I don’t think this series is terribly good, and I think there’s a lot wrong with the conclusion, but damn if this isn’t a great ending.
I have a serious problem with sudden reversals for villains, which sorta kinda happens here. It wasn’t a sudden reversal, and Taishakuten stayed true to his word through the entire series, but you finally find out his motives. They’re priceless, quite honestly. Two characters who had no chance with one another were suddenly gay lovers in the past, and “kill me, then eat my flesh” is one of the coolest lines that will ever be uttered by any CLAMP character. It’s a shame they topped themselves dialogue-wise so early in their careers.
When I say I hate villain takebacks, here I mean more that the reader was supposed to feel sympathy for Taishakuten at the end, because they now know why he did what he did. I still don’t think his promise justified most of what he did, like, say, slaughtering the entire Yasha tribe, which is why I hate things like that. But his flashback more than makes up for any weaknesses in the story leading up to it.
The love stories in this series are terribly sweet, even between characters I hate. I think the series could have been much shorter, with more emphasis on romance, and things would have been much better. Poor Ryuu-oh though. He’s the only one who doesn’t get to die for the one he loves. Karura, Kendappa, Bishamonten, even Ashura and Ashura-oh. They’re all big softies.
The last couple pages still bring a bit of a tear to my eye, even though the lead-up to them isn’t terribly good. I’m still not sure where Yasha and Taishakuten got the scars from their faces, since Yasha in particular still had both his eyes right up until Ashura did the deed, but I’m willing to let that slide. He may have been sitting there for thousands of years, after all. Maybe a bird did it. Or maybe the Ashura castle (if that’s what that’s supposed to be) caught fire at some point. I don’t know.
All I know is that I don’t particularly like this series, but I think it has a fantastic ending, and I have a serious love for the Ashura/Yasha pair.
For as slowly as the story moves in the volumes leading up to it, the last two volumes of RG Veda are just one big long final battle, which is fine by me. It sort of puts all the relationships in the series to the test, and shows you that the only thing CLAMP’s had on its mind from the beginning is love, destiny, and wish fulfillment. You can almost see Yuko behind Ashura giving the Hitsuzen speech, or, more easily, Fuuma and Kamui or Seishirou and Subaru. Star-crossed lovers is what CLAMP does best, and the stars don’t get more crossed than this.
Kendappa has a part to play here. She’s kind of an evil wench. What’s her deal? Well, she’s a lot tougher than she looks, for starters. She claims that Souma is the one she loves best, but Ashura’s brother the prince proposes to her, and she’s got to deal with that as well. Poor Souma.
Shashi finally gets hers. She’s also an evil wench, but we’ve known that all along. The fact that she struggled til the end was quite satisfying.
Ryuu. Poor Ryuu-oh.
The battle in Zenmei castle commences, as I mentioned earlier, with the God King and the four Generals. Well, three generals. The one Yasha beat last volume isn’t doing much of anything these days.
Ashura commenced with the final battle in this volume. He tells the party to head towards the holy land. It’s kind of surprising the way the action floats around in indistinct places and times, then cuts to the final battle in one of the only places the reader is familiar with, but that’s okay. At least it’s headed there.
There’s a battle with one of the God Kings, and Yasha asserts himself since he’s tired of taking crap from everybody. Ashura’s tired of it too, and he puts up a pretty healthy fight himself. Ashura reveals that all the traveling companions are among the stars, and that there’s only one more to gather (well, really, he mentions the names of four stars, and it’s assumed that Ashura is the fifth).
There’s a bit of a romance between Kendappa-oh and Ashura’s brother, but we’ve also been given hints that Kendappa-oh and Souma may be serving their own agenda. We’ll see. All is not what it seems in the end of this series, and thank God for that. I love Ashura, but he’s a crybaby until the very end. I like real Ashura better.
I thought Karura would arrive in this volume! I was waiting the entire volume for Karura to show up, and she doesn’t actually appear until the last page. At least it looks as if more and more of the stars are gathering together. Then we can wrap the series up.
This volume takes a breather from having Yasha and Ashura fighting in order to have them stay at the home of a regular human woman. An elemental assassin is sent after them, and she shows up towards the end, but mostly more plot is set up. We also see a bit more of Kendappa and find out she’s maybe a bit less… genuine than she seems. We also see a little more of Ashura’s brother, the God King’s son, and what a nice boy he is. Will he be dead when the dust settles? Hmm.
So we hear the prophecy not once, not twice, but three times in this volume. The prophecy is read out three times in this volume. That doesn’t sound like too many times, and to be fair one time was on the title page, but… it’s a long prophecy.
So yes, this volume consisted of little else save for blaming everyone for the destruction of the Yasha tribe (Yasha blaming himself, Ashura blaming himself, Yasha’s brother blaming first Yasha, then Ashura, then himself), a battle between Yasha and his brother, then an affirmation of love between Ashura and Yasha.
Ugh. It’s… just so OLD. The pace is slow as molasses in January, and the story just… I don’t know. It’s wearing on me. I’m ready for the final battle, which feels like it will be forever away, and I know will take forever once we actually get to it.
Slowly getting through this one… I was a bit disappointed that the last volume was nowhere in sight when I tried to preorder it, which probably means it won’t come out until at least September. Well, I suppose I can take my time with the next four volumes, then.
