The Demon Prince of Momochi House Vol 3 by Aya Shouto

Volume 3 surprised me in many ways: through the first two volumes, I was pretty much coasting on the pretty art and unsure if this would ever take off somewhere interesting. But the story is now coalescing into its own distinct tale; those worried that this was another Kamisama Kiss can relax – there is a gentleness but also a depth to Momochi House that make for a beautiful but very distinct read.

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Story