Tag Archives: Viz Media

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 34 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 34       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 1, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nel’s transformation has taken Ichigo and everyone else by surprise as she goes from young child to voluptuous fighting woman in a heartbeat! Pesche and Dondochakka also turn out to be more than they seem. Indeed they are true friends and loyal followers and protectors of Nel. As Nel battles Nnoitora, in her Capricorn Knight form, you can almost feel the fear that radiates from him. Apparently he hasn’t missed her presence ever since she almost beat him down once before.

Pesche and Dondochakka attack Szayelaporro, who has vastly underestimated them, not knowing they have been training for years. After Nnoitora unexpectedly causes Nel to revert to her childlike state, he tells Tesla to do what he wants with all of them, he is done. Now Ichigo must face the Armored Tusk Warrior, and Ichigo is in bad shape already.

Szayelaporro deals with Nel’s two friends and is about to put an end to Ichigo when salvation unexpectedly arrives in the form of Kenpachi. A confused Ichigo asks how can he be there, since the captains have been forbidden to help him. Kenpachi explains that it has to do with Uruhara, who was working to stabilize a safe path to Hueco Mundo for the captains, but that Orihime being snatched forced them to speed up the timetable.

The other captains begin to arrive – Unohana, Byakuya, and Kurotsuchi. They are faced by Zommari Rureaux, the number seven Espada

Let the battles begin!

Another action-packed, battle-filled volume of Bleach. Watching Nel and her friends reveal their true selves is pretty awesome. Also, the fortuitous arrival of Kenpachi to save the day! Not exactly an altruistic fellow, I imagine he’s saving Ichigo so he will have the pleasure of battling him again. Look for a brief appearance by Yuchiro as well! Byakuya shows why he has the reputation he has with some pretty awesome moves against Rureaux, and also reveals he is not entirely cold-hearted. But, in my opinion, it is the under-utilized Kurotsuchi who steals the show. We don’t get to see him fight very often, but don’t underestimate him. He takes advantage of a bacteria he planted in the unknowing Uryu in order to gain advance information on the enemy, and that move certainly pays off. Not only does he display his devious skill set but he reaffirms what a cold being he is. His coup de grace against Szayelaporro is priceless!

Hopefully we’ll get to see more of the captains in the next volume, especially Shunsui! I enjoyed this volume of Bleach, look forward to the next one!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 1 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 1     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 5, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga/Supernatural/184 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko and Sho have known each other since they were children, practically raised together. So when Sho, pursuing his dreams of stardom by moving to Tokyo, asks Kyoko to go with him, how can she say no? Forgoing high school, the sixteen-year-old gets a job and works hard to support them both, while Sho works at becoming a famous musician. Kyoko remains in the background as he grows in popularity, and has to endure hearing other girls talk about Sho and the things they wish they could do with him. But Kyoko knows that when he isn’t on tour, it’s her he comes home to.

Until one day she overhears Sho and his manager talking about her, and she learns that she is only a housemaid to Sho! Angry and hurt, she confronts him, but he doesn’t even seem to care. How could she have been so blind? He taunts her by saying that if she wants to get revenge on him, she should go into show business and become better than him.

Revenge is on!

Kyoko hasn’t got the faintest idea of how to become a celebrity, and has no particular talent. But that doesn’t stop her. Selling the Sho merchandise she has accumulated, she gets a complete makeover, turning from brunette to blonde. Then she goes to one of the two top talent agencies, the one that isn’t Sho’s but is home to his biggest rival, Ren Tsuruga. Ren is far above Sho, which has always griped the selfish singer to no end.

No talent? No problem! Kyoko is sure that sheer determination and spunk will get her where she wants to go! She is so focused, she is downright scary!

I am actually re-reading this series, and I totally love it! The only minor complaint I have about the artwork is that everyone has really weirdly pointy chins. But in the scheme of things I can forgive that as it’s a really good manga. Kyoko is a strong female character, but she is far from perfect, although she is rather naïve. At heart, she’s a very good girl, but Sho has hurt her, and there is a very thin line between love and hate. In this first volume, we meet some of the people who will become pivotal to Kyoko in the future, including the eccentric head of L.M.E. Talent Agency, Lorry. Also Ren Tsuruga and Kanae Kotonami.

