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Inkspot Fancy

Comics and fantasy and sci-fi, oh my!

Currently reading

The House on the Borderland
William Hope Hodgson
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Carol Berg
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Satoru Matsuba

Back in the Silver Star Tea House

Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun, Vol. 2: The Lodger - Shin Mashiba

Second volume, and while we're certainly sticking with the short one- or two-chapter stories  for the most part, we're finally getting into something like an overarching plot. We start to get an idea who Hiruko might be and why he haunts - for lack of a better word - the Silver Star Tea House.

We also meet all but... one? I think there's one more recurring character to come yet, but in addition to Hiruko and Mizuki the proprietess, we get to meet Hifumi, a son of a rich family who decides to rent a room at the Tea House, as well as Kairi (proprietor of the Delerium, a place where people's wishes sort of come true, a place for people lost in fantasy) and his assistant Shima.

Kairi is about as you would suspect someone running a place called "Delerium" would be. He's not all together there, and has a little bit of a mean streak, but mostly he likes to spend his time in daydreams, which is why he needs Shima around to keep him from just drifting off entirely.

While they're in keeping with the mood of the book so far, Hifumi is a bit... different. He's blunt, he's over-the-top and he's mostly only there because he believes he's fallen in "love at first sight" with Mizuki. But at the same time, he's sort of the only person in this story who so far feels grounded in something like reality. It gave him somewhat the feel of an outsider, but I think it's a good dynamic.

And around all of this we have a pretty solid collection of stories acting as a backdrop. A couple whose love is expressed in a painting, but not the way they might think. A couple cases of questionable memories being warped in nightmares. And an episode where we get a glimpse into Mizuki's reasons for running the tea shop and being so okay with a renter who eats nightmares.

All in all, I thought it was a step up from the first volume, an entertaining read, and still managed to pull out a few unsettling moments, even if Mizuki's backstory felt like it was trying a little too hard.