Winter Demon, Volume 2
Author: Yamila Abraham
Distributor: Yaoi Press
American release date: 2007
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Mature
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★
Similar series or titles to check out: 9th Sleep
According to Priest Shidan, Hakuin's touch is purifying to Fuyu, and that being the case, there must be some redemptive qualities to be found in the Demon. And although Hakuin has not forgotten or forgiven his rape by the demon a year ago, he is willing to forgive him, once he feels he is worthy of such forgiveness. In the meantime, he's leading the Winter Demon around by the nose in order to get him to do good.
They travel to another village to seek medical aid for a young girl named Kyoko. Along the way Hakuin speculates that since she has no one, perhaps he should marry her - which thought is most displeasing to Fuyu, especially when Hakuin denies that he and the demon are lovers. Reaching the village, they learn that the healer they seek, Lord Zengosaku, only serves the nobles. They go to the castle anyway, and when they meet the healer, he explains that his only patient is the very ill young son of the lord. But when he sees Fuyu, he gets an idea. The boy desires to see magic. Perhaps if Fuyu will perform for him - in disguise, of course, lest he frighten the boy - he will help to heal the girl. Although Fuyu is less than enthusiastic over this idea, Hakuin accepts the offer. The healer says he will heal the girl over three sessions, and Fuyu is to give three magic shows. Hakuin chooses to share a room with Fuyu, and when the demon shows signs of wishing to depart, Hakuin begs him prettily, for his sake - and then grants him permission to brush his hair! Not quite what the demon has in mind, but it's all he's getting. For now.
That night, as they sleep - Hakuin lying contentedly in the confused demon's arms - Ratsu the Fire Demon momentarily appears, and Fuyu realizes that the demon whip needs fixing, but he purposely does not tell Hakuin.
Each performance is more demeaning than the one before, and Fuyu is more than fed up. Only his feelings for Hakuin keep him in check. But sometimes, even so, he gets a bit out of hand - and his own reactions to those times confuse him greatly. He doesn't mean to hurt the monk, and yet he seems to keep doing that. Finally, for the last performance, he is requested to appear in Samurai armor, which gives the demon an idea, and a way to get the heck out of Dodge.
As we return to our epilogue, Figaru, we find that Figaru and Ichiro are doing very well in their newly discovered blissful honeymoon existence. Priest Shidan accidentally interrupts a lovemaking session, wishing to send Figaru to the market. Ichiro must go with him, lest the demon frighten the villagers. They start to taunt Ichiro, until they see who he is with, and he begins to gain a grudging respect he never had before. Ichiro runs across Matsuyo, a young girl who is a distant relative, whom he hasn't seen in quite a while. When he mentions her to Priest Shidan, the priests asks didn't Ichiro propose to her two years before - and a can of worms is unexpectedly opened, to Figaru's dismay. Although it kills him to do so, he encourages Ichiro to court and wed the girl. Without his Iover, the incubus is growing ill. He has to do something about his needs, but what he does isn't pleasant, and the priest is horrified at what he discovers. As is Ichiro.
A second chapter of Winter Demon finds Fuyu and Hakuin traveling to a village where the demon whip can be repaired, when they receive a request to help another village. Fuyu is adamantly opposed, feeling it is imperative they get the weapon fixed as soon as possible, but Hakuin agrees, so they end up spending the night. Fuyu then tries to soothe some of Hakuin's fears of intimacy. Can he make it all better? Or at least start to?
As I had hoped, the artist was changed from the first volume, and while the artwork is not up to Japanese standards, it is better than the first book. The relationship between Fuyu and Hakuin is developing, but at Hakuin's pace. Naturally he has reservations, and is quite conflicted. On the one hand, this is the same demon who brutally raped him before and thought nothing of it - on the other hand, under Hakuin's purifying touch, this same demon has begun to change into something softer and nicer, one that appeals to Hakuin. Yet naturally his body remembers, and it's hard not to fear the demon's touch. Which only makes their relationship that much more realistic to me, and it has me actually rooting for Fuyu, cause I think he just needs the chance to be good, and to divest himself of some of his less charming ways. Which only goes to show, as Anne Frank reminded us - there is good in everyone. And I have just one thing to say about Fuyu - he is totally whipped!
Ichiro broke my heart, though, when he left his demon, and it was hard to watch Figaru react as he did, even if a bit understandable. All I can hope is that he will return to his incubus in the future, otherwise he is a very cruel boy.
The artwork is getting better, the story is as good as always, and I find myself caught up in the characters. For me, the characters are what makes the story. Plot is important yes, but only as devices to bring out what is inside them. In this, Winter Demon succeeds admirably. There is a cute one panel bonus story at the end which is sure to produce a smile. And glancing ahead, I already know that Figaru and Fuyu are going to meet - what fun! This second volume is even better than the first, I anticipate the third eagerly.
Yamila Abraham gives us a unique world of demons and monks, throws them together in a cooking pot, and then lets us taste what comes out. Yummy!
Before you read this, read Winter Demon 1, then try Wild Rock.