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Hanako and the Terror of Allegory: Volume 1    by Sakae Esuno order for
Hanako and the Terror of Allegory
by Sakae Esuno
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2010 (2010)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

The title of Sakae Esuno's latest manga has a nice ring to it. However, it feels like something was inadvertently lost in translation. While allegory does mean a tale, and Hanako an the Terror of Allegory is about stories, allegories are specific tales with abstract, often religious, symbolism. Those in this manga are not allegories, but rather urban legends.

Ever since hearing the story about The Man under the Bed, Kanae Hiranuma has been haunted by one, which is why she goes to see Daisuke Aso, the Allegory Detective. Aso himself is haunted by two allegories one of them is about a hundred hiccups and the other is Hanako, a spirit tied to the bathroom. After Aso solves Kanae's case, he gets her to join the detective agency, where they solve two more urban legends: Slit Mouthed Woman and Human-Faced Fish.

Hanako and the Terror of Allegory is a fun horror manga, but more than the title loses meaning in translation. The three stories in this volume are all Japanese urban legends unfamiliar to Westerners, which takes away from the terror, and leaves the reader a little confused. Sakae Esuno's artwork is on par, though, and does add to the mystery. But for a manga like Hanako and the Terror of Allegory to work in North America the same way it does in Japan, it would have to contain stories like High Beams or The Hook, or other classic American urban legends.

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