2016’s Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 1 (Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi) collects the first five issues of Waco1 Ioka’s manga adaptation of Midori Yūma’s light fantasy series of novels.
Aoi Tsubaki’s grandfather Shiro had a bad reputation. But to Aoi he was the man who rescued her from childhood misery after her mother abandoned her. Still, she must admit to herself that the reason his funeral was well attended may have been that many people wanted to assure themselves that their exploiter was actually dead.
Though she is not yet aware of this, Aoi was one of Shiro’s victims.
College-age Aoi shared with her grandfather the ability to see Ayakashi. This grants her no ability to control the spirits and demons, but it does make her of considerable interest to them. Thus far she has been able to bribe the Ayakashi to leave her alone by feeding them. As is the nature of such beings, the Ayakashi aren’t grateful; they are annoyed that she does not feed them better.
The Ayakashi Ōdanna entraps Aoi. He begs food, then returns her bento box with a present: an ornate scarf. The scarf is a trap; when Aoi looks closely at it, she is transported from the human realm to the Ayakashi world. Specifically, to Ōdanna-sama’s luxurious Tenjin-ya inn, where Ōdanna informs the astounded young woman that they are to marry.
Shiro ran up a one hundred-million-yen debt with Ōdanna-sama. He negotiated a payment schedule. Aoi was collateral in case Shiro died before paying off the debt. As he did.
Although Ōdanna is quite good looking, Aoi has no interest in marrying him. Instead, she asks for a chance to work off Shiro’s debt. Ōdanna agrees, although he doubts that she’ll find a job. Still, she might get lucky.
Ōdanna is right and wrong. Nobody wants to hire Aoi. There is, however, the possibility of self-employment as a caterer.
As you might expect, the plucky protagonist of an on-going series does not get eaten in the first volume. The Ayakashi appear to be long on intimidating threats and short on actual brutal violence inflicted on defenseless, delicious humans.
Manga feature all too many awful and/or absent parents and guardians. Aoi’s mother is one. Shiro would be another. It was an ugly move to use Aoi as collateral.
Aoi’s survives by creating sumptuous meals from whatever’s available. The manga goes to lengths to tell you how she does it. Don’t read this if you are hungry.
It seems certain that Aoi will commandeer the conveniently vacant, well-stocked building on the inn’s property for a restaurant. That doesn’t really happen in this volume, although she does discover the existence of the recently abandoned structure.
The art is pleasing. That said, this may be a series that calls for archival bingeing rather than slow, deliberate consumption.
1: The transliterated spelling of the author’s first name is variously given as either Wako or Waco. I’ve used Simon & Schuster’s spelling.