Oh, Loveless. I wish you made more sense. You would truly be great if only you had a coherent story, or characters I could tell apart, or even characters that were clearly masculine or feminine. It would help a lot if you didn’t imply sex between young characters, too, or at least made it so I didn’t have to think about it. Because that’s really, really creepy.
With that said, more happens in this volume than any of the other previous volumes combined. Maybe. As promised, Ritsuka and Soubi run into Seimei, and there is actually a really decent confrontation. Seimei’s motives aren’t really clear, but what is clear is that he’s a true psychopath. He doesn’t do the dirty work himself (or at least most of it), but I think it’s pretty clever that he’s a sacrifice that is so good with words that he can do all the damage he wants to people without even engaging them in a battle. He doesn’t even need a fighter unit with that mouth.
Surprisingly, we also get a Soubi flashback. I really wasn’t expecting that. We learn more about the weird director (?) character that Seimi confronts at the beginning of the volume. Maybe he’s important. I don’t know. I can’t remember. A girl complains a lot about Seimei as a result of their confrontation. I think she’s been in the series before? The zeroes answer to her? I don’t know. It’s not just an issue of the sorta generic character design. There’s also just too many characters and too much going on. I don’t think it would be quite right otherwise though, so I can’t criticize it too heavily.
Anyway, Soubi’s flashback. We also see how Soubi lost his ears, which is creepy, and we get to see how he and Seimei were in the beginning, which is even creepier.
I’m not sure where the story is going after this volume, which is sort of unfortunate. Everything seemed to have built up to this. There are a few story threads that are left open, and pretty much everything is still unresolved, but I feel like this is what I’ve been reading along for all this time. It was certainly satisfying… but… yeah. I’m just never gonna be a real big fan of this series, I think.
Holy crap! I was going to make a joke at the beginning of the Futari H review about how I didn’t have any volumes of Loveless to read (since Tokyopop is featuring that heavily on their site today in addition to the Futari H giveaway), but I found the newest volume sitting at the bottom of my stack of manga to add to this site. It’s been a few weeks since I read it, but I desperately need something to push the Futari H review off the top of the page, so Loveless it is.
I’m more and more impressed with every volume of this series I read. Mostly this is because the story becomes clearer and things continue to build and be uncovered. The most memorable thing in this volume is that Soubi and Ritsuka break into a school for fighter pairs just in time for a battle royale amongst all the students. Seimei is around and stirring up trouble, but… well, there’s a lot left open at the end of the volume.
One of the more important factoids revealed is that the two fighters in a pair are joined by a string that both can sense. Soubi has this string, and Ritsuka has this string. Obviously both are meant to be fighters, but it doesn’t really say whether or not their strings meet in the middle, you know?
Part of me hates being so drawn into this series. While it seems okay that Seimei wants to test Ritsuka’s brotherly love for him (sort of okay anyway, Seimei seems more than a little deranged at this point), I still absolutely squirm when anything short of admiration is implied between Ritsuka and Soubi. Brr.
Where does that leave things at the end of this volume? Well, we still aren’t entirely sure what Septimal Moon is and how they figure into “Seimei’s Death.” We’re also not sure what the hell Seimei is up to. The fact that I understand what else needs to be revealed in order for things to make sense is a big step up for the narrative in Loveless. While there’s a lot of symbolic stuff floating around in the other volumes, it was frustratingly vague on what was up. The fact Ritsuka seems to have accepted his position as a fighter and wants to find out about Septimal Moon and his brother has done wonders for things as well.
In fact, I want to read volume 8 now. I do like the fighter system in this series, and I want to find out more about it, including whether or not Ritsuka and Soubi are a pair, and if not, who is supposed to be Loveless’s unit.
Also, one thing I forgot to mention is that we find out that Seimei may be a lot more cruel than Ritsuka thinks (which we could probably guess based on the weirdness surrounding the past couple volumes). Soubi said he didn’t mind, but he reveals some pretty intense… they were either scars or tattoos, I couldn’t tell, but it was kind of a good cruel/kind thing.
Maybe it’s because it’s been so long between volumes, but I really enjoyed this volume of Loveless a lot more than I have the previous volumes. I understood a lot more of what was going on too, though I still have a lot of side characters and their roles confused.
A huge reveal is done right at the beginning of this volume though, and there’s no longer any mystery surrounding one of the biggest questions the series has had all along. The question of motive still remains, but we do get to see some character reactions throughout the volume, which was well worth waiting for.
Things between Ritsuka and his mother look like they’re about to come to an end too, as Ritsuka has to deal with being tied up and imprisoned in his own house and how to deal with telling his mother this… is not something she should do. There are also many things that pass between Ritsuka and Seimei, and this still makes me feel uncomfortable… but you gotta get behind something here.
