Is Maria strong enough to face her old life head on?
Story/Art: Miyoshi Tomori
Translation: JN Productions
English Adaptation: Ysabet MacFarlane
What They Say
Maria finally gets to be with her beloved Shin, but her mysterious inabiilty to speak continues to haunt her. Because the cause may be related to her past, she decides to go to Yokosuka, the town she grew up in. What life-changing surprises await her there?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the school festival safely behind our heroes, Shin invites Maria over to his house. Though things get hot and heavy between the young lovebirds, Shin ends up stopping before things can really get started because he wants Maria to get her voice back first. However, while there Maria discovers a newspaper article regarding her mom’s rape. It turns out that Maria’s mother was 14 when she was abducted and raped by an American soldier named John Cross. However, thanks to international relations, he was set free and not convicted for his crime. Not wanting to worry Shin, Maria decides to confront her past on her own. Just when she’s ready to depart for her hometown alone, though, her male friends step in and decide to tag along.
Upon arriving Maria has to put up with some unfortunate gossip from the old landlady at her previous home. Maria’s anger, though, is turned instead towards the man who raped her mother. Looking to track down John Cross, she contacts her mother’s family, who run a factory in town. Though Maria’s grandmother seems happy to see her, her grandfather collapses and then pushes her away, trying to hide the memory of what happened to his daughter. When Shin tries to step in, Maria’s grandmother explains that they were forced to accept the settlement money they were offered in order to save their factory, making what happened a great humiliation for them. This only further fuels Maria’s hatred towards Cross, and just when it seems like she’s ready to burst, Shintaro steps in and says he’ll take her where she wants to go.
It turns out that Shintaro grew up in a church orphanage, where John Cross is the priest. When it becomes clear that the man who’s been tormenting her thoughts has reformed and become a legitimately good person will Maria be able to accept her birth father, or will she still reject him due to his horrific past?
By making Maria confront her past, this volume manages to pack quite an emotional punch. Perhaps the strongest component of the book, though, is the way that it subverts the expectations of both Maria and the reader. After so much sadness and hatred, it almost causes a whiplash to see someone so surprisingly reformed. And yet, the volume is careful, and makes sure to show that characters still need to earn their redemption. It’s a surprisingly touching tale, one that doesn’t hold its punches and yet still allows for a happy ending at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully the character of John gets a little bit more attention as the series wraps up, as the story surrounding him is probably the best that the series has shown as of yet.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 1st, 2013