“Betrayal Knows my Name” is a manga with beautiful artwork, though it seems to hold more of the Korean style than the standard Japanese. By this, I mean the characters are dressed very trendy and with jewelry which doesn’t typically find it’s way in manga. Also, there seems to be a lot more detail in hair and the clothing in general, which is more common in Korean manhwa.
This story is boarder-line gender bender/shounen-ai but hasn’t really crossed into the BL department yet in the series, though it does come close. The only reason why it would even be considered shounen-ai is because the main character, Yuki, was reincarnated as a male when she/he has a female soul and all throughout his past lives was a girl. In both the anime (yes, there is an anime) and the manga thus far though, nothing romantic has happened between him and his past life partner.
If you’re curious about the anime, it only goes about midway of the English Volume 2 books. I have to differentiate between the English and the Japanese, because in order for them to catch up to the current release, they combined 2 volumes into each English release until Volume 6.
You get the impression that the Yuki in past lives was a bit more anti-social and meek, and that this is perhaps the reason she decided to be born male. And though current Yuki in the beginning does seem to kick a bit of ass, I am a disappointed that as you get further in the manga his martial arts and fighting capabilities stop being used and appears to have a bit less of a fighting spirit.
The main story revolves around a group of teenagers and young adults who work in pairs. Together, they exorcist those infected by evil spirits by first having one push them out of people’s bodies, and the other forming a cage. Basically the two work together as offensive and defensive; attack and entrap. Their powers have religious names, such as “Hand of God” and “Light of God,” but from what I understand of the story, the powers don’t come from any deity.
Between the battles of the “trash mobs” the secret of this long, drawn-out battle emerges. I don’t want to give too much away, and much of it still remains a mystery, but what you do eventually learn is that this millennium long battle is the struggle of basic human existence. Pretty standard in most shounens. While their souls are tired of constantly being reborn into battle, they continue to do so in the hope of victory and finally being able to rest.
For me personally, the main thing that grabs your attention is the artwork, which remains constant throughout the books. It looks as good as the cover art. The storyline does have some slow moments, but it is very captivating and detailed, which is probably why there are times when all that is going on is talking. The mangaka, Odagiri Hotaru, adds a lot of backstabbing, plot twists, and sorrow between the characters. This of course could be assumed from the title, but it’s nice to actually see it throughout the work.
If you are interested in the manga, you can read it here. Sadly, it hasn’t had any English release in a year, and I haven’t seen any scanlations in almost two. However, no research has been found by me indicating a drop in the series. The anime is a bit more difficult to obtain, and though I have seen YouTube posts of it, the quality leaves you wanting. I do have the downloads of though, so if asked nicely and truly interested, I am sure those can be shared.