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Book Review: “Touge Oni Vol. 2” Manga (2023) written by Kenji Tsurubuchi
Book Review: "Touge Oni Vol. 2" Manga (2023) written by Kenji Tsurubuchi

Book Review: “Touge Oni Vol. 2” Manga (2023) written by Kenji Tsurubuchi

The following stage of a grand journey

During a time between the era of gods and the era of humans, there was a period where both existed together. Miyo, a young orphan girl, is rescued by the priest En-no-Ozuno and joins him on his journey as a pilgrim. Their ultimate destination is to meet Hitokoto-Nushi, a powerful god who can fulfill any desire. However, Miyo finds out that she has been offered a marriage proposal in the city, which is described as a flourishing and prosperous paradise.

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The first issue of “Touge Oni” left a strong impression with its unique and captivating blend of horror and folklore. While the first volume received praise for its promising start to a new series, the second volume reveals some weaknesses in Kenji Tsurubuchi’s storytelling skills.

The series starts to decline when Tsurubuchi struggles with conveying abstract storytelling. Specifically, in “Touge Oni,” there is a theme of time manipulation where characters encounter their future selves. However, this idea is presented confusingly, making it hard to understand the purpose behind these interactions, not due to complexity but due to disorganized structure. Furthermore, the chapter includes one of the weakest sections that clumsily introduces new characters without clear relevance to the overarching plot. This combination of weak segments and awkward set-ups permeates the entire volume.

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However, to say the series is a loss is a rushed statement, as there are still glimmers of what made the initial release enjoyable. Moreover, the volume does not feel as indicative of the series moving forward as much as a deviation to try to establish more of the lore and characters. The fact that this is done awkwardly is unfortunate, but there is still the impression that the story will move forward instead of regressing. Notably, the introduction of the monk Azuma and the devious services he performs for travelers are among the best inclusions in the series thus far.

Luckily, there is one aspect that consistently impresses: Kenji Tsurubuchi’s art. Despite its deceptive complexity, it manages to please viewers. While there are moments where the art may seem basic, the fantasy elements and action scenes are visually striking in terms of size, movement, and design. This helps to make up for any shortcomings in Tsurubuchi’s ability to tell abstract stories, as these visuals are particularly well-defined and captivating.


After reading “Touge Oni” volume 2, it’s difficult not to feel a bit cautious compared to the first release. However, despite this hesitation, I am still eager to see what will happen next. There is still hope for a recovery, rather than dismissing the blend of genres and visual style that initially made “Touge Oni” so captivating.