The heart wants what the heart wants.
Story/Art: Aya Shouoto
Translation/Adaptation: JN Productions
What They Say
Himari Momochi inherits Momochi House, an estate which exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms. Aoi’s ayakashi power is limitless, so Momochi House will never allow him to leave. Aoi starts to fight Nue, Momochi House’s protector, who urges him to discard his humanity.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
There is a moment in this volume where both Himari and Aoi basically stop fighting against their indecision. Himari tells Aoi it’s alright to be both the Nue and Aoi, and that is who he is. Himari ends up brushing off her doubts and confusion at being confronted by herself as her greatest sin. That would imply that she is the root of the problem, and in a way that’s correct. Had she never arrived at Momochi House Aoi probably would have gone full ayakashi sooner and the house would have sealed him away.
Aoi/Nue is able to drive off Kasha, but that’s all he does. Kasha comes across as an immortal and unstoppable black hole. He desires the Nue’s power and nothing more. There is no clear victory against Kasha. Aoi/Nue drive him back and the couple reunites with their shikigami friends. What follows is a celebration of life and the joys of summer coming to a close. It would appear that all’s well that ends well, except this isn’t the end.
With Himari and Aoi no longer running from their affection for each other the two get to spend the end of summer in each other’s company. The shikigami leave the two alone so they can canoodle and do math homework together. Yet even in the joy of a summer afternoon, there is a feeling of unease. In classic manga fashion, Himari foreshadows that all is not well with this scenario. She implies this is the last summer she gets to spend with Aoi.
After that, we learn that Himari spends a good amount of the first month back at school in a trance. Her dreamlike existence causes time to flow differently for her. Her teacher questions her absences from school, but she isn’t aware that she has been missing school. She is basically being spirited away without realizing it. Even her friends become concerned for her until they suddenly can’t remember that she exists. It’s almost as if Aoi’s curse has rubbed off on her. For as beautiful and dreamlike Himari’s life has become, it is a frightening situation.
The illusion finally breaks for Himari when one day she wakes up and Aoi is nowhere to be found. After she locates the shikigami she learns that Momochi house is self-destructing in a sea of vines and roots. Aoi leaves one final letter urging his friends and former shikigami to flee before the house swallows them all. He implies that it has already done so to him and that he has become part of the house. Inevitability, the two have fallen back into the same cycle of Aoi’s blind acceptance and Himari’s fighting off of fate.
That leaves one big question left. What was the cherry tree trying to tell Himari?
There are no real extras in this volume, but Viz continues to include color pages in the release.
Kasha may have been quelled for the moment, but it is only a moment. How can two teenagers possibly stand against forces like Kasha? Himari and Aoi are destined for an unhappy ending. No matter how Himari struggles to find a way to free Aoi, and how much Aoi longs to protect Himari from being hurt, the forces against them are ancient and have their own agenda. A moment of bliss stretches on for the couple, but it might not be anything more than a later summer’s night dream. It’s is haunting and beautiful. I think the key to saving both Himari and Aoi is locked in the secret that Himari keeps brushing up against. Will it be a bittersweet ending next volume, as the story is hinting, or will Himari finally find her way to free Aoi?
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: March 3, 2020
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CN / £6.99 UK