Demon From Afar is another dark fantasy and mystery series by Kaori Yuki. Sorath is a peasant boy who lost his family during an earthquake and is taken in by Garan, the heir of Baron Kemichika. Garan and Sorath vow to each other to remain friends forever. Sorath serves as Garan’s assistant and is eternally faithful towards him and does his bidding whatever it may be. Sorath is generally unaware of what is happening around him and he takes the fall for many of Garan’s actions. Garan and Sorath have a close relationship and are willing to doing anything for one another.
Meanwhile, Baron Kemichkia has plans of his own to take over the land. This involves a massive plot relating to the world of the supernatural and many strange events start to happen.
Characters are morally grey and there are no clear cut good guys. Garan despite being a good caretaker of Sorath, is involved in dubious businesses along with his family. The overall plot was interesting and many of the story motifs that Kaori Yuki uses are easily recognizable. The manga is not as long as many of her other works and seems rushed at times. Sometimes, the pacing was a bit slow and deliberate and the story took some time to relate some of the events.
Plot twists are effective and you can’t really confirm who is evil or not. Motives aren’t exactly clear until later on but are simple to understand when revealed. The story atmosphere is a good mix of horror and suspense. There are moments of lighthearted humor and romance to give the story levity. Much of the humor comes from Laith, with many of her antics providing the reader a lot of comedy.
The setting is a mixture of modern Japan and also Japan during the feudal era and it blends in quite well. There are also European elements added with its gothic nature. The art design and character designs were excellent and you can immerse yourself in each page.
The main problem with just about everything in the story is that its derivative of many of Kaori Yuki works. Many of the characters are similar to other types of characters she has written. Some of the characters don’t necessarily get comeuppance for their actions either.
Demon from Afar is short so there is not enough time to get invested into the characters. Sorath does not do much but serve as a tool for Garan. The horror elements were unnerving and help drives the plot forward. There were many things happening all at once which leaves the story disjointed at times and you have to read things one chapter at a time to understand the full story.
As morally grey as the characters are, they are pretty generic and easily forgettable. The ending of the story was so ambigious that at the final page Kaori Yuki had to explain the fates of certain characters in the author notes. There was many plot points that were left unresolved.
Despite the authors usual brilliant artwork and background designs, the manga felt a little bland and too familiar. There was nothing different about it and combined with disjointed story telling, Demon From Afar was a forgettable read.
It has to get 3 stars out of 5.
Kaori Yuki is a highly skilled artist and writer but I can’t like it as much as I enjoyed Godchild or Angel Sanctuary. If you enjoyed her previous works then you would find enjoyment out of this but I don’t feel Demon From Afar is really up to par compared to her previous works.