Kyoko learns that guts will only get her so far. She has to develop whatever talents she possesses in order to succeed with her chosen revenge on Sho. In the process, she may just find who she truly is. On to the next volume!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 7: The Truth by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 7: The Truth     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: Feb 16, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Otcho and Kakuta struggle to escape from the island prison of Umihotaru. Kakuta is determined to become a famous manga artist, while Otcho’s desire is to get revenge for a friend. Once they reach the water, Kakuta is sure he can’t possibly swim the distance required to get to freedom, but Otcho tells him the story of his friend who beat him in a swimming competition, and the friend couldn’t even swim! Meanwhile, the warden has learned of the escapes and while he is not concerned with the manga artist, he is upset about Prisoner #3, and wants him back as soon as possible, or else…

Back in 1970, Kenji and his friends are planning to see the Exposition in Osaka. Since time will be at a premium, and lines long, they have to carefully arrange their time to see as much as they can. Donkey confesses to Kenji that his parents can’t afford for him to take the bullet train to Osaka, and asks to borrow Kenji’s bike, to which he agrees. When Otcho and Kakuta reach the mainland,  years later, they find, to Otcho’s amazement, a recreation of that very Expo, with one important exception.

In 2014, a class in a Tokyo high school is given an assignment to write an essay on the Japanese history topic of their choice. Koizumi, caught trying to sneak out of class, chooses to write about Hitler, but her teacher won’t allow that, so she picks up a book at random and points to her “choice” for her subject, which turns out to be Endo Kenji, leader of the Kenji terrorist group that unleashed Bloody New Years Eve in 2000. The teacher objects, but Koizumi insists, claims she always found the official story of that night suspicious, including the iconic photograph of the group who was supposedly controlling the giant monster threatening to destroy Japan. Koizumi isn’t doing well in class because she constantly skips school in order to follow bands that she loves. A classmate of Koizumi’s tells her about another student who went berserk during a discussion of Bloody New Year’s Eve. Her name was Endo Kanna! Koizumi has some research to do!

When Koizumi runs into Kamisama and learns he knew Kenji, she has to learn more!  Back in 2000, Kenji and his friends prepare to save the world from the Friends. They need to find the remote that controls the monster that is destroying Japan!

On top of worrying about Kenji and what has happened to him and the others, we have to deal with Otcho and Kakuta and their ordeal in the current situation, still not knowing exactly what happened in the past. Plus we have a new character, Koizumi, who I feel is going to play a part in revealing the truth about the so-called Kenji terrorist group. I have to hope and believe that Kenji and the others survived whatever put Otcho in prison, and that they will yet emerge to save the day and defeat the evil Friends. Also, Kenji and Yukiji will finally get together!

Another great volume, can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 6: Final Hope by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 6: Final Hope   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 20, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Business is way down at the tiny restaurant where Kanna works, thanks to the tight security surrounding the Papal visit to Japan. A young detective named Chono stops by and Kanna, who hates the cops, bites his head off. But he is there on official business, looking for a drag queen named Britney.  Once the detective leaves, Kanna’s boss sends her to look for Britney, as she owes him money. It turns out that Britney saw something she shouldn’t, ie a murder, and that is why she is being sought, as a witness. Kanna and Mariah persuade Britney to go to the police station to turn herself in, but while waiting in line, she recognizes the killer… and he’s a cop!

Detective Chono Shohei is the grandson of a legendary detective, and he wants to be the policeman his grandfather was, to be called Cho-san too. But so far, that isn’t happening. Cho is also rather gullible. When he goes to Britney’s home, he catches Kanna coming out and confronts her. Kanna tells him that she knows Britney witnessed a cop killing someone, and she describes the cop before fleeing the scene. Cho can’t believe his ears. That can’t be true, can it?

Meanwhile, new prisoners are being taken to the island prison of Umihotaru. The bridge to the island was destroyed fourteen years before, as was the tunnel, so there is no way off this hellish place. Kakuta has been sent there, his only crime being he’s a manga artist. His new roommate scares him with stories of this place, and the last roommate who died in the bed that now belongs to Kakuta. Also, there is talk of the Monster, a man who has been in this place for fourteen years, and is housed in the Punishment Block. Supposedly he is more monster than human, and is kept chained at all times. Unfortunately for Kakuta, he is caught with the pencil his roommate loaned him to draw with and he is sent to the Punishment Block!

