The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Volume 8 by Aya Shouoto
This volume of The Demon Prince of Momochi House opens with a crisis, as Aoi hasn’t been able to reverse his usual transformation into the Nue, and he might be lost forever as his ayakashi form completely takes over. Himari has to go on a quest to try to find Aoi’s lost memories, which are her only hope of getting him back.
Himari first tries to locate Aoi’s family to see if there are any clues there that she can use to restore him, but her encounter with them takes an unexpected turn to the unsettling. There are always a few moments that stand out in each volume of this series when the combination of the otherworldly setting and lush detail of the art make the reader feel transported. In this one, as Himari travels into the ayakashi realm with her way lit by Nekobaba’s hairpin, she manages to find her way past a guardian who makes some references to her true name and her long-lost parents. Himari ends up at an archive for memories, which I found quite interesting as a librarian. She sees “drawers of thought” stretching into the distance and is faced with yet another choice – recovering some of her own lost memories about her past, or forgoing that choice to save Aoi. Of course, Himari doesn’t hesitate in trying to save her beloved friend.
Aoi’s memories show him close to the spirit world as a young child, even before his existence was bound to Momochi House. As Himari travels back, liberating her friend might prove more complicated, as the Nue embarks on a seduction campaign in order to preserve his existence. Demon Prince of Momochi House blends unsettling movements of supernatural mystery with some short sketches of character development and found family antics with Himari and the Momochi House spirits. Things seem to be turning in a darker direction now, but I’m confident Himari will find a way to persevere somehow.