The yokai battle in Kyoto gets off to a big start.
Story/Art: Hiroshi Shiibashi
Translation: Cindy Yamauchi
Adaptation: Mark Giambruno
What They Say
Yokai continue to break the eight seals of Hidemoto, which keep their leader, the dark Hagoromo-Gitsune, bound and powerless. In Kyoto, the scene of the main battle, Rikuo’s friend Yura and her allies face one of their own comrades, who is now possessed by an age-old yokai. Meanwhile Rikuo and his fellow Nura clansmen are speeding toward Kyoto via flying boat. But the followers of Hagoromo-Gitsune are determined to make sure their journey is anything but smooth sailing.
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume starts with the female members of the Paranormal Patrol making their escape from the Kyoto yokai with the help of Yura and Yuki-Onna. Then a big battle ensues as the yokai break through the Keikan family’s barrier to attack them in their own home. Yura gets a terrible surprise when she sees the one leading the attack is one of her brothers, Akifusa. Half-possessed by a yokai, he begins to defeat the rest of the Keikan family. This is a scene that is evidently meant to be powerful, as Yura feels betrayed by a man she looked up to, but that’s undercut by the fact that we’ve only just recently been introduced to Akifusa’s character, and then diminished again when we discover it’s not a betrayal, but a possession that he can’t control.
In order to save her brother and her clan, Yura shows her stuff and summons the shikigami Hagun. This summons previous Keikan heirs to her aid — including the man who once defeated Hagoromo-Gitsune, Hidemoto, helping to further tie in this current storyline with the ancient past plot of volumes 8 and 9. Yura is ready to fight, but is surprised when the shikigami uses its power to help the group retreat.
Meanwhile, Rikuo is on his way in a flying ship with his own crew: both the members of the Nura clan, and the yokai of Tono village that have agreed to help them. A fight breaks out between the groups as they underestimate one another’s power, with Itaku from Tono accusing Rikuo’s aides of being too protective, stifling Rikuo’s ability to develop his fear. This scene is fun as we see Itaku and Kubinashi, two personal favorites, go all out as they fight each other, catching a glimpse of Kubinashi’s darker, more powerful side and seeing Itaku’s true form as a beast. Then again, the fight causes a delay in the actual plot of the Nura Clan versus Hagoromo-Gitsune’s, and many of the feelings expressed here could have come across just as meaningfully in a couple of pages.
Suddenly they are over Kyoto, and find themselves in a fight with Hagoromo-Gitsune’s army. Now Rikuo is able to show off just what his fear has developed into. and the real point of Itaku’s argument with Kubinashi comes across. The clan is determined to keep Rikuo safe at all costs, never once considering that their leader, whom they all believe in, actually has the ability to defeat the leader of this group.
There are so many big fights in this volume, it’s amazing that Shiibashi was able to cram them all in one book. Despite the abundance of battles, they don’t feel rushed and the action remains clear, even as the panels get cluttered up with yokai. Shiibashi’s dynamic, stylized art in the fights accentuates the emotion and really makes the fight scenes pop out, like the dark swirls when Rikuo uses his fear. Yura has developed into a much more interesting character than she was when she first showed up in the manga, and it’s satisfying to see her taking on a leading role in this long, and obviously important, story arc. The Tono yokai are fun, and it’s great to see some of the important but underused yokai that have been sticking around since volume 1 get a little bit of the spotlight, the problem being that now there are far too many characters to keep track of (the two character description pages in the front of the book just don’t have enough space to list every name we need to remember). This also means that Rikuo comes of a little flat in this volume, though he manages to regain some interest in the end. Shiibashi keeps up a fast, exciting pace in this volume — let’s see if he can carry this through.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: August 7th, 2012