By Yuuki Kodama. Released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, serialized in the magazine Young Ace. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Melissa Tanaka.
As you might have guessed by the fact that this volume is half the length of the previous ones, this is the final volume of Blood Lad. The word ‘Final’ on the cover might also clue you in. Fortunately, the main villain of the last several books is polished off fairly early on. I say fortunately because, as if the author had been listening to the whining in my reviews all along, the majority of this book is devoted to Fuyumi and the relationship she has with the others, and particularly with Staz. It doesn’t necessarily redeem her entirely as a character, but it fits very well thematically, and allows for an ending that is both bittersweet and sentimental.
We left off with Staz commandeering Fuyumi’s body in order to take out Grimm, adding more and more of the secondary characters as he went along, to the point where he visualized them as being on the main bridge of a battleship. I’d said last time that I was annoyed that while he was using Fuyumi’s body, Staz was still in charge and doing everything. It turns out that this is actually a fatal flaw, and starts to lead to his defeat. He can’t actually do all this himself, no matter how much he wants to protect everyone, or take on everyone’s troubles, or feel responsible. He is just one (very overpowered) vampire. Fortunately, she gets through to him and they defeat Grimm with the power of a massive FRIENDSHIP BEEEEEEAM! Unfortunately, the combination of this and the loss of a sense of self that it brings on forces everyone that was in the Fuyumi fusion to fall into a coma. Gradually most come out of it, but Fuyumi is the real issue, because her tendency to go with the flow has led to a lack of sense of self.
But Staz, frustrating as he can be, figures things out in time, and we get what seems to be a sweet, happy ending… except, of course, Fuyumi is still a ghost. Now, they can fix that… but it will in fact lead to the separation of teh happy couple. I will try not to spoil too much of what follows (I know, I know, what review blog are you reading?), but it manages to combine the sense of loss that comes of letting someone go in order for them to have a better life (or in this case, an actual life), and then turning it on its head and gaining the possibility of happiness in the future. It’s a bit of an ass pull, but I’m all for these when they lead to sweet things like this.
I wasn’t all too impressed with the premise of this series, when I first saw the solicit, and therefore I’m really pleased that it turned out to be so good. I had issues with it, but it was in turns amusing, thrilling, heartwarming, and a barrel of fun. It’s a good series to do a big reread on now that it’s finished. Go seek it out.