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Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi #09 Manga Review

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Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi #09

The truth at last, in all it’s cruelty.

Creative Staff
Story: HaccaWorks*
Art: nanao
Translation/Adaptation: Jocelyn Allen

What They Say
Within the barrier, Yue is up against an unexpected foe in his attempt to rescue Tougo-his dear friend Kurogitsune. To force Yue’s hand in taking a Meal and saving himself, Kurogitsune casts Tougo into the camellia pond. But upon rushing after the helpless captive, Yue is confronted by the age-old conflict between the desire to protect and the desire to consume that befalls all humans who assume the role of yorishiro. What path will Yue choose?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ayakashi has been withholding secrets from the reader all the way up till this final volume of the story proper. There is another volume, an epilog of sorts, that will finish the series but the main ending lies here.

This is where we finally learn about what happened with the Tsubaki family, their role in the ritual which holds the shadow over the town, and why the whole situation continues to be tragic.

We learn, as Tougo and Yue do, who and what Yue really is. The truth is far weirder than I expected. We had hints that Tougo’s mother ran off with Yoshiki, but not why. Akane was always shown to be a little strange, what with her bloodline cursed to be sacrificed. The fact that Yoshiki went so far as to offer himself to be the yorishiro and the vessel for Shin’s soul in place of Akane is both noble and tragic. Akane’s actions after that remain confusing and ultimately nonsensical. I guess the poor girl was never in her right mind, which is the real tragedy here.

This final twist answers most of the lingering questions but I wouldn’t consider it a satisfactory explanation for the whole tradition. We never really learn how the whole sacrifice process works on normal people as we’ve only witnessed the two times it went horribly wrong. It also feels that the ayakashi get off easy for their roles in taking a whole town of humans hostage to feed off of. Sure, some of them were likable, but ultimately they probably deserved to suffer more than just the loss of their home.

Ultimately it feels like a few balls are dropped in this moment. Akashi, who sought to destroy the ayakashi, is left hanging. (And seemingly unaffected by the collapse of the barrier, even though he’s not quite human.) Kuro’s eerie betrayal and struggle seems to be almost forgiven and forgotten too easily by Yue. For as complex as everything was leading up to this moment the resolution feels too clean. It also dismisses the tragic weight that the events actually had on the few people who can recall them. Tougo’s father, in particular, is left with vague memories of a daughter he’ll never see again. I really don’t know how that poor man has managed to cope.

Maybe that’s why even though this is the end of the story there’s still another volume after this. Most manga would end here, so I’m curious if the lingering loose ends will be tidied up in the final volume.

In Summary
The complex web of relationships are finally untangled in this penultimate volume of Ayakashi. Yue finally makes the decision he has been putting off for so long and chooses a side in the ages old conflict between the ayakashi and humans of his hometown. I am honestly surprised that in the end, the repercussions aren’t as vicious or horrible as they could have been. In fact, Yue might have gotten off easy in the end. Even more surprising is that the story effectively ends in this volume, but we still get one more as an epilog for this adaptation. The cycle is broken, but will these friends ever reunite? I guess in this case we’ll find out.

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

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
MSRP: $13.00 US/$17.00 CN

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