Kaori Yuki is an extremely talented mangaka
, or creator and artist of Japanese comics
. First published in 1987, she is famous for her exquisite, detailed drawings and gothic, controversial storylines. Much of her work is published by the manga company Hana to Yume
('Flowers and Dreams'). She is generally considered to be a 'shoujo
' mangaka, which means her comics are most often read by girls; however, Kaori's sense of storytelling is variable and void of boundary. She's not afraid of anything.
Themes explored in her stories include incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, rape, ressurection, multiple personalities, child abuse, suicide, forbidden love, race relations, homophobia, the ethical limits of technology, prostitution, serial murder, the nature of sin, the nature of God, and the nature of humanity in general. She writes about rockstars, angels, demons, nobility. She takes traditional nursery rhymes and fairy tales and repeats them like mantras against the backdrop of brutality. She brings out deep sentimentality for the most bizarre of characters. Most of all, she makes you believe - in just about everything.
Among her repertoire of published works:
Angel Sanctuary, her most well-known and celebrated series, about a high school boy named Setsuna who finds out that he is in fact the human reincarnation of the Messiah Angel, Alexiel;
Count Cain/Godchild, a series about an eccentric nobleman who collects poisions and solves mysteries by killing the perpetrator;
Boys Next Door, or Shonen Zanzou, the tragic love story between a tormented serial killer and an underaged male prostitute;
Kaine, the story of a rockstar's twin brother who is manipulated by the star's record company into playing rockstar after his brother's death in a car crash;
Neji, or Screw, a futuristic tragedy in which a boy wakes up to find he has been frozen by the government for use as an assassin;
Ludwig Revolution, a series of warped fairy tales, including a Lolita-like Snow White, an axe-murdering Little Red Riding Hood, and a version of Sleeping Beauty in which Beauty is guarded by a woman in black leather brandishing whips.
Others: Cruel Fairytale, Gravel Kingdom, Bloodhound, Psycho Knocker, Fairy Cube.
Angel Sanctuary was been licensed in America by Viz, and all the volumes have been released in decent English translation. Godchild, the final arc of the Count Cain saga, was serialized (however strangely) in the comic magazine Shojo Beat. Viz also released both Angel Sanctuary art books in English.
As Yuki herself has said of the world that her characters populate: "It's cruel, but elegant."