House of Five Leaves 7

Natsume Ono – Viz – 2012 – 8 volumes

Are you ready for some Yaichi backstory? Because that’s exactly what you get in this volume. The whole series has been building up to it. How is it?

Weeeell… I like it. It’s a great story, don’t get me wrong. It pretty much matches all the expectations from the hints we’ve received throughout the series. We learn about his background in the gangs, his ruthlessness, and why he went soft on the hostage whose father refused to pay his ransom. We also learn about his connection with the real Yaichi, and his connections to all the characters from his past that have entered the story throughout the run of the series.

But for all that, there wasn’t anything fantastic about it that made the waiting seem worth it. There’s nothing terribly extraordinary about Yaichi’s story, and I was almost a little disappointed with it as a near-ending to the series. Then again, that is Ono’s style. Her storytelling tends to run along an even keel, so moments that actually rock the boat are rare. That’s true of House of Five Leaves as well, as the tense moments tend to slide in and out rather than come up suddenly.

In fact, the most dramatic part of the series so far is when the Five Leaves receives a commission for a kidnapping, with the commission wrapped in a cloth Masanosuke gave his brother. That continues to deliver exciting moments in this volume, when the job is seen all the way through and Masanosuke has a talk with his brother. There’s some good stuff there, and for me, it made up for the Yaichi origin story.

The volume ends with Masanosuke finding out about Yaichi and coming to terms with it. That leads into the final volume, and I’m excited to see how the Five Leaves comes out of this trial.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.



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