By Chika Shiomi
Viz, 208 pp.
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
The volume begins with a mission to the home of Rasetu’s mother who is being haunted by a malevolent spirit of which she is blissfully unaware. Fortunately, Rasetsu easily sidesteps an attempt by the spirit to intimidate her by dredging up fears from her own mind, and as a bonus, Rasetsu finally finds out the truth behind the name she’s always blamed her father for (whether she’s ready to believe it or not). The volume’s second mission involves an old acquaintance of Yako’s, Dai Tendo, who is the little brother to Yurara‘s Mei (the boyfriend of the girl whose guardian spirit was Yako’s first love). His appearance brings back a wealth of sad (and not sad) memories for Yako and awakens some real jealousy in Rasetsu. This volume’s real treat, however, is a final side-story telling the tale of Aoi’s arrival to the agency and the development of his close relationship with its owner.
Fans of Yurara may be happy to see more of Yako’s story coming to the fore here, but the way his past with Yurara’s guardian spirit is brought up so blatantly again just after the previous volume has a bit of a gimmicky feel to it, or at best resembles flogging a dead horse. If Rasetsu is going to come into its own as a spin-off series, it’s going to need to rely on the here and now to keep readers interested. Though Yako’s past is surely sad and definitely a draw for fans of the previous series, perhaps this time would be better spent developing Rasetsu‘s original characters so that they have some chance of rising to that level. There are a few compelling moments in this volume, particularly some new hints at Kuryu’s true agenda, but overall the volume is only saved by the charming side-story at its end.
Though it may provoke protests from fans of the original series, the real key to making Rasetsu work is going to be letting it evolve a life of its own. Let’s hope this happens soon.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at PopCultureShock.