Okay, again, I feel bad reviewing an older manga with limited availability, but Eerie Queerie! is worth discussing, at least a little bit. This four-volume series by Shuri Shiozu was an early addition to my manga collection (I have a lot of manga...a bookshelf of manga), and it remains one of my favorites. Not because it is exceptionally complex (it isn't), not because it is well illustrated (it isn't), not because it is angst filled and character driven (it isn't...not really), not because there are possessed masks housing goat-demons who try to seduce high-school mediums, or embittered ghostly servants forced into cat cos-play by perverted bisexual priests, or cross-dressing shrine "maidens" who woo lost-loves with funny faced frogs. Ah, I'm such a liar, it's totally those last three things.
Eerie Queerie! is adorable and ridiculous. I wind up "ooh"-ing and giggling aloud every time I read it. It's just so...cute? Certainly the main character, Mitsuo Shiozu (same last name as the author...on purpose!), a high-schooler who can see the dead and is extremely susceptible to possession, is a goofy, giggly teen with a heart of gold and a deep connection to his few friends. He has spent a lonely life, but due to some unforeseeable hijinks involving a dead school girl, he forges a close friendship with (super hot) Hasunuma who is interested in folklore and the occult. His first, best and most-devoted friend, Hasunuma, obviously has strong feelings for Mitsuo that go beyond friendship and a willingness to protect innocent Mitsuo from the world. However, confused Mitsuo fails to make the connections between Hasunuma's feelings and their affectionate interactions...Mitsuo realizes his own feelings of love towards Hasunuma later, and is appalled that HE might be taking advantage of his "innocent" friend (Hasunuma uses every ploy in the book to get Mitsuo closer to him, or lay "claim" to him in front of rivals). As a reader I cannot help but laugh and laugh at Mitsuo's confusion and the entire comedy of errors that is Eerie Queerie!.
Here is a typical Hasunuma move (with a typical Mitsuo response):
Hasunuma is my favorite character in this series. His devotion to Mitsuo, his playfulness (despite the serious nature of his feelings), his sweetness, his sacrifices and his infinite patience make him a little swoonworthy. Everytime I reread E Q! I find myself rooting for Hasunuma (he's the biggest flirt in the world), and rolling my eyes at the baffled reactions of Mitsuo. Hasunuma is not the lead in the story, but he is the romantic lead...it makes for an odd and compelling will they/won't they situation (actually more of a will Mitsuo realize/won't he realize) which all works out happily (and goofily) in the end.
Eerie Queerie! isn't deep and profound. It isn't soul-shattering. It isn't much more than a ridiculously amusing supernatural comedy, but it is really, really cute without being annoying or precious. Ultimately, it is worth a read, especially if you like aggressively perverted Shinto priests...and it turns out I do.
Note: the rating on E Q! is 16+, but there is NO graphic sex in this. There are sexual situations and a crazy amount of innuendo, but no actual sex. As far as yaoi goes, it is pretty tame, and sweet without being smutty. The only risky character is the Shinto priest who does get a little "handsy" at times. I would say that this might be more of a PG-13 series than a restricted one, but that's just liberal ol'me.