Quick info about this type of book review before I get started. This book is a manga, and as anyone who reads manga knows the title is for the entire series not just one book. As such for this and any other manga I look at it, the review will be of the series as a whole (whether finished or ongoing).
The Betrayal Knows My Name starts with a boy named Yuki Sakurai. He has been raised in an orphanage since he was a baby. He has a kind heart and helpful nature, but has always felt somehow alone and constantly fearing that people will find out about his strange ability to see people’s deepest secrets and cruelest emotions. The darkest parts of their hearts are open to Yuki through one simple touch.
Left in the bushes in front of the orphanage, no one ever saw or knew who his parents were or where he came from. Yuki wants more than anything to be needed, and wishes to know what his purpose is. Why was he born? Just as Yuki turns fifteen and starts high school his questions will be answered in the strangest way.
Trying to aid a friend Yuki is nearly run down by a car, and saved at the last moment by a strikingly beautiful man with silver eyes. Eyes that seem to tug at something deep in Yuki’s soul.
Before Yuki can even understand his sudden feeling of connection to a man he’s only just met, he is attacked by monster-like creatures. He is saved by the silvered-eye man again as well as two high school students.
Then Yuki learns of the battle between the Giou Clan, a clan whose members have supernatural abilities like his own, and the Duras, or demons. This battle has been raging for over a thousand years, with the same warriors of the Giou being reborn again and again until it is done. It is a battle that Yuki has a large role in. A role he has played many times before.
Moving to Tokyo to take his place among the Giou, Yuki must learn to control his powers if he is to help his new found family. But far greater challenges than Yuki knows await him. Will he be able to figure out why he feels such a strong connection to the silver-eyed Duras, Luka who seems to have joined the Giou solely to protect Yuki? And when the true reason for this war comes to light will Yuki be able to handle a betrayal he never saw coming?
Thoughts on The Betrayal Knows My Name
I have read many a manga in my time. So many in fact that at one point I found that I couldn’t get into them like I used to. The Betrayal Knows My Name changed all that. I could not put it down. I read the first volume, and had to get the rest as soon as possible.
I’ve often said that the best characters in manga have tragic back stories. It’s a sad fact, but if a character does not have a tragic back story (or no back story at all) they are not that great of a character in manga.
In this manga all the characters blew me away. They all have perfect tragic back stories (with a bunch of past lives behind them of course they would). This makes excellent fodder for the emotional depth of the plot as the characters must work out many hard things while already in the very hard situation of war.
I love them all really, but if I told you about all the characters we’d be here all day. The main focus of this manga is the character Yuki and his relationship with everyone, especially Luka.
Those two have a very important relationship linking back to Yuki’s past life. I won’t go into full details here because I want you to read it for yourselves, but their relationship is the one I really love the most.
Luka really is the perfect guy and Yuki you really just want to hug. He’s always trying to solve everyone else’s problems no matter how much pain it causes him and never worrying about himself. But never fear that’s what Luka is there for.
I really love both of these characters, and have reread their numerous scenes together just because I can’t get enough. I really want them to be happy. I really want all the characters to end up happy.
That’s the way this manga makes you feel. Like you know them all and want them to be happy in the end because after a thousand years of war they deserve it.
The title was what drew me to this manga in the first place. Even though I have read all the ones that are currently out (in English) I still haven’t quite worked out what it means.
The thousand year war was started by a member of the Giou Clan (not saying who) who betrayed them to the Duras. So I guess that’s the big betrayal, but within the story there are many other betrayals that are going on.
The Giou lie to each other, withhold information, and everyone seems to have a secret agenda. It certainly makes a great story that keeps you guessing (despite the confusing title).
The element of the supernatural and a war between humans and demons going on in secret alongside modern day Tokyo makes for a great story in its own right, and the characters and their complex relationships carry it through.
The artwork in this manga is honestly some of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s so beautiful and somewhat sad. It’s like Hotaru Odagiri has taken the essence of the story and given it physical form in her drawings. Just beautiful. An overall superb manga in every possible way.
My Recommendation: The official ranking on this is Older Teen. Stick to that. It’s not quite in the levels of the M rating (eighteen and up) but this series is definitely in the range of sixteen and up. This manga is NOT for children.
Manga-ka (author): Hotaru Odagiri
Genre(s): fantasy, romance, shounen ai (this is a manga genre that features boys being intimate with each other in between friends and lovers) leading towards yaoi (this is the genre of boy love; I think and hope its heading this way anyway!)
Publisher (English): Yen Press
Volumes Released (in English): 6 (first five hold two volumes in one); this series is still ongoing
First Released (in English): 2011