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Rasetsu Vol. #09 Manga Review

3 min read

Love, loss, and Rasetsu in the middle of it all.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Chika Shiomi
Translation/Adaptation: Kinami Watabe

What They Say
When the evil spirit shows up on Rasetsu’s birthday as promised, Rasetsu and her friends engage in a final showdown against it. Will Rasetsu be able to defeat her demon and live? Or will this birthday be her last?

Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I’ll admit it, I cried at the end of Rasetsu.

The final fight is a long one, with much soul searching and determination on both sides of the conflict. Much of the struggle is internal, with each character battling their own fears and regrets as the darkness swirls around them.

Yako does his best to protect Rasetsu from the looming darkness, confronting his own past in the process. Even the Chief has events from his past that must overcome to finally banish the evil which has taken so much from him, and threatens to take more. Still, I can’t help but think that if the Chief and Kuryu had been more forthcoming with all the information they’d been keeping from the others the situation may have been easier for them all to deal with.

Rasetsu finally finds the answer she needed to fight back. Here and in the previous volume it’s clear than even with the brace face she put on for everyone, she was still terrified of this confrontation. Free of five years of torment she could finally break free, but not without some sacrifices.
The message at the conclusion of the story was surprising, revealing the fatal flaw that lies behind the phrase ‘happily ever after’ that is usually implied at the end of romance stories. Instead it’s replaced by a mature sentiment, showing that the characters have truly grown up after their ordeal. The very last pages are a clever call back to the beginning of the series and are a satisfying close to the story.

An author’s note betrays why the early volumes seemed so listless. It appears that Shiomi didn’t know which direction to take the story for awhile. She gives thanks to the editor that helped give the story a clear path. Even with the weaker early volumes, the pacing for the series as a whole has been fairly spot on. The end result is a worthwhile read with a satisfying and touching conclusion.

In Summary:
Rasetsu is a series that gets off to a slow start. It struggles for the first few volumes, relying on a ‘ghost-of-the-week’ while we get to know the characters before focusing in on them for the rest of the series. Everything comes together long before the heart wrenching finale, tying up it’s story with themes of love, hope and acceptance. The art is lovely to look at, with character designs harkening back to manga fifteen years ago, but with clean, modern line work. Chika Shiomi excels at drawing amazing wardrobes for the cast, who dress far better than I ever could. For readers who like their romance with a touch of the supernatural, I highly recommend taking a look at this series.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Released Date: June 7th, 2011
MSRP: $9.99

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