Tenjo Tenge 8 (omnibus ed.)

November 25, 2012

Oh! great – Viz – 2012 – 22 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 15-16

Again, I’m going to keep this short, because I’ve already talked about these volumes on here. One more volume (the school fighting tournament volume <3), and we'll have caught up to the CMX translation and new content in English. I cannot wait. The next volume is spectacular. This one… is a feudal Japan flashback, and… is a bit difficult to get through.

Again, this is my third trip through the series, and honestly, this flashback isn't that bad. It’s weakness is that too many characters are introduced at this point. The flashback deals with the ancestors of Aya and Masataka, along with two of their allies, Shojo and Kabane, members of the Red Feather family. They are trying to stop Sohaku, who is alive and well in this era, and on Sohaku’s side is Princess Sen, who has a special power that winds up being very key to the series. Sohaku is amassing power in Osaka Castle for nefarious purposes.

The Natsume and Takayanagi ancestors are fairly clearly against Sohaku, but there are some unfortunate cuts in the story leading up to an attack on him inside the castle that sometimes makes their allegiances ambiguous. Even after three times through, there was a moment every once in awhile where I was trying to figure out if maybe they weren’t attacking Sohaku, or one of them was a double agent, or they used to work for him and don’t anymore, or whatever. Some of the details are still a little ambiguous, and I’m sure reading through it again immediately would answer my questions, but honestly… I don’t care to. It’s not that important.

And if the jumps between conversations taking place at the same time was a little bit confusing during the flashback, it is ridiculous impossible to interpret what is going on at the end of the flashback, when Aya starts perceiving the past and future in parallel. The outcome is clear, but what in God’s name is happening there is not. I mean… I knew what was going on, and I still couldn’t make sense of it. It sure does look cool, though.

In the present, Shojo and Kabane equivalents show up and present themselves to Aya first, then look as if they’re working with Mitsuomi. So… there’s that too, new characters in the present you have to memorize. Their role wasn’t quite clear to me until I read this through again.

The flashback is cool. The Natsume ancestor’s intentions are ambiguous throughout, and that’s part of the fun. And when everything is revealed, when she finally goes after Sohaku, that is a truly awesome moment in the series. But honestly, this is still the hardest section to read, at least for me. There’s a lot of stuff here that’s necessary to set up the end of the series, though, so we have to have it.

The next volume, though? Oh friend, that is the fighting tournament. It is fantastic. You’ll see.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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