Loveless Volume 12 by Yun Kouga

Loveless 12 was a fascinating volume delving further into the backgrounds of several side characters (Nisei especially) but in the same process revealing quite a bit more about our main characters, Seimei especially. Yun Kouga doesn’t introduce and then abandon characters – expect to see several from earlier volumes reappear in useful roles.

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Story: Seimei has brought Soubi and Nisei to battle Moonless. No one is quite sure why Seimei brought two fighters, why he refuses to be a sacrifice in the battle, and why he only sends one fighter against Moonless (who shouldn’t be able to beat them alone and without a sacrifice amplifying his powers). Faring poorly in the battle, Nisei recalls his history with Seimei and how masterfully he was manipulated: changed from a bully loner into enslaved fighter, emotionally bound but subservient to Seimei. Meanwhile, the Zero twins go to Ritsuka’s house to try to find out more about Seimei. And finally, in a side story, Ritsuka is given 3 wishes by fairyYuiko. What will he wish?

Loveless continues to be one of the most layered, nuanced, and intriguing stories I have ever read. Panels seem to be innocent but have so many interpretations and levels of meaning, especially in the psychological sense. Volume 12 especially highlights so much that’s deep about the story: the Zeros’ inability to hate Ritsuka’s abusive mother, Nisei’s acceptance of his emotional enslavement, Mimuro’s resigned acceptance of Nisei’s defection, Ritsuka’s conflict about his brother…

As with previous volumes, Yun Kouga sets a languid pace and bounces everywhere in the story. While Seimei is setting up a masterful battle, we’re suddenly reading about a normal day at Ritsuka’s school. Asynchronous and confounding, the story continues to be one that needs to be absorbed over several readings to really get all the meanings and interrelations. And it continues to be one of my favorite manga ever.

This is a great volume and had me enthralled since the first page.

Reviewed from an ARC.

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