Kakuta is in a terrible pickle with the guards in the Punishment Block and they are about to hurt him when the Monster intervenes and saves him from a terrible fate. He begins to talk to the man and learns he is not what they make him out to be at all. And he plans to escape this place. Meanwhile, Kanna is frustrated, hiding out with Britney and Mariah to keep them safe. She pens a letter to her uncle, who is in Umihotaru Prison, knowing it will never reach him. But she badly wants his advice.

In this volume, we learn the awful truth of what is referred to as Bloody New Year’s Eve. Up until now, we assumed that Kenji and his friends were victorious, saved the world and rid it of the evil Friend. Quite the contrary. Something else happened, the Friends emerged on top and Kenji and the others are nowhere to be seen. The only one I know the whereabouts of is the one in the prison. I have to admit I am very anxious about Kenji and will be very upset if something bad has happened to him.

Kanna is every bit her uncle’s niece, with a strong sense of right and wrong. Completely suspicious of the young detective, I think with time she will come to trust him, and perhaps more. He needs to lose some of his naivete, and I think that will happen. Unfortunately, not in time to save someone he inadvertently puts in danger.

A lot going on in this volume, what with Kanna trying to save her friends, and with the escape from the prison in order to continue the fight begun so many years ago. Mixed in with all that is the visit of the Pope, and a plot to assassinate him. So many questions, so much I want to know. And there is also an appearance by an old friend of Kenji, who has become unexpectedly successful thanks to a particular gift he has, the same gift which told him of the importance of Kenji to the world.

Great volume, can’t wait for the next one!

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 4 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 4     

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

As a reward for earning her first Stella star, Anya requests the Forger family get a dog. Loid, wishing to keep her motivated to earn more stars and become an Imperial Scholar, acquiesces. He takes Anya and Yor to a pet shop which is associated with his agency and deals with military dogs, but none of them is to Anya’s liking. Loid receives an emergency summons and has to leave them to their own devices due to a threat against the Foreign Minister. He excuses himself by saying he needs to use the bathroom.

Yor and Anya wind up at the Adoption Fair being held at the Animal Shelter. It’s a huge place, filled with many kinds of pets, and Anya can’t make up her mind. But then a huge dog attracts her attention, even though he is standing on the street, looking in. Can she really be reading his mind? And what does she see there? An image of her family? She slips away from Yor so she can find the big doggy and see what’s going on, but ends up in a place filled with bad guys! The leader of this gang, Keith, wants to hurt Anya, even though the others protest she’s just a little kid, but it’s doggy to the rescue! In the meantime, Yor is going crazy, trying to find Anya and wishing Loid would hurry back from the pet shop’s bathroom!

Now it’s up to Loid… and Yor… and Anya to save the day!

Now that Anya has scored a dog, she thinks the path to friendship with Damian Desmond will be an easy one, but when she tells him about her new dog, he is less than impressed. However, when he seems a little interested and asks the dog’s name, she makes what he considers terrible suggestions. Oh dear, she can’t even name a dog properly? What use is she? When the Forgers take an outing in the park, something happens that reveals the perfect name for the new member of the family!

Most of this volume is certainly a comedy of errors, from start to finish, but every blunder works out right for this family. Each one shines in their own way, according to their secret ability, not knowing that the others are working on the same problem. The ongoing joke that Loid is spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom is hilarious (how else can he explain being absent without revealing himself as a spy?), with Yor going full-on protective mother mode in defense of Anya. Anya is determined to help Loid’s mission succeed so she won’t be sent back to the orphanage. And now we have the newest member of the team, Bond, who has his own secret ability. (Not a spoiler if you’ve seen the cover). Bond is so adorable, and his name is perfect.

There is a short mission at the end which involves Anya using her stuffed animals to play secret agency. But when she attempts to go into the one place in their apartment where she isn’t allowed, an explosion is imminent which could jeopardize Operation Strix! Oh no, how to placate the upset child?

