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Today’s Cerberus Volume #12 Manga Review (Series Finale)

5 min read
Can Chiaki ever have a happy ending ... or will he struggle until the end?

Can Chiaki ever have a happy ending … or will he struggle until the end?

Creative Staff:
Story & Art: Ato Sakurai
Translation: Caleb Cook
Lettering: Bianca Pistillo

What They Say:
The battle with Hi-kun comes to an end, but no one is prepared for the emotional aftermath … And so Valentine’s Day arrives at last, granting the perfect chance for a romantic confession. The girls seize the opportunity to give Chiaki chocolate, but only one can win his heart!

Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When the mischievous Hikari steals Chiaki’s precious jug, the gang have no choice than to follow him into the Underworld where he easily overpowers his sisters and imprisons them within a cage of demonic feathers. Within this suffocating darkness, Rose and Shirogane are forced to face their own failings and accept they fled from their fears, necessitating Kuro to bear them in their place. It is only now when they embrace this tragedy does the true strength of Cerberus come to light, the power of three sisters united as one which allows them to break free of this ebony confines and show their troublesome brother who is truly the strongest. With their hearts now strengthened by this new acceptance, the sisters readily defeat this troublesome brother, but he cannot accept this change in fortune instead of throwing a temper tantrum of denial.

Rather than graciously assuming responsibility for his failings, Hikari once again lashes out and refuses to give back the spirt vessel, tearfully stating he will not go back to the way things were – being the weakest of the canine siblings. After a shocking punch to the jaw Chiaki jolts the boy back to his senses, politely stating he can have Persephone’s gift after seeing he does not need it since he is no longer alone – it is the strength he gains through his friends which permit him to stand proudly in the midst of any struggle he may face. After hearing her master’s heartfelt confession the combined Cerberus also comprehends the truth in his words, allowing them to separate once again and live as individuals with identities strong enough to stand alone but still linked by their shared hearts. However, after all of these fervent revelations, it only makes the jealous brother ever more frustrated, not able to understand how anyone can willingly give away such a prized treasure. Unwilling to welcome such sincere thoughts the enraged Hikari opens a portal and tosses the precious jar away, furious if he cannot truly win it no one deserves it. But as the jug crosses the threshold a reckless Kuro thinks nothing of her own safety and tries to retrieve Chiaki’s prize, leaving everyone to watch in terror as the gateway closes abruptly behind, leaving no way to bring back the foolish girl. Is this the end of their cheerful friend or is there a way to bring her back?

In Summary:
While Today’s Cerberus as a whole is entertaining since it has the charming attitude of a harem comedy, at the same time the story quickly becomes blasé due to the predictability of said narrative – having girls fight over a single boy for his attention, but in the end he must either chose one or be ineffectual and not be able to pick any over the others. Thankfully this title falls into the former genre, but if the reader was paying attention from the beginning and watching the many clues dropped by Sakurai-sensei we knew beforehand who would be the lucky girl and that is where the clichéd disposition of this series makes the entirety a plodding tale which could have been cut off at any time for a much shorter series. Although it is understandable why the mangaka would wish to extend the relationships with so many friendly episodes so as to allow Chiaki to finally understand the importance of the time spent with his friends, on a similar note this same effect could have been accomplished with fewer volumes since most of the jokes and situations are threadbare with the repetitive nature of this genre. Even if the opening tales were at first interesting due to an injection of both friendly and vicious monsters, this twist is soon forgotten since they blend in so well with the rest of the group or the attacks are placed aside and only used to motivate Chiaki and his friends at essential moments when something important is introduced or needed to push the narrative forward. If there wasn’t a monster in the title you would never have known a minority of this story was a supernatural tale aside from a few furry tails which could have been explained as girls cosplaying – so in the end it makes one wonder is a typical school romance or something else?

Today’s Cerberus began with an interesting idea of introducing monster girls into a harem comedy and for a while it seemed to work, but as the story progressed the unusual nature of the lead actresses became lost as we became used to their high strung antics. Take away the furry tails and they look like normal high school girls, so what is the difference between this story and any other from this genre? With a preoccupation for stereotypical antics, the mangaka quickly became lost within recycled jokes and situations all while ignoring the supernatural nature of the base narrative, allowing for Chiaki’s subdued personality to take the lead and guide his romantic interests into funny events all with him seeming bored. And while he did open up toward the end, not even this appealing change was enough to rescue interesting characters and passed over tidbits which would have made the title much more interesting instead of twelve volumes which mesh together into a tidal wave of nonsensical memories.

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

Series Grade: B

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 30th, 2019
MSRP: $13.00

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