Deb Aoki, About.com

“Quite simply, Yokaiden 1 announces Matsumoto as a major talent. […] think of Yokaiden as a hip, new manga version of Jeff Smith’s Bone. The witty, self-assured voice, the carefully developed (and memorable) supporting cast, and the total command of the fantasy elements are that strong.”
-Peter GutiƩrrez, Firefox News

“If you are already familiar with what you’re looking at, there is a lot to appreciate in Matsumoto’s vivid depiction of the yokai. […] I imagine that someone coming into this fresh would similarly be delighted by the look and actions of the beings in Yokaiden.”
-Scott Green, Ain’t It Cool News

Yokaiden (Del Rey) has a lot of things working in its favor, but the one that really sells it for me is its wry authorial voice. The peppering of sly, smart humor elevates what might otherwise be a fairly generic folklore tour.”
-David Welsh, Precocious Curmudgeon

“It’s charming as hell to the point of being buoyant, and ends on a cliffhanger that leaves me wanting to read VOLUME 2, like, yesterday.”
-Rod Lott, Bookgasm

Yokaiden is a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of yokai.”
-Holly Ellingwood, activeanime.com

“[…] it may be the best OEL manga I’ve read thus far, not only because it taps into the usual trove of visual tropes from manga but also a whole cache of concepts from Japanese mythology.”
-Serdar Yegulap, Advanced Media Network Anime

“If you never believed there were monsters under your bed, but sometimes wished there were, this just may be the series for you.
-Ben Leary, Mania.com

“Matsumoto is a tremendous talent, her art flowing with grace and imagination and her dialogue loaded with zippy puns and snarky wit. I was completely enamored of the world she put to paper here, and can’t wait to see more of it.”
-Marc Mason, Comics Waiting Room

“In Hamachi, Yokaiden has the kind of spunky, brave kid that readers will want to follow for a few volumes.”
Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin

“Kids who enjoy Spirited Away or even Pokemon will find much to like in this well written, expertly drawn story.”
-Brigid Alverson, Graphic Novel Reporter

“With a bold sense of line, striking visual designs and clearly defined layouts, this is one made-in-America project that avoids the self-consciousness of ‘trying to look like manga’ and lets the artist’s style speak for itself.”
-Carlo Santos, Anime News Network

“[…] as this is an original production for Del Rey, I would hope that stateside manga companies take a note from Yokaiden, as this is how it should be done if you’re not going to be translating and releasing an American version of a Japanese title […]”
-Kurt Noll, Book Fetish

“Once in a blue moon a manga comes along from a first time author that is not only a brilliant first try but also a unpredictably well told story that makes you wish the next one comes out soon.”
-Brenda Gregson, Animanga Nation

More reviews of Yokaiden 1 at Amazon, Chapters and Goodreads!