Arata: The Legend 8

February 11, 2012

Yuu Watase – Viz – 2011 – 13+ volumes

Hm. This volume lost me a bit. Granted, I’m not the most faithful reader of this series. I’ve only read three of the last four volumes. But still, I’ve read enough that I should be able to follow along. It is a fun series, and I tend to like it when I pick it up, but this was mostly a shounen battle, with Arata Hinohara and his party approaching one of the Shinsho and the various battles associated with that. There’s lots of caring involved, with some of the major plot points revolving around Kanate in particular, and Mikusa to a lesser extent. And as big an event as the Kanate storyline was… it moved too fast, and I just didn’t like Kanate enough for that to have had as big an impact as it should. To me, he’s mostly just a plucky group member. I have no opinion on whether he stays or goes. Granted, this was the most elaborate thing that could have happened to a side character, but still. It brought the story to a grinding halt, and I just didn’t enjoy it that much.

I can’t say much more than that about Kanate. I’ve probably said too much already, but I don’t want to spoil this volume for those who do enjoy the series. There’s major goings-on, to be sure, but as a casual reader, I couldn’t get into it. Fans will almost certainly enjoy it, though.

Similarly, this volume has a lot to do with the Shisho of wind and his Zokusho, and the weight of what it means to be a Sho and who Arata can subjugate, et cetera. Again, maybe it’s just because I don’t read the series super-regularly, but I was having trouble keeping the terms straight. This is likely my fault, since there are Shinsho and Zokusho under them, and there’s not much more than that to it. But there are a lot of people tied up with the Shinsho of wind, all of them have titles, and it’s a little hard to keep everything straight.

The Zokusho of wind himself was pretty entertaining. He labors under some sort of curse, and has an aversion to men, which means that the Arata party has to sneak in disguised as women. Arata, of course, gets into the most humorous situation possible under those circumstances. It’s cute, if not entirely unexpected.

I was a little sad that there wasn’t more Arata-in-the-present for us to see. I kinda get that Arata Hinohara is the one having the adventure, but I like the idea of the story being split between the two. This isn’t a new development, though, as there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of Arata-in-the-present in the volumes I’ve read.

Usually I enjoy these volumes, but this one has me on the fence. Even with the good ones, I don’t like the story quite enough to follow it regularly, so when a volume like this involves the side characters and introduces a lot of incidental enemy characters, I have trouble following along and my feelings cool even more. I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of this, but I’m willing to admit that it’s likely just a matter of taste. I do like this far better than other Watase series I’ve read (with the exception of Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden), so if the plot sounds appealing, you’ll probably like it. It’s not really for me, though.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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