Hanako and the Terror of Allegory
written by Sakae Esuno
Many urban legends are meant to be scary. They’re scarier when they come true.
Ever heard of the axe man urban legend? The man stays under someone’s bed with an axe and kills them after they’ve fallen asleep. The axe man is under Kanae’s bed and she can’t let herself fall asleep. If she falls asleep, she’ll die. She can’t make him leave, either. So she goes to a special kind of detective agency in desperate need of help.
Aso Daisuke is a detective who likes to deal with nice, normal cases. However, he usually ends up dealing with supernatural problems instead. When urban legends start coming true for people, he says that they’ve been “possessed by an allegory.” In other words, when people believe allegorical stories like urban legends enough, the allegory can become reality. After getting spooked by the tale of the axe man, Kanae now has an axe man under her bed.
Whenever Aso is close to the spirits of allegories, he starts to hiccup. That lets him know something is wrong. Hiccuping might sound like a minor annoyance, except for one thing. There’s an urban legend that says if a person hiccups more than one hundred times in a row, they’ll die. This will end up being true for Aso. So not only does he have to vanquish allegory spirits, he has to do it quickly in order to keep himself alive.
In gratitude for Aso’s help with the axe man, and in order to pay off her debt, Kanae begins working at the detective agency. And more cases are always coming in. No matter how much Aso wishes he would get safe, normal cases, those pesky allegory keeps getting close to him.
The first volume deals with three urban legends—the axe man, the slit-mouthed woman, the human-faced fish—breaking off in the middle of a mystery to make readers want to pick up the next volume. Hanako and the Terror of Allegory is a fun, spooky read. It never gets too scary, but it likes to be creepy.
In terms of an audience, this manga gets an Older Teen or 16+ rating. It receives this rating for violence, nudity, and dirty jokes (like the ongoing cracks about Aso’s collection of pornography). If anything, this will probably earn the book more readers.
As of now, Hanako and the Terror of Allegory promises more ghoulish tales and urban legends stalking people. Stories of horror will always have a certain fascination among people. In the future, it would be nice if Kanae became a stronger character and did more to stop the allegory spirits, rather than turn to Aso for help. But wherever Hanako ends up going, readers will be sure to follow.-- Danica Davidson