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Fairy Cube (妖精標本フェアリーキューブ Yōsei Hyōhon Feari Kyūbu?) is a fantasy gothic shōjo manga written and illustrated by Kaori Yuki. Appearing as a serial in the Japanese manga magazine Hana to Yume from 2005 to 2006, the Fairy Cube chapters were collected into three tankōbon volumes by Hakusensha and published from October 2005 to July 2006. Yuki began Fairy Cube with the intent of writing a shorter manga series. Set in modern Japan, the series focuses on Ian Hasumi, who can see fairies, and his childhood friend Rin. After Ian's body is stolen from him, he begins a quest to regain it while stopping the fairies' plan to recapture the earth.

Viz Media licensed Fairy Cube for an English-language release in North America. It previewed the series in its manga anthology Shojo Beat and released the series from May 2008 to November 2008. The series received positive reviews. Critics liked the Celtic mythology, quick pacing, and detailed art of the series. Others criticized Yuki's use of multiple subplots and characters, and inconsistencies in the art.

Plot

The series focuses on Ian Hasumi, a timid boy who sees fairies which are invisible to normal people and who is stalked by a vengeful spirit named Tokage. His mother left before the start of the series and as a result, Ian's father burns off the wing marks on Ian's back to prevent him from doing the same. Rin, Ian's abused childhood friend and secret "crush", returns to the city where he lives. Later, Ian accidentally stumbles onto the scene of a murder; after seeing a man named Kaito retrieve a cube from the victim's body, he follows Kaito back to his antique shop, where Kaito gives him Tokage's fairy cube—the contained spirit of a fairy. However, as a result of being manipulated by Tokage, Ian's father kills him. Tokage then possesses Ian's body and takes over his life, including romancing Rin. As a spirit, Ian goes back to Kaito's shop and after a trip through the Otherworld with a small but vicious fairy named Ainsel, is given the replacement body of a young boy. Ainsel agrees to aid him in his quest to regain his body.

Encountering Tokage again, Ian learns that Tokage grew up in the Otherworld loved but when his village tried to sacrifice him to their god, he slaughtered them and the god escaped. Ian also discovers that Gotoh company, a multi-millionaire land development company run by a cross-dressing girl named Shira, plans to take over the world for the fairies under the "Elysium Project".

Meanwhile, Gotoh takes Rin hostage in an attempt to lure Ian back to them. Under the pretense of a beauty contest, the company plans to harvest the energy of the fairy cubes and bystanders to open a door to the Otherworld. Ian rescues Rin and the escaped god is revealed to be inhabiting the body of Shira's father. Ian and Tokage are forced out of the bodies that they are possessing; Ainsel, revealed to be the key to the door, merges with Ian and Ian's host body accepts Tokage. Having been held captive by Gotoh for most of the series, his mother appears and before dying, reveals that Tokage is Ian's twin who died prematurely. Shira is killed after cutting the god's life line. Kaito and Ainsel die together to close the door while Ian and Rin let the people of earth glimpse the fairies.

Production

Kaori Yuki started Fairy Cube with the goal of writing a short series.[1] When deciding on the ending, Yuki considered having Ian and Rin as the sacrifice to close the demon door, but decided against it, not wanting to "leave a nasty aftertaste".[2] She was also unable to include Ian and Tokage's newfound friendship in the manga since the plot focused on the relationship between Ian and Rin.[2] Yuki later reused Raven, a member of the clan who guards the demon door, and Tokage in the spin-off story "Psycho Knocker", in which they chase down and pacify spirits that have escaped from the demon door.[3]

The chapters of Fairy Cube appeared as a serial in the Japanese manga magazine Hana to Yume from 2005 to 2006.[4] Hakusensha collected the chapters into three tankōbon volumes. The first was released on October 19, 2005; the last was published on July 19, 2006.[5][6]

At the 2007 Comic-Con International, Viz Media announced that it had licensed Fairy Cube for an English-language release in North America.[7] Viz included a preview of Fairy Cube in the April 2008 issue of its manga anthology Shojo Beat,[8] and published the series from May 1, 2008 to November 4, 2008.[9][10] The series is also licensed in Singapore by Chuang Yi,[11] in Taiwan by Culturecom Comics,[12] in Germany by Carlsen Comics,[13] in Italy by Panini Comics,[14] and in France by Editions Tonkam.[15]

Volume list

<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th>Title</th><th style="width: 24%;">Japanese release</th><th style="width: 24%;">North American release</th></th></tr></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol01">01</td><td style="text-align: left;">The First Wing
The Day Of Rebirth</td><td>October 19, 2005[5]
ISBN 4592183517</td><td>May 1, 2008[9]
ISBN 1-4215-1668-3</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
  • Chapters 1–7

</td></tr>

<tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol02">02</td><td style="text-align: left;">The Second Wing
Fairy Thorn</td><td>February 17, 2006[16]
ISBN 4592183525</td><td>August 5, 2008[17]
ISBN 1-4215-1669-1</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
  • Chapters 8–14

</td></tr>

<tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol03">03</td><td style="text-align: left;">The Third Wing
Sluagh Sidhe</td><td>July 19, 2006[6]
ISBN 4592183533</td><td>November 4, 2008[10]
ISBN 1-4215-1670-5</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="4">
  • Chapters 15–18
  • "Psycho Knocker"

