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Shugo Chara! Vol. 8

By Peach-Pit
Del Ray, 192 pp.
Rating: T (13+)

In volume seven, Ikuto spilled the truth to Tadase about hiding out at Amu’s, sending Tadase running in anger and humiliation. With Ikuto now back in the clutches of Easter, Yoru is desperate for Amu to help, but she’s less than enthusiastic about being expected to save Ikuto once again when she’d rather be taking care of her own problems. Meanwhile, thanks to a visit with Kukai and his brothers, Tadase is reminded that sometimes people don’t say what they mean.

This volume is all about the complexities of growing up and being forced to recognize and respect the reality of life’s gray areas, including those within yourself. While Amu is facing the consequences of her lie being revealed to Tadase, Nagihiko is resigned to living with his, proving that maintaining a lie can ultimately be much more painful than being caught in one. Similarly, Tadase must learn that becoming the person he wishes to be means letting go of long-held grudges and viewing the people in his life (and even the events of the past) with fresh eyes.

From the beginning, Peach-Pit has used the series’ magical girl format as little more than a rough foundation for a much deeper story about trust and self-acceptance. The last couple of volumes have hit this theme hard, particularly in the way they’ve handled the subject of lying—why a person might choose to lie (or not) and what that really means. Unwilling to tell a simple morality tale, this series’ dedication to shades of gray underneath its cheery, bubblegum surface continues to make it a worthwhile read for adults as well as for young girls.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at PopCultureShock.

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