A recent Jason Thompson column about Yumekui Kenbun — Nightmare Inspector sent me off to the library. This is a delightful mild-horror series. The art is very nice (with some wonderful dream concepts). In the first three volumes, at least, I’d say the writing is stronger than that of xxxHoLic, in a similar genre. xxxHoLic makes better use of drifting smoke and textiles, Yumekui Kenbun is a little better at the fantastic, I think.
Hiroku is a baku — a dream-eater. He hangs out in the Silver Star Tea Shop (which basically destroys the shop’s business, as only people afflicted by nightmares go there). While at first the series seems pretty nightmare-of-the-week episodic, by the third volume we’re seeing links among some of the dreams and dreamers. After reading the first few volumes from the library, I’ve decided this is a series I want to add to my collection.
The dreams are simultaneously real and surreal. Hiroku is interested only in nightmares, and many of the dreams come to suitably nightmarish conclusions. More than once, the people who seek out Hiroku’s help learn that they should be careful what they wish for. The series has a reasonable patina of pop-Freudianism: dreams are messages from the unconscious (sometimes, they are passive-aggressive messages).
We learn why Mizuki, the impoverished (and moe) tea-shop owner puts up with him in volume two.
Oh, yes, there’s another feature: this series is set in the Taisho Era. Taisho Baseball Girls (and a lot of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei‘s aesthetic) have given me a taste for the fashions of that time (if Senbonzakura turns into an OVA I’ll be thrilled, if uncertain about the political message).
(I’ll add a recommendation for Jason Thompson’s column — he’s introduced me to several manga series that I’ve enjoyed quite a lot.)