January 2, 2012
Minako Narita – CMX – 2008 – 11 volumes
The penultimate volume! I had been waiting for the self-reflection to come to an end here, but unfortunately, there’s plenty more of that to go around, and the characters sit around and talk about their feelings for, like, the third straight volume in a row. But the conclusions here are more solid than they previously have been, and both Siva and Cipher realize things about themselves that stir them into action by the end of the volume.
There are two American holidays in this volume. Well, one of them is a “holiday” in the sense that it was a celebration of the re-opening of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, the Liberty Weekend to celebrate the centennial of the monument. Liberty Weekend and Independence Day served as a backdrop to the contemplation in this volume. Most of the self-reflection is still from Siva and Cipher, but the New York setting, and the Liberty Weekend event, always seem to fit better with Anise. She does some reflection of her own, and comes to a conclusion, then acts on it. Thank God someone finally did something, though her actions were more than a little confusing and nonsensical. Actually, Anise is all about action, since she did go to LA to try and find Cipher last volume. I do like that she follows through with her feelings, rather than ruminating on them for however long. Her out-of-character remarks do serve their intended purpose, spurring Jake into action, but I have no idea why or how she decided to do it that way.
The other holiday we stumble across is Father’s Day. I hadn’t thought much about Father’s Day outside the US before. According to Wikipedia, it’s celebrated in Japan at the same time as the US, but this is the only manga I can think of that features it, and the fact that it’s explained makes me think that it’s not a common Japanese holiday. It’s Cipher’s friend that celebrates it (Cipher can’t, for obvious reasons), but it is used as a device to make him reflect more on his relationship with Siva.
And after all that thinking about themselves, Anise is on the move, and both Siva and Cipher look ready to make up. The last volume should be the long-awaited reunion, and hopefully it will also bring closure to Siva’s love life, or at the very least, a new beginning.
As much as I’m complaining about all the character development… while there is an excessive amount, I still like it quite a bit. I’ll talk a bit more about my thoughts on the end, though, after I’ve seen how things wrap up next time. I’m sure there won’t be a whole lot of surprises, but is there anything more satisfying than finishing a really good shoujo series?
Well… probably. But still. It should be pretty great.