Verdict: KAI combines horror, drama, mystery, and philosophy in an engaging, gory and violent character study of two young girls.
In a fit of violent depression, a young girl vows vengeance on the world despite locking herself in her room. On the opposite side of the world, another young girl copes with the loss of her adoptive parents while reality falls apart around her. Their lives will collide in a terrifying conclusion that is horrifying and haunting.
KAI is the tale of two girls, one in Hiroshima and one in Chicago. Satsuki is a lonely nerdy teenager living in Japan. She learns her mother is pregnant with a girl, and not even Satsuki’s loneliness can dampen her exuberant joy. Unfortunately, her mother suffers a miscarriage prompting her to spiral into a rage-fueled depression and locks herself away. The other girl, Seul Bi, lost her parents in a violently gory accident. Her reality never quite settles and she drifts through life. As strange as it might sound, their lives are closely intertwined. Satsuki and Seul Bi are connected, a connection that tightens as reality shatters and horrors are unleashed.
Vasconi has created a strange story. The first section of the book reads like a family drama with hints of trauma. Despite a slow start, the pages fly by as the girls’ connection strengthens and snaps in a violently shocking conclusion. The writing is sparse when it needs to be but deeply descriptive when the hellishly traumatic events begin. The use of typography, iconography, and graphics between sections all lend a sense of interactivity to the story that grabs ahold and never lets go. The two main characters are fleshed out and dynamic. Vasconi deftly weaves a tension throughout that subtly increases the uneasy shared by Seul Bi as her life crumbles. By the time she faces a burned man, the horrors of nuclear war, and a growing mass of worms, there is little doubt this is a solid entry in the horror genre. From there, the gruesome and haunting events crescendo in a climax that prompts some deep thought.
KAI combines horror, drama, mystery, and philosophy in an engaging, gory and violent character study of two young girls.