WINTER DEMON VOL: 1
REVIEWED BY: SANDRA SCHOLES OF ACTIVE ANIME
Hakuin, a handsome young monk prostrates himself before an image of the Buddha, keeping himself away from all the hurt and destruction around him. While comforted in his prayers, Hakuin is visited by a fellow monk who needs his help more now than ever before.
A village is under the threat of its entire people being slaughtered at the whim of a group of fire demon lords who descend on the village of Buddhist monks and rural people, wanting to take it over and use some of their people as slaves.
The demon lord and his companions realise though that they have been observed and waited for. It is also one of the demons grisly intentions to kill and eat the flesh of the villagers.
Rampaging through the houses and scaring the people, they unleash their fury in the form of fire bombs, while a female demoness notices a young monk with long, flowing hair and instantly she becomes interested in him, as to the fact he is not as pure as a monk should be in that region. She senses he has been used, and taken advantage of a number of times.
The demon lord Ratsu casts his eyes over the villagers, his companion demons wanting to destroy the people who live there purely for fun, as they are bloodthirsty in their ways.
The village leader bows before the fire demons and asks that they take whatever they wish, but spare the lives of their people, and he does just that when his eyes land on Hakuin, who is enough to encourage his inner desires.
Later, while all the monks are in a meeting, Hakuin is denied to commit suicide, and instead given orders to go forth, though there must be another monk by his side. When asked what it is they want him for, a male from another area pleads with them to hear him. He says that a winter demon has cursed their people with a terrible winter, and famine has devastated their community. Thinking that they wish to drag an innocent from their ranks to satisfy the demon, the male tells him the ice demon asked for him, and would not be swayed by the visitation of another.
They believe if Hakuin goes to him, their winter will leave and summer will come to their village, and all will prosper again.
Caught between his feelings to kill himself and what he felt at the hands of the ice demon the first time around, he reluctantly agrees, but at what cost?
His fellow monk tells him there are three choices for him, he can put an end to his life, be used by the ice demon, or go back to him and face the nightmare waiting for him.
On his journey to the place he knows so well where the ice demon resides, the male from the village goes with the young monk, and Hakuin refuses to accept the hospitality of his village, leaving the male and going alone into the cave where he remembers too clearly what went on with him and the ice demon there. His mind hurt with the memories, he comes across the ice demon reclining, watching him with eagle eyes, saying that he missed the monk's presence, while Hakuin asks him if he regretted not drinking his soul. All he has thought of is Hakuin while he has been alone in his ice cave, and wishes to relive the times they had together even if the monk thought them cruel and heartless. Hakuin asks him to end the curse on the village, but the ice demon names his price, for him to be bound to him, though the ice demon finds out his own fate takes a cruel and unlikely twist.
Yamila's story is a passionate tale of destructive love one can have for another, the artwork is well presented, and the characters are memorably drawn and have a depth of emotion that is easy to feel when reading the manga.
IN SUMMARY: Sensual and erotically stunning. This is a work of beauty which keeps the reader guessing how the plot will evolve. Recommended for those who enjoy an element of mystery to their manwha.