ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:00 - 6th July 2013, by NEO Staff


It's not difficult to understand why Ginji Ishikawa might be vehemently against any mention of anything to do with ghosts. Every night, the high school student is haunted by visions of his dead brother, who committed suicide by hanging himself. Consequently, Ginji denies the existence of anything remotely connected to the occult, and his distaste for those who indulge in flirting a little with the paranormal is even starting to affect his love life. Girl after girl is rejected, even if their only crime is to check their horoscopes to see whether they are compatible with him.

However, it seems as though Ginji may have found his girl in Nachi Takamatsu, the last lady that his friend Hatakeyama was willing to fix him up with. On a double date at a theme park, things seem to be going well - until the couple enter a haunted mansion, and Nachi takes her chance to dredge up the death of a young girl on a railway line some years previously. Before she can elaborate further, one of the haunted house's employees attempts to scare the pair - so Ginji lays him out!

In order to brush the incident under the carpet, the haunted house owner demands that Ginji pay him ¥600,000 - or the equivalent of several thousand pounds. But if there's one thing we've learned from the manga gods, is that as they take with one hand, they give with the other - and Ginji receives a fairly tempting offer from an eccentric looking youngster called Ageha. If Ginji will help Ageha rid the world of ghosts, then his debt will be paid off - but can Ginji overcome his distaste for the occult?
Each story is based around the basic formula of Ageha and Ginji meeting with people who are being haunted by a spirit, which the pair offer to exorcise for a fee. Here's where it gets a bit kooky though - Ageha has the ability to channel spirits in order that Ginji can destroy them, but claims they're not real ghosts, just figments of Ageha's imagination that are capable of being seen by everyone. It just so happens that Ginji also has the singular ability of being able to dispose of these so-called ghosts, making them the perfect, fraudulent exorcist couple. Weirdly, despite the exorcists only being called out because a haunting supposedly exists to start with, no one (so far) seems to have complained about a spirit reappearing, even though, presumably, bashing a fake spirit actually doesn't tackle the heart of the problem. And, even stranger still, no one seems to find it all that weird that the exorcism method relies on Ginji beating the heck out of the spirit until it disintegrates.

All of these slight niggles might have left us cold for Butterfly, were it not for the intriguing overarching plot concerning Ginji's dead brother - whom we learn more about as the volume continues. It's hinted that various other characters may have information about what really happened surrounding his death, and this volume ended in a killer (ahem) cliffhanger which is sure to have you coming back for more.

A surprisingly addictive story woven around some fairly strange concepts - even for manga!
SCORE: 4/5
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