Necratoholic is one awesome vampire-yaoi manga that I had come across a while back. Not to mention that the bishounens are well-drawn. Naturally, when you like a certain work by a particular mangaka, you tend to search for his/her other works and that was how I came across Tactics by the same author of Necratoholic.
Tactics is a “joint venture” between mangakas Kinoshita Sakura and Kazuko Higashiyama (whose penname is Wasabi Maguro as yaoi mangaka). If I recall correctly, they each came up with a character design – Kantarou and Haruka.
There’s an anime adaptation and honestly, I have yet to read the mangas but I do however, completed watching all 25 episodes of the anime.
Kantarou has the ability to see and communicate with youkais since he was little. Since he’s weak and small, more than often he got bullied and he would confide in his youkai friends. From his youkai friends, he found out that there’s a great oni-eating tengu out there but is sealed due to its violent nature and ever since then he has been on lookout for him and hoping that he’ll get to meet it someday and unseal it. True enough. He found the rock where he was supposedly sealed in and managed to release it. He then named the infamous oni-eating tengu as Haruka and thus, bind it to him on a contract. You see, when a youkai is given a name, it is automatically bind to its master, the person who give it a name. As such, Haruka has no choice but to follow Kantarou’s order(s) as his master.
Much of the series focused on Kantarou’s youkai-busting jobs. Some youkais are bad-natured and as such, in cases like this, Kantarou is called upon to exorcise it. Seeing as he is weak at times, Haruka acts as his bodyguard and accompanied him to job site at all times. He does have a day job – a folklore writer and as one, he has put Reiko, his editor in much stress.
Other interesting characters include:
Youko – a lonely youkai who pretended to be Kantarou’s husband. Kantarou of course realised this but being kind-hearted as he has always been, he took her into the household and ever since then Youko has been doing his house chores diligently and even cooked for him.
Suzu – a little girl who has been following him (even to job sites) since…(I don’t remember when). She had quite a crush on Haruka (so does most of the girls throughout the series). In the end of the series, the truth about her is revealed…
Hasumi Ryoukan – a fellow expert of the same field as Kantarou. He however, dismissed the existence of youkais to the extend of referring one as foreigner when he does in fact, sees Muu-chan, a youkai. Source of comic relief at times. Lol.
Rosalie – Hasumi’s adoptive daughter whom he first met on his assignment in London. She does have spiritual power of her own and is easily possessed.
Sugino – a youkai, Muu-chan’s husband. A white tengu (Haruka’s a black tengu).
In the beginning of the series, there doesn’t seem to be much plot development, it’s more on Kantarou and co.’s youkai-busting actions. Thankfully, the real plot started to show by the 14th episode (if I remember correctly).
Almost every fangirls out there are literally screaming for more Haruka x Kantarou. Haha. From my point of view, there’s no indication or whatsoever that Tactics has BL themes in it but the fangirl in me saw some hints pointing to Haruka and Kantarou’s “closeness” (or was it just pure friendship?). Still, the creators of Tactics did managed to tease us fangirls with hints of shounen-ai between our favourite characters, Haruka and Kantarou. Lol.
And to top it all of, the seiyuu for Haruka is Takahiro Sakurai who happened to be my favourite (since D.Gray-man’s Kanda Yu). His voice gives out the manly and stoic impression and often, he voices cool anime characters. I still, however, can’t imagine that the voice of Junjou Romantica’s Misaki is his…oh well…
In conclusion, Tactics isn’t the anime that I would consider to watch again but it was enjoyable the first time nonetheless.