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 3 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 3           

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Since the cat is out of the bag, and Yor’s brother knows of his sister’s marriage, what else can they do but invite Yuri to dinner? He brings flowers for his sister but lets Loid know this doesn’t mean he approves of their marriage. Prior to Yuri’s arrival, Loid and Yor discuss what reason they are going to give for not mentioning their marriage for an entire year. Loid thinks honesty (or a close facsimile thereof) is the best policy, but Yor says she knows how to handle this and she tells Yuri that she forgot. Really?

Yuri seems to accept Yor’s explanation, but he continues to grill the couple regarding their relationship, and he’s also drinking waaaay too much.  When he and Loid compare notes on a restaurant they’ve both been to, his loose tongue alerts Loid that his new brother-in-law is a member of the State Security Service! This could be awkward, especially at family gatherings!

Not totally convinced they are a legit couple, Yuri demands the ultimate test and insists that they kiss right in front of him! Can they even do this?

The next morning, Loid is conflicted, wondering if Yor really has no idea what her brother does for a living. Anya wants to reassure him but can’t without revealing that she is a telepath. She’s convinced that once he knows that, he will send her back to the orphanage, and she doesn’t want to leave her new family. Loid finally decides to plant a bug on Yor, so he can be sure of her loyalty. When he learns nothing, he decides to set up a scenario, in which he involves Scruffy, as they pose (disguised of course) as members of the Secret Police! If she is in cahoots with her brother, surely she’ll invoke his name as protection!

Anya’s friend Becky tells her that they have a chance to earn a Stella star in PE, so Anya is determined to do so at any cost. But she’s not sure volleyball is her game, and things don’t look good since Damian Desmond has brought in a ringer for his team. Studying isn’t going well for Anya, and neither is test taking (she read the minds of the wrong students and got the wrong answers).  Maybe she’ll do better with community service! Loid takes her to a local hospital, but that doesn’t seem to be her forte either.

Meanwhile a group of wannabe revolutionaries have been training what they refer to as bomb dogs…

This volume of Spy X Family is so good, and Yor’s brother Yuri is sooo…  Well, words fail me about him. He is something else, least of which is a major control freak where his sister is concerned.  He’s got secrets, the same as they do, but Loid has figured Yuri’s out. However, what he doesn’t realize is that Yuri, in his capacity as a member of the Secret Service, wants to capture the spy named Twilight!

Damn, I thought for sure Loid and Yor were going to kiss, and I was ready for it! Damn her brother anyway lol  I think it’s just a matter of time until they do find they have actual feelings for one another, and become an actual family. Insta family does not equate to insta love, and watching their feelings develop is such sweet agony! Crossing my fingers for them!

There is a bonus mission in this volume in which Yor is accidentally injured while on an assassin mission. She can’t very well tell Loid that, though, and so she can’t explain why it’s suddenly too painful for her to sit down, even as he tries to show her a good time on their “date” night.

Love this volume, can’t wait for the next one!

                                                                                                                                                                       

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 2 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 2     

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

 

Operation Strix is master spy Twilight’s covert operation to keep the peace between Westalis and Ostania by spying on the warmongering chairman of Ostania’s  National Unity Party, Donovan Desmond. In order to do this, Twilight has been ordered to have a wife and family, so his “child” can attend the same prestigious school as Desmond’s. Twilight—now going by the name Loid Forger—has actually acquired a wife and child and the three of them have had their interview at the school. Now they are waiting the results of the interview…

… only to find their daughter’s name missing from the list of those who have been accepted! Is the mission doomed already? But one of the housemasters takes the family aside and shows them a second list, a waiting list which has Anya’s name at the top. But Loid knows the chances of someone dropping out is slim to none, so he decides to help things along.

Anya finds herself accepted, time for celebration! Loid’s co-worker, Scruffy, gives Anya the idea that her dad will probably get her anything she wants as a reward for getting in. But what she wants is something she’s seen on her favorite cartoon, Bondman. She wants to be rescued from a castle! Is that even possible?

