This week, Sean, Anna, & Michelle look at recent releases from Viz Media and Kodansha Comics.
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 10 | By Maki Enjoji | Viz Media – After being stabbed protecting Hokuto from an assailant, Chiwa drags her feet on showing her husband the letter his late father had delivered to her after his funeral. Eventually, the truth comes out and, to protect Chiwa from family machinations, Hokuto proposes a divorce, after which he promptly disappears. It was a foregone conclusion that this series would end with a happily ever after, so though there is angst here, there is no sense of urgency. Even the revelation of who was behind the attempt on Hokuto’s life (and the death of his mother) is completely ho-hum, though I guess I appreciate that the guilty party’s motivations made sense. Plot isn’t the point of a series like this, anyway. If you enjoyed previous volumes of Happy Marriage?!, this conclusion (however inevitable) is still worth checking out. – Michelle Smith
Honey Blood: Tale 0 | By Miko Mitsuki | Viz Media – Even though I am so over stories in which immortal men fall in love with teenage girls, I did like the bittersweet aspect of Honey Blood‘s ending, so I appreciate the opportunity to read the three one-shot stories that preceded the serialized version. The things that bugged me are still present, but so too is the acknowledgment that the couple is basically doomed for a dark future. Two unrelated stories round out the volume: one about a pair of childhood friends who wait too long to confess their feelings, and the other about a tomboy who feels like she needs to completely transform herself (physically and behaviorally) in order to attract the boy she likes. That’s a horrible message, obviously, but it was kind of cute, too. In the end, Mitsuki did some intriguing things with some stock concepts, and I hope we see more from her in the future. – Michelle Smith
Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 17 | By Julietta Suzuki | Viz Media – We’ve finally cone to the end of the ‘past’ storyline, and Nanami has done most everything she needs to do. As a result, much of this volume is simply seeing the results of her past meddling, as it affects the important players: Tomoe, Yukiji, and Akura-Oh. After that, we finally get to see the fruits of her labors, even if it requires a brief detour to 20 years ago so that Mikage knows that she’s the one who is able to save Tomoe where he can’t. And the payoff is beautiful, something that fans of this series have been waiting for since it began. I’d be happy if it ended here, but there’s plenty more to go in Japan (Vol. 21 is due out next month), so instead let’s go out on both Nanami and Yukiji’s ecstatic faces for now. – Sean Gaffney
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Vol. 4 | by Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, and Daisuke Furuya | Viz Media – I continue to be impressed with the amount of worldbuilding and character development on display in this action packed manga about the last dregs of humanity turning to demonically infused weapons to fight off vampires in a futuristic dystopia. After the adopted brothers Yu and Mika found their paths diverging, with one joining a group of vampire hunters and the other becoming a vampire, the inevitable confrontation occurred in this volume, and the results were so intriguing. Mika sees Yu being used by vampire hunters and Yu vows to save Mika from his new vampire family. The opposing groups are neither good or bad, and with some interesting facts being divulged about Yu’s chosen side, I’m very interested to see where this story is heading next. – Anna N
The Wallflower, Vol. 34 | By Tomoko Hayakawa | Kodansha Comics – Even after 34 volumes, the core message of The Wallflower has been fairly consistent, albeit occasionally abused for the sake of comedy. ‘Don’t make yourself into something you’re not because of anyone’s opinion’ drives this series, and Sunako’s consistent inability to become ‘the lady’ her aunt wants is due to this. In this volume, we see the tomboyish Machiko get told her relationship with Yuki isn’t romantic enough, and a lonely spoiled brat learning that it is possible to have fun like a normal child and that her grandfather really does love her. As for Kyohei and Sunako, that takes a back seat here, but given the manga is wrapping up soon, I imagine that the next volume will take care of that. – Sean Gaffney