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The Betrayal Knows My Name Vol. #04 Manga Review

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The gang’s all here, but as Yuki is about to prove, they are far from fighting fit.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Hotaru Odagiri
Translation/Adaptation: Melissa Tanaka

What They Say
In their war with the Duras, the Zweilt rely almost entirely on the power of the bonds between them and their allies. But with each battle and every passing reincarnation, is there not the danger of cracks developing in the glue that holds these warriors together? When a tense, unexpected battle with an Opast general is cut short, one pair is forced to reconsider their disparate oaths of vengeance and what seeking revenge truly means. And before another battle can get underway, the final Zweilt pair joins the fray at Twilight Hall. But while Yuki seemingly becomes fast friends with one half of this new team, the heart of the other seems vaguely unreachable, clouded by memories of the past…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Volume 4 of this double wide release of The Betrayal Knows my Name picks up in the middle of the conflict from the end of the last volume. Yuki and his newest comrades face off against a vicious attack from a foe who far outweighs them in power. Blood is spilled and many monologs are spouted as our heroes are soundly trounced.

Luka has it no easier, facing off against a foe who uses the most obvious trick in the book to slow Luka down. Luka knows the image of female Yuki is just a trick, but can’t figure out the slight of hand and refuses to give it his all for fear of harming her. For an ancient demon soldier, he’s not particularly clever. Eventually he fights back and returns to Yuki’s side.

Only the arrival of Luka and Reiga put a stop to the conflict between Yuki’s group and the demon Cadenza, ending in a draw which has both sides retreating to lick their wounds.

The wind down from the attack follows the pattern set from the previous volumes, with the featured zweilt pair pledging their loyalty to Yuki and each other. The whole group reunites back in the dormitory to resume normal life, until the next big conflict rears. It’s only after Yuki is back home that the final zweilt pair arrives to complete the main cast.

I’m thankful for the character guide at the beginning of the volume, because I’m still having a hard time keeping track of character’s names when their mentioned off screen. The cast has grown quite large, and the addition of two more zweilt warriors is adding more names and faces to keep track of. The designs of the new pair, Sairi and Lia, are thankfully different enough from the others. Although the fact that they are an actor and an idol further add to the mountain of cliches the story has been constructed from. Sairi seems to have a troubled past with Yuki, probably as a love rival of Luka’s in a past life. That could prove to be amusing in the future.

One of my largest hang-ups about this series is how unrealistic everyone acts. Yuki should be angry at the events happening to him, but isn’t. With all these attractive youngsters rooming together and the heartfelt conversations it should be like the olympic village in that dorm. Instead everyone is as chaste as angels… speaking of angels, I can’t quite figure out why the demons are wearing crosses as well as the heroes. It’s not just the author playing fast and loose with religious symbolism, because Yuki states that crosses have protective capabilities at one point, and now I’m just confused.

Oddly enough, one of the most enjoyable moments in this volume is in a side chapter where a classmate tries to get the perfect picture of Shuusei. I’m wish that girl had been one of the main characters, she has more interesting personality than most of them.

I think the author’s notes shed more light on the driving purpose of the story than she intended for them to. Her admissions that the anime adaptation director was able to concisely capture the essence of her story with little author input is a bit laughable. The talk of drama CDs, readers gifts, adventure games and other tie-in merchandise really hit home the fact that the series was a manufactured marketing ploy by a savvy editor who noticed that the artist’s pretty boys were perfect fan bait. I’m not sure the author realizes it herself, but she seems happy to cater directly to what her fans want, and everyone is happy. Well, everyone who loves being strung along by fanservice driven shoujo.

Speaking of extras, beyond the smattering of color front pages and author’s long winded notes there’s something included at the conclusion of this book which I’ve never seen before. The final extra for this volume is a text translation of the script of one of the drama CDs released in Japan. It was included in the Japanese edition, but it’s not a given for that content to be translated in English editions, so kudos to Yen for going the distance to include it.

In Summary
Betrayal continues to lovingly overindulge in it’s fangirl fantasies, with little regard for pacing and no apologies offered. The introduction of two more beautiful zweilt has pushed the casting to the tipping point of character confusion. For the squeeing fans, there’s a lot to squee about in this hefty double-volume; bloody battles, secret twins, declarations of undying loyalty, and hints of more untold secrets. However, there’s little to recommend here for those looking for a more ambitious plot beyond the teenage angst and longing gazes. I can only hope that the author’s promise that the story will be moving forward in the next volume rings true.

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

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 21st, 2012
MSRP: $18.99

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