Anya is fitted for her school uniform, and Loid is covertly given the time of his next briefing, during which phase two is explained. Apparently the school has a program for outstanding students, who are known as Imperial Scholars. Donovan’s son Desmond is among this group. To become an Imperial Scholar, one must earn eight merits, or Stella Stars, through academic excellence or contributions to society. Eight Stella are required to do this. On the other hand, eight demerits, known as Tonitrus, will earn expulsion. Loid wonders if Anya can possibly become an Imperial Scholar.

Anya’s first meeting with Desmond doesn’t go particularly well, even though she tries to become his friend. But he looks down on her because he considers her beneath him. On the plus side, she makes a friend of a little girl named Becky. But when Desmond is mean to Becky, Anya automatically responds. Is the mission doomed from the start? Can Loid improve her academic skills enough for her to earn the required Stella?

Yor’s brother, Yuri, accidentally learns that his sister has gotten married, a fact she forgot to mention to him. But unbeknownst to her, York has his own secrets.

Thanks to a shortage of personnel, Loid is given side jobs to do, which is why the family ends up at the aquarium.

I have to admit I fell in love with this series from the beginning, from the moment I saw the cover of the first volume. Reading that and then the second book has only reinforced my love of Spy x Family. The situations are hilarious, with each member of the family unaware of the secrets of the others (except for Anya, who reads minds). Scruffy is a great comedic foil. Watching the Forger family interact, I just know they will end up as a real family by the end of the series. They are a perfect fit for one another. Anya knows she can read minds and get the answers to anything, but the trick is to read the right mind, and sometimes she doesn’t succeed in that. Yor is a very protective mama, and she is hard-core tough. No damsel in distress here. Loid may appear cold on the outside, and he is very methodical in everything he does, but inside lies a heart of pure gold, as well as a true master of disguise.

I can’t say enough good things about this series. The artwork is awesome, Loid is handsome, it’s filled with fun, action, and humor. What more could you ask for? Looking forward to the next book.

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 33 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 33                   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 7, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

 

Ichigo has defeated Grimmjow, but another Espada is waiting to take him on, Nnitoira.  Contemptuous of Grimmjow, and baffled as to why Ichigo would defend his fallen foe, Nnitoira orders his second-in-command Tesla to keep Orihime close to him. (Will these people never learn? Nothing makes Ichigo fight hard than when one of his friends is in trouble, particularly Orihime).

Meanwhile, Uryu and Renji, having thought they’d escaped the cluthes of Szayelaporro, find themselves back where they started, to their frustration. Besides his disturbing habit of eating his minions in order to regain health, apparently he has the ability to manipulate the inside of his palace to his satisfaction, thus sending the boys on a loop right back to him. “Shall we begin the Second Act?” he queries.

And oh, he has other tricks up his sleeves. Even nastier ones.

Orihime is powerless to do anything to help Ichigo. Although Aizen has made it clear she is not to be harmed, all bets are off if she has her Rikka attack.  Tesla wonders where the small Arrancar has gone. When she is found cowering on the ground, Nnitoira recognizes her, to his surprise. Ichigo wonders how an Espada knows a simple Arrancar, and a child at that.  Nel recognizes Nnitoira… and still doesn’t like him. But what is Nel’s secret?  And for how much longer can she hide it?

Renji, Uryu, Pesche, and Dondochakka have their own problems. With multiple versions of each of them running around, it’s difficult to know who is real and who is an imposter. But again, things can get worse… and they do.

This volume of Bleach is divided between two battles—that of Ichigo and Nnitoira and that of Uryu and Renji vs Szayelaporro. Not sure where Rukia is at this point, but Orihime is being held hostage, a witness to Ichigo’s battle. The surprise here is not Ichigo, but Nel, as we learn her back story, and as she transforms into what she once was. Who saw this coming? Certainly not Ichigo, who never expected to encounter a fully grown former Espada once named Nelliel. Her story is very touching, as is the story of her friends, Pesche and Dondochakka, who prove themselves to be much more than comic relief. They are true subordinates and faithful friends. As for Uryu and Renji, they are being tortured by the devious Szayaleporro. Getting out of this sticky wicket will be a problem. If I had to guess, it will be Uryu’s quick thinking and calm demeanor that will get them through this but we won’t know until the next volume. Likewise, how will the encounter with Nel and Nnitoira end? Gotta wait and see.

Another good volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one!

