NHK’s recent announcement heralded the production of a television anime adaptation for Chisato Abe’s novel, “Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai” (The Raven Does Not Choose its Master), the second installment in her captivating “Yatagarasu” novel series. Anime enthusiasts can anticipate its debut on NHK in April 2024.
These books immerse readers in the enigmatic realm of the yatagarasu, a mythical entity reminiscent of god-crows in East Asian folklore. These extraordinary creatures possess the remarkable ability to metamorphose between human and crow forms, dwelling within “Yamauchi,” a parallel world conceived by the yatagarasu deity, Yamagami.
Yamauchi mirrors Heian-era Japan, replete with a society intricately entwined with intrigue and charm, and remains intricately connected to our own human world.
“Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai” introduces us to Yukiya, an alluring yet idiosyncratic yatagarasu youth chosen to serve as the imperial prince’s retainer. As the narrative unfolds, Yukiya and the prince find themselves entangled in the labyrinthine web of court politics and conspiracies.
Abe’s literary journey commenced with “Karasu ni Hitoe wa Niawanai” in 2012, the inaugural entry in the series. The first segment of the series boasts six novels, with “Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai” taking the spotlight as the second volume, released in 2013, accompanied by a side story novel. The saga’s second segment has thus far spawned three novels, including the most recent one released in October 2022, alongside a side story novel.
The first two novels have also given rise to manga adaptations. Natsumi Matsuzaki undertook the task of rendering “Karasu ni Hitoe wa Niawanai” into manga form, which graced Kodansha’s Comic Days app from June 2018 to April 2020. The English rendition, titled “A Raven for All Seasons,” is available on Kodansha’s K MANGA service.
Matsuzaki embarked on the “Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai” manga, commencing in Kodansha’s Evening magazine in May 2020 and subsequently migrating to Comic Days in December 2021, where its captivating narrative continues to unfold.