So finally Karura hops on board after some difficulties on her end. It’s a bit sad that she had to abandon everything, but her farewell was pretty awesome all the same. Kendappa is also a character I’m growing to like quite a bit, she seems to know how to place the right words in people’s ears. Also, she seems to have the potential to defeat people, which may lead to promising things later. I can’t remember too much of what happens after this save for the end, so I don’t know.
I can’t really recall anything else about this volume, and I just read it this week. I still think the series is moving really, REALLY slowly, though. It lacks something important, and it may be something as simple as character depth. While it seems to be doing a good job lately of fleshing out Karura and Kendappa, Yasha and Ashura are left by the wayside. There are just too many characters, I think. I don’t know. It definitely reeks of a first work, but it’s an okay first work all the same.
This one was much better coherency-wise than the last. The volumes have fallen into a pattern of one big event per volume, so this time around demon Aizenmiyu gets her fifteen minutes. There are several main plot points, such as Kujaku revealing something of his true nature, Ashura getting officially introduced to the Shura sword, and another appearance by dark Ashura, and these are all good things.
It does move extremely slowly, though. Certainly there is a lot of action, but again, a lot of it seems to just be wandering from place to place. Kujaku gives them some direction, but the story still is just a broad “take down Taishakuten” goal without any how as of yet, and even little things, like the betrayed Karura seeking them out to join the resistance, have not happened yet.
But the ending. The ending is good, you see, because Yasha and Ashura… you know.
Hey, I’m back from the LA Times Festival of Books! Unfortunately, I took a solemn vow never to speak of that trip again, so all you get are some short thoughts on a few volumes of manga I’ve been reading.
There’s something… not quite right with the plot of RG Veda. As much as I like it, let’s just say I found myself confused about the plot, which says something considering I’ve already read it through once before. I read volume two probably more than a year ago, and I decided I’d just start reading again to finish out the series since there’s only one volume left to go in English. The problem was that I just did not remember what was going on. I think the problem lies mostly with the huge amount of characters involved in the series. X probably has some of the same problems, but I haven’t read the beginning of X in forever, and I’m reading RG Veda right now. I did not remember them picking up Sohma at all, and I had no recollection that they were going after the Ashura sword. I also somehow forgot who Kujaku was. I was very, very confused.
I was also a bit disoriented when we got kicked over to Karura’s story, but got my bearings pretty quickly as that one pretty much begin and ends within this volume, though obviously we don’t really see the aftermath. We meet and see a lot of Karura and Kendappa. I always thought the symbiotic-kinda bird gimmick was pretty cute, and I liked that Karura got a huge bird and Karyoubinga only got a small one. I liked Karyoubinga a lot, too, and she was put to good use in this plotline.
Anyway… yeah. Even with a previous read-through, this series is pretty confusing. I also don’t know that it’s that good at this point, but I didn’t really grow fond of it until the end, and I definitely liked the ending a lot… I can’t remember where it picks up though, so I guess we’ll just wait and see.
This series is still pretty good. It takes a lot to convince me when it comes to fantasy series. That actually may or may not be true. At any rate, I’m not a raving fan of RG Veda at this point. Mainly the things that stop me from being so are the character names. Literally.
Two of the characters in this volume, two of the BRAND NEW characters in this volume, have extremely long names that begin with “R” and have similar syllables. Plus there’s about thirty characters in the series just within volume two. Not really, but there IS… at least fifteen, maybe 20. The constant barrage of characters is so annoying…
But, you know, the story is SO GOOD. It feels like all the characters need to be there. It doesn’t have the gut-wrenching angst and backstabbing (well, it does even have a little of that, literally and figuratively) that modern manga has, and it does have a few cliches (mainly the tough-guy act Ryuu-oh puts on, and how Ashura reassures everyone of wholesome values) but it’s still a good story. Not at the top of my list yet, but I’m still waiting for volume three.
I wrote a full review for this before I wrote this, which is unprecedented since I literally jumped out of bed and wrote a full review after I was finished. I love this series, and it shows. Literally, if you like X in any capacity, you should pick this up too, because they are very similar.
Mainly I like it because of Ashura, and more specifically than that the relationship between Ashura and Yasha-ou. It’s great, and it really balances out the otherwise really heavy and dramatic series for me. One of the better CLAMP relationships… and the only other ones I’ve been a huge fan of so far (not to say that many weren’t good) would be, hm, Sakura and Sayoran, Shuuichiro and Kohaku, Kamui and Kotori, and of course Subaru and Seishirou.
And the plot’s really good. It’s based in mythology, but then creates this own little universe and timeline of its own, and I love series that do that really well. Lots of heartbreak all around, lots of violence, and plus there’s lots of really pretty artwork and character designs (the Tenmagouka artbook is absolutely TO DIE FOR… you haven’t seen anything if you’ve seen X-zEro).
I don’t really have anything bad to say about it other than I’m pouty over the fact that Tokyopop dropped all the -ou suffixes. Plus, it was really really hard for me to get ahold of all the characters and names and precisely what was going on when I was reading the Japanese version, but I don’t know if that’s because I was struggling with the translation or it honestly is hard to figure out. Maybe a little of both.