Takakazu Nagakubo

Writer/artist Takakazu Nagakubo combines intricate story-lines and interesting characters with subject matter researched with a thoroughness that would put most journalists to shame.  The result is stories that are not only emotionally engaging, but intellectually stimulating.  He also has a sense of humor which lends a unique personality to his works.

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Nagakubo seems to write primarily for a teenage audience, and some of his works do get a little gory.  They also can require a fairly high reading level (or a lot of patience), as can be seen just from the titles.  But the stories are well worth the effort, and his works are highly recommended to more experienced or adventurous readers.

Featured Series:  Karura Mau!

For centuries the Ougi family has been fighting against the forces of evil under the auspices of their patron deity Karura (the Japanese Buddhist derivation of the Hindu Garuda).  But when twins are born in the 38th generation, the hereditary powers are divided between them.  Shouko has the spiritual abilities of the "Scroll of Heaven" and Maiko the physical powers of the "Scroll of Earth." Their personalities are just as different, but by joining together they can face any evil.

(Braver hearts than mine have despaired of translating the full title Hengen Taima Yakou Karura Mau! into English.  Literally, it would come out as something like "Transformation Repel Evil Night Travel Karura Dances!"  However, just as an example, "mau" should probably be rendered as something more like "comes forth," judging by its use within the story.  In the end, most prefer just to leave it untranslated.  If nothing else, it’s much shorter!)

Nagakubo’s masterpiece, Karura Mau! was also animated as a movie and a video series.  Ended by the untimely demise of the monthly magazine Halloween, it was followed by the sequel Shin Karura Mau! in Susperia and Susperia Mystery.  A separate Shin Karura Mau! (using a different character for "shin") and several shorter sequels were serialized in Mystery Bonita.  The latest segment is currently running in the ladies' horror comics magazine Horror Silky.

As is already apparent in the final volumes of the original Karura Mau! series, however, Nagakubo had finished the story he intended to tell.  What I have read of the sequels are by no means bad, but I could not help feeling that the ongoing saga was suffering from its own popularity.

GHC Bibliography