Christmas is officially ten days away and Baltimorians all around are getting ready for it. So why not add to the Christmas cheer with something amazing to look at? “Miracle on 34th Street” is an excellent movie, but also a cool real event. Within the 700 block of Baltimore’s own 34th Street, you can come out and see the inflated snow globes, musical trains, blinking angels flitting about homes, and possibly more. And with all the lights, there’s always a chance to catch up on a manga or two; like Shuumatsu no Laughter.
Shuumatsu no Laughter is a story about a man who is apparently afflicted with “the mouth of a demon”, which is taboo throughout the world. Anchored not far from the town, he’s taking women from the village and killing them. One day another man shows up with a “mouth” mark on his face being followed around by a little girl. The townspeople fear those that bear the mark since they can’t die, and they’re fearful that yet another demon has shown up to wreak havoc upon them. But after meeting with the mayor of the town, the man, Luka, introduces himself as a demon eater and presents the mayor with a bargain.
Now the first thing to mention about this manga is that it is beautifully short. It’s only five chapters long. The story lays out what would seem to be the first arc in this amazingly memorable tale of woe. However, at first it comes off as entirely too short. This is likely due to the fact that the story is so captivating and so well paced. But in the fact that it is very short, it does not suffer the drags and pains of filler and excessive explaining. While this manga is beautiful, and has a good action sequence, there’s also a lot of talking. Compared to the dialogue scenes, the fight sequence is just a few page flips out of all five chapters. Nevertheless, the story is told with great detail, allowing us to be caught up with the previous state of the world as well as the current relatively quickly. In addition, the art does not fall behind in representing the dreariness of the world. Like in TANABE Yellow’s previous work, Kekkaishi, the art is simple but attractive. Nearly everything from characters to background helps add wonderfully to this tragic tale.
In the end, the manga did seem too short. Never the less, it was an amazing experience that was enjoyed. If you have the time, take a few moments to try out this charming little piece.