</td></tr> </table>

Reception

In November 2008, the final Fairy Cube volume debuted at the 221th spot of the list of 300 best-selling graphic novels with an estimated 516 copies sold.[18]

Reviewers praised the quick pacing, and use of Celtic mythology, which is usually not seen in manga.[19][20] IGN's A. E. Sparrow liked the series' different view of the faires.[1] Critics also compared Fairy Cube to her other two works licensed in English. Lori Henderson of Comics Village liked how the series did not feature "long, strung out plots" or the "brooding" protagonist typical of her works.[20] Writing for School Library Journal, Cara von Wrangel Kinsey considered the story "more accessible than Yuki's previous works".[21] PopCultureShock's Katherine Dacey commented that Fairy Cube was as "gloriously overripe as the best volumes of Godchild, but considerably more coherent", and noted the artwork conveyed a "delirious, almost hysterical, quality to it that suits the manga's luridly romantic tone."[22] Jason Thompson, author of Manga: The Complete Guide, rated the series three stars out of four and thought the story was "a somewhat more tighter package with more original subject matter" than Angel Sanctuary.[4] Danielle Van Gorder of Mania Entertainment wrote that the conclusion of the series was less confusing than Angel Sanctuary's and thought the story was "well-executed".[23] Reviewers also commented on the English-language cover of the first volume of Fairy Cube. Anime News Network's Casey Brienza praised the color scheme and described it as "hands down the most beautiful of any yet to be published under Viz Media's Shojo Beat imprint",[19] but Gorder worried that the cover would mislead readers into believing that it was "a light and fluffy kind of story" and drive away the target audience.[24] A French reviewer also praised the covers of first and third volumes of the French edition, calling them "magnificant".[25]

Criticism of the series focused on Yuki's use of multiple subplots, introduction of new characters halfway through, and length of the series. Dacey felt that while the series "began promisingly enough" but "started to fly apart at the seams with the introduction of new characters and a new subplot in which fairies plan to take over the world by means of a beauty pageant."[26] One reviewer disliked how quickly the story happened, commenting that the protagonists' personalities were not fully explored as a result.[25] Larry Douresseaux of Coolstreak Cartoons criticized Yuki for using too many subplots and characters, causing the manga to become "somewhat hampered" and felt that the series should have been longer.[27] Inconsistent artwork within the manga was also noted.[19]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sparrow, A.E. (27 May 2008). "Fairy Cube: Volume 1 Review". IGN. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yuki, Kaori (4 November 2008). Fairy Cube Volume 3. Viz Media. p. 206. ISBN 1-4215-1670-5. 
  3. Yuki, Kaori (4 November 2008). "Psycho Knocker". Fairy Cube Volume 3. Viz Media. pp. 131–199. ISBN 1-4215-1670-5. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Thompson, Jason (24 December 2009). "365 Days of Manga, Day 100: Fairy Cube". Suvudu. Retrieved 31 January 2010. A Gothic melodrama of extradimensional superhumans, childhood trauma and tortured relationships, Fairy Cube is reminiscent of Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary, but at three volumes it’s a somewhat tighter package with more original subject matter. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Script error
  6. 6.0 6.1 Script error
  7. Santos, Carlo (26 July 2007). "Comic-Con International 2007 - Viz Media". Anime News Network. Retrieved 29 July 2007. 
  8. Aoki, Deb (7 March 2008). "April Shojo Beat Previews Fairy Cube, New Shojo Anime". About.com. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Fairy Cube volume 1". Viz Media. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Fairy Cube volume 3". Viz Media. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  11. "Fairy Cube". Chuang Yi. Retrieved 8 June 2009. [dead link]
  12. Script error
  13. Script error
  14. Script error
  15. Script error
  16. Script error
  17. "Fairy Cube volume 2". Viz Media. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  18. "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actuals--November 2008". ICv2. 20 December 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Brienza, Casey (17 June 2008). "Fairy Cube GN1-Review-". Anime News Network. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Henderson, Lori. "Fairy Cube Volume 1". Comics Village. Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  21. von Wrangel Kinsey, Cara (1 July 2008). "Graphic Novels 7/1/2008". School Library Journal. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 
  22. Dacey, Katherine (11 May 2008). "On the Shojo Beat: Fairy Cube, Haruka, and ION". Pop Culture Shock. Retrieved 25 May 2009. 
  23. Van Gorder, Danielle (10 November 2008). "Fairy Cube Vol. #03". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved 31 January 2010. ...it's a very well-executed story that, while not flawless, was still enjoyable. There were several points in this volume where I had to go back and read a page again to figure out what exactly was going on or who was speaking, but compared to the last couple of volumes of Angel Sanctuary, the conclusion here was much cleaner. 
  24. Van Gorder, Danielle (9 July 2008). "Fairy Cube Vol. #1". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Script error
  26. Dacey, Katherine (10 November 2008). "Manga Minis 11/10/08". PopCultureShock. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  27. Douresseaux, Larry (27 October 2008). "Fairy Cube: Volume 3". Coolstreak Cartoons. Retrieved 10 June 2009. 

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