Love Pistols 6
July 5, 2015
Tarako Kotobuki – SuBLime – 2013 – 8+ volumes
This volume was… a change of pace. We actually did get a Kunimasa/Norio-centric story for the first half, which was nice. Kunimasa has come of age, and is being presented as a heavyweight in zooman society. Both he and Norio are angsting while he’s off being presented, so Kunimasa comes back and… makes a rather large step in their relationship. This sets Norio off, but after consulting with several people, he decides to accept it.
IT’S ADORABLE. A little weird… something about it didn’t feel quite right. Possibly because all the side characters were involved and offering their opinions. Possibly because the set-up for the next story was going on at the same time. Possibly because Kunimasa and Norio still don’t spend that much time together. But still, it was the sweet stuff, the kind of thing this series does so well.
The next story is about Shinobu and his destined love, Vulnera. Vulnera is also called “Pride First,” and is a lion/mer hybrid, a chimera. We learn that Mer are super-powerful, and aren’t really part of the same plane of existence as other humans/zoomans. Vulnera is acting as mer interpreter at the heavyweight debut ceremony that Kunimasa is attending. Meanwhile, a mer visits Norio and his school. This mer can swap faces and clothes with others with a gesture, make magic happen, and make water taste bad.
Admittedly, I’ve read ahead before I wrote this volume up. It’s not clear to me whether the mer at the school is Vulnera or not. He wants to “see society,” and the story later implies that Vulnera does have the power to do some of the things shown (the weird water is him spying). But I’m not sure why he’d be spying on Norio and company? He already appears to be out and functioning in the world at this point. He also has a nasty scar on his face. Maybe he keeps it because Shinobu gave it to him? If he can change his face, seems like he could wipe out the scar. But if it were another mer, it’s implied that they can’t speak to humans, and function on another plane of existence that makes it hard/impossible to take a physical form? I don’t know. This was really confusing.
Vulnera is also confusing. We see the start of a flashback, where a young Shinobu is teaching a young Vulnera to take a physical form (apparently he’s good at this, since he’s also teacher for Norio and Shiro). It’s implied that Shinobu is an unwanted son, and we also learn that… zooman babies apparently don’t grow in the womb, but manifest spiritually outside the body? I don’t know?
Anyway. All signs point to Shinobu not being up to the task of teaching Vulnera. He gets deathly ill at the barriers that keep Vulnera caged, when it’s implied that his father and sister find the barrier trivial. Meeting Vulnera for the first time causes him to pass out. But Vulnera really likes him. Present-Vulnera appears to be stalking him, and his intentions appear to be very sinister. Past and present Vulnera are both kind of creepy and evil. There are also text balloons about loving someone that aren’t clear whether they’re meant to be for Norio or Vulnera. Maybe both. Maybe Vulnera loves Shinobu so much he would kill him.
There are a couple short side stories in the back. One is about the snake and mongoose again, and the other, longer story is about Kunimasa and Yonekuni’s fathers. Apparently Kunimasa and Yonekuni are twins (???). Makio had sex with both fathers without the other knowing, and bore them each a son simultaneously? Hilariously, David is really pissed at Maximilian for it, while offering no defense for himself. Maximilian stays with Makio and Karen for a little bit. Makio and Karen are the best, though this later characterization of Makio (lazy, kind of take-things-as-they-come, a bit childish) doesn’t match with her initial story. But her and Karen are still great, as are David and Maximilian. Again, it’s these kinds of stories that the series does well, though I wish Kotobuki wasn’t trying so hard to make having kids weird.
Also, Kunimasa and Yonekuni are, like, the third set of twins we’ve met in the series. Another weird strike against the initial point of zoomans having trouble making kids.