And Once Again is a webcomic that tells the story of a young boy called Borei who is also a yokai of the same name. Our tale opens with the boy opening his eyes and looking upon a strange gate where a strange person calls to him. Unsure of what to do a light shines down upon Borei and presents him with a scroll and tells him that if he wishes to discover who he was that Borei must “Find Me” to quote the comic. After finding himself dead with no memory of who he was and only a message from a mysterious voice and an all knowing scroll, he sets out to explore the world and discover its mysteries as well as the ones surrounding himself.
This webcomic tackles a very rare subject in western comics, that being the Japanese folklore and legends of yokai. Beings such as ghosts, beasts, monsters, nightmares, and many other demons and ghouls make up this rich and interesting portion of mythology that we so very rarely get many stories here in America about them. While we do have access to manga and anime which are full of stories like this, those are still from Japan. Of course being a completely different culture it’s not really that complicated as to why we would focus on our own folklore and legends, but personally, I believe that we need more books, movies, and comics about other cultures mythologies and this one is a great way to fill that spot on my shelf.
The story is interesting, giving you a character who has no memory and thus learns along with the reader allows for you to become invested fairly easily. As Borei learns and grows so do we, and not just in a metaphorical sense but in real life as the artist has done a fantastic job of incorporating splash pages of the strange scroll whenever our hero learns of a new yokai, we do as well! It is a fantastic way to not only inform the reader of what they are looking at that doesn’t involve us clicking through wiki page after wiki page (unless you’re into that kind of thing then, by all means, click away) as well as slowly expanding the world they are creating and filling it with strange, fascinating, and even very dangerous creatures.
The art is a unique combination where the characters are drawn in the creator’s personal style while the backgrounds look to be painted similarly to old Japanese paintings. It is a very start contrast and makes it very easy to find the characters no matter how busy the set pieces look. Each page almost looks like a stage play being performed with how starkly the cast stands against them, which provides a wonderful thought to me personally of how I would love to see this comic animated with this exact setup.
If you want to give a western comic about yokai a try, or already know of a few but are looking for something new, why not give And Once Again a try? I’m sure it will be more than worth your time.
And, as always, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.