It seems like things are going to quickly wind down, and I would guess that there may be two volumes left, but it looks like volume 8 is coming out in Japan and the series is still running, so maybe more will happen. I’m pleased with the coherency in this volume, though.
This series is still really, REALLY weird. However, I liked this volume a bit more than the others because it picked one weirdness and stayed with it instead of being vaguely all over the place. It could be that I’m liking the series more and more as details are filled in too, but I shouldn’t have to wait until the 5th volume (or longer, really) to figure out enough of what’s going on to follow the story.
This volume’s single task is to have Ritsuka log into the computer game and ask about his brother. Other things happen… there is a brief battle that doesn’t last very long and shows one of the first moments of confidence from Ritsuka, and we also find out a lot more about his mother as Ritsuka goes missing to log into the game, but mostly it centers around finding out about his brother. Unfortunately, as the story narrows itself down to that one thing, there is also a Pandora’s Box opened at the end where it turns out one of the few things that you thought was constant about the series may not be. What the hell.
I kind of like it, because it’s certainly well put together, and I have a feeling a lot of the more complicated stuff is passing over my head. But seriously, I shouldn’t have to end each volume screaming because I just CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHAT’S GOING ON.
I don’t know. One of the problems I have with this series, I think, is that it goes a few levels deeper than I would like to try for. It’s one thing to have allegories and subtle things that I can pick up on, it’s another thing entirely to cryptically allude to mysterious character relationships and feelings. Now, I could sit and puzzle through this to get the max meaning out of it, go back through the other volumes and see how it relates, and do all sorts of activities to try and get as much out of this as possible. This series is probably popular because you can do just that, and you spend more time with it as a result. But it’s not for me, as I have about a thousand other series I could be reading, and I don’t have the time to
decode each and every one of Soubi’s meaningful glances.
So we’ve got four zeroes now, and much of the plot here is about those four duking it out with each other to find the true zeroes, and then admitting their feelings for one another as partners. I don’t care about these characters, I thought that they were all girls for awhile, and I would much rather the focus be on Ritsuka and Soubi. Soubi gets two fights, but somehow I felt that his appearance in this volume was extremely minimal.
We do get some important plot info from the zeroes, like the fact that Loveless has a partner that he just hasn’t found yet. I’m betting on the girl at school for that one. Ritsuka also learns more about fighting, so maybe he’ll fight with Soubi a bit more efficiently.
The last chapter was probably my favorite, as it was unrelated and the least cryptic of all the others. We get Ritsuka and two girls being extremely cute with one another, and I learned more about Ritsuka and the girl at school here than I have in the previous three volumes of the series. I mean, the information is there I’m sure, I’m just not willing to dig for it.
I still think this series is confusing as hell, and I still can’t quite understand why it’s so popular outside of its obvious shounen ai appeal. But it’s… still something.
The characters are all still a mystery to me, especially Soubi and Ritsuka. I don’t think either of those two characters are getting explained anytime soon. I also hated where Zero wound up after they fought Soubi. I also didn’t like the fact we only got one word battle this time around, and Ritsuka wasn’t involved.
You know? I’m not entirely sure what happened here. Lots of plot stuff, maybe, but the plot’s still so vague that I still am not sure what all is going on. I think it’s supposed to be that way, but it drives me crazy. It seems like Ritsuka wasn’t in it very much, but he was. Playing some computer game and trying to figure out how to avenge his brother, so we learned a lot… but it didn’t feel like it. There also didn’t feel like there was a lot of Soubi, but there was quite a bit of him. I do kind of like he and Ritsuka both, and I do also wanna see where everything winds up, eventually.
Not so much comedy this time around, and it’s good to see Ritsuka’s mom laying off.
Grr. Hopefully this will start… I dunno, making sense soon. I do kind of like it. Maybe. Still.
Okay, after this, I have 9 more to do. Tenjho Tenge 8, Eyeshield 21 6, Eyeshield 21 7, Hikaru no Go 6, Hikaru no Go 7, Eyeshield 21 8, Harlequin Violet: Holding on to Alex, Land of Silver Rain 2 (I can’t believe I haven’t already done this one!), and Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne 4. Then I’ll be back on track with everything I’ve read, and can start in on my massive backlog of reading. Hoo.
But that’s more for my reference than yours. Loveless 2 is what’s up for discussion at the moment. I’m still undecided as to whether or not I like Loveless. I know it was the first one I read (in one sitting, no less) when I got back from a huge buying trip. That says something. There’s something very elegant about the series, and I still really like the word battle system. I… I think I like the characters, too. I’m not sure. I don’t like the creepy pedophilia vibe, and the series is still SO DAMN CONFUSING. The elegance keeps me coming back, but perhaps it’s also so I can figure out what the motherfuck is going on.
Answers, people. I want answers, goddammit. But I know this is some sort of… recommendation. I don’t know what kind. I don’t endorse the series. Per se. Maybe.