After the first volume of this series I was really looking forward to this volume and while it didn’t disappoint, it did confuse the hell out of me. I think it was supposed to confuse the hell out of me, but even still I think it did too good of a job. In the last issue we were left with a hell of a cliff hanger as Nene was about to be attacked by one of the ancient ones. Saya saves her in the nick of time, but they’re not out of the clear yet. Elsewhere, Nono feels that there is something wrong. Frankly, I found it a bit suspicious that the inseparable twins were suddenly apart. Back at the battle Saya is doing her best to get Nene out of danger and get to her sword, but the ancient one is messing her up pretty good. Here’s where it gets confusing and you’ll have to excuse the spoilers because it’s going to be hard to talk about anything without them.
Saya gets stabbed in the back and that’s when things get sketchy. Eventually she makes it to the sword and as she reassures Nene the ancient one picks her up and kills her. Saya freaks out and begins attacking it, but then suddenly we follow her father as he comes into the room and finds Saya passed out and the ancient one dead. Saya regains consciousness for a second and sees the strange-looking dog from before starring at her. She wakes up in her bed and the café owner comes to feed her, she heads back to bed and dreams of Nene. The next time she takes off to school, her father has her take her sword with her which is strange. She heads to school and finds out that Nene and Nono are both missing and that school is cancelled in the meantime.
On the way home she runs into the weird-looking dog that begins to talk to her. She’s not too surprised, but the conversation is cut short when Nono appears. As Saya calls her Nono she jumps at her and asks how she knew it was her when she’s wearing her hair like Nene. She asks why she couldn’t save Nene, which is information that she really shouldn’t have. They struggle and Saya’s sword falls out and suddenly Nono has a power of her own. She attacks and engulfs two nearby women with a black shadow looking aura that’s pouring from her. Saya attacks Nono, but the question soon becomes: Is Saya just a killer and has she killed two of her closest friends?
What’s confusing about this volume is that it’s not 100% clear that everything that’s happening is real. Because Saya continues to pass out, I was left with the impression that nothing was real. After all, Nene and Nono were introduced as supporting characters and it seems really strange to kill them off so quickly. Also there are other fatalities in the issue and if this all sticks then the entire first volume is out the window already. I liked that there was a mystery, but I’m just not sure what is real and not real at this point. Perhaps that’s the point though since Saya is going through the same feelings, but the reader should get a bit more substance in an instance like this.
With that said, I couldn’t put this book down. One of the things I said about the first volume was that I read it incredibly fast due to the format. I’m pretty sure that I read this issue even faster. Also, since I was confused if there was a dream sequence or not, I really pushed through making sure to read every detail before moving on. There’s a chance I missed something, but I doubt it since what’s on the page is pretty straight forward. All in all the writing is very good and the flow of the story perfect. I’ve never read a manga faster nor have I been so emerged in the world at the same time.
The art is still gorgeous, but the scenes that Saya passes out are (broken record here) confusing. It didn’t hurt the quality of the art, but rather made the visual harder to stand on its own. The art style is terrific though and the black and white style is very strong. The action doesn’t flow as well in this issue and I think that’s mainly due to page restraints, but it was still better than most US comics. Saya’s character design is still cute as hell… which is really a duh statement, but whatever.
Even though I’m a bit lost on this series at the moment I would still recommend picking it up, you may not have the same reading experience or you might just benefit from my own experience. I’m looking forward to the next volume more than I was looking forward to this one and might even cheat and watch the Anime to get ahead and see what to expect. If you like monster hunting manga’s starring a cute yet strong female lead then definitely check out this series, but start with the first volume.
Story/Adaptation and Artist: Ranmaru Kotone
Translated: Philip R. Simon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 6/5/13