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 32 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol 32       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 7, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nel and Orihime are stricken at the idea of Ichigo having to face down Grimmjow yet again, but he assures them everything will be all right. Heartened by his words, Orihime reassures the still upset Nel that Ichigo is a man of his word, and if he says he will do something, he will. Grimmjow continues to taunt Ichigo until he releases his inner Hollow, which frightens Orihime. Is this the same Ichigo she has always known? Now it is Nel’s turn to tell Orihime to have faith and to cheer on Ichigo, for if they don’t, who will?

Gillians are the lowest class of Menos. They consume souls to the point where they lose all individuality. But occasionally, one of the consumed Hollows takes control of the others and dominates, continuing to consume until it becomes an Adjucha. If this Adjucha doesn’t continue to eat Hollows, it will regress into a Gillian and then there is no coming back from that. This is the perpetual fear that keeps them going. Grimmjow was once such an Adjucha, who continued to climb in the ranks until he became an Espada. He never wishes to go back again, so he must defeat Ichigo.

Although, if he fails, there is always another Espada waiting in the wings…

This volume of Bleach is concerned with the ongoing epic battle between Ichigo and Grimmjow, both of whom are determined to win. This fight was inevitable, considering their history together.  Orihime and Nel are helpless to do other than cheer Ichigo on, but never underestimate the value of a good rooting section! Reading about how Grimmjow became what he is was interesting, and gives us more insight into the hierarchy of the Hollows, as well as their development.

There is also a bonus story concerning Hitsugaya which I enjoyed.

Looking forward to the next volume!

 

 

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 25 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 25     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 2, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/282 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The Blue Night has begun…

A rapidly deteriorating Satan has found what he has sought, namely Yuri. But in his mind, he thinks she has betrayed him, so seeks her destruction. Father Fujimoto helps Yuri to deliver her second son as the others keep Satan at bay. At first, he is not responsive, then he takes his first breath, to her relief.

At that moment, who should appear but Sir Pheles himself, who announces he is in charge, following the death of the Paladin. He tells everyone else to withdraw and then proceeds to discuss matters with Fujimoto. Pheles tells the priest that no ordinary sword will kill the son of Satan, as the first child continues to fly out of everyone’s reach, but perhaps the Koma sword could. Too bad he gave it to a young monk a long time ago. Nevertheless, Fujimoto struggles to kill the child, only to have Pheles give both children to their grateful mother. A jealous Satan appears and begins a standoff with Father Fujimoto.

Fujimoto takes Yuri and the babies and escapes. She decides on their names.  The first one is Rin, like a Rinka, since he burst into blue flames. The other one is Yukio, because Yukiotoko are strong and warm! Yuri and Shiro make plans for the future, their future with the babies. But alas, Yuri’s health fails her and she dies, to Shiro’s grief. He protects the babies as best he can.

In the aftermath of the Blue Night, everyone begins to pick up the pieces, even as Samael makes a deal with his father to provide a proper vessel for him, as does the traitor Dragulescu. Pheles leaves the kids with Shiro to raise, but he’ll have to change some of his ways. And it won’t be easy. He becomes the next Paladin, and does his best to bring up Yuri’s boys, always mindful of the power inherent in Rin. Up until the moment when Rin’s father reappears to try to claim him…

And so we reach the end of the past. Rin has seen it all and now he understands so much more than he did before, primarily that he is not an abomination or a mistake, that he and his brother were loved and wanted by their parents, but fate would not allow them to be a happy family.  He uses the key to return to his brother, who is about to…

This volume of Blue Exorcist is jam-packed with action. So much going on, so much explained. So much tragedy. And yet from all of this we know Rin and Yukio will emerge much stronger for the experience. The love story of Yuri and Satan has come to a tragic end, but that isn’t exactly news. We’ve known that since the beginning. But it’s just heart-breaking to see it play out. I couldn’t help but wish they could have been together. I like Shiro, and I’m sorry his story came to such an end, but he was a good father to the boys, and taught them much. Mephisto Pheles is still somewhat of an enigma, but I have to believe there is more good in him than not, even if he loves a good joke at the worst of times.

There is so much to be done, but I’m sure that Rin and Yukio can succeed, if they only stay together, a united front. Another great volume, looking forward to the next!