Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter is odd. I did not know what to expect, but I think it was more along the lines of something funny and cute. Even thought it is about ghosts. And oh, yes. I would have liked to have seen some actual ghosts.
The two main characters of the story are in France when they receive an email from a friend in Japan. Due to a (possible) mix up (or the friend is just bossy, which he and his wife are. Yet, it does seem like they mostly care, bringing in a piece of the culture and how friends and family can be one), the friend thinks they are coming back to Japan. Well, not ones to pass up a trip, they take the journey back. Where the woman of the team finds a camera and film that only shoots ghosts. Or so the proprietor of the shop says. And here is where I stopped 100 percent enjoying myself.
The book is about traveling to the point, background on the people around them, and never really seeing ghosts. Maybe you feel a breeze or two, but you are outside, breezes happen. A good story (and each character from Japan they meet has a story to tell about ghosts or spirits, or as they call them Yokai) can make you think you see things, but even though there are photographs they are easily explained away as the results of what you learn is a child’s toy, or because of over exposure or even double exposures.
Atelier Sento (also known as Cecile Brun and Olivier Picard) made a story that had some interesting potential that never came for me. This is probably mostly due to it being a translation by Marie Velde. Translations are not always “smooth” to my reading ear-eye. And this had those kinds of bumps. The artwork was nice (the publisher description says watercolor and colored pencil images done by Sento). Part fantasy, part travel story, part something else (which is whatever the reader needs from it), this book is aimed at middle readers. However, I know that as a kid this book would have bored me, frankly. I think it really is meant for adults. The format of a larger picture book graphic novel could turn off the ages meant for (strong eight to twelve of so).
Even though I am not jumping up and down over this book, I am glad I had the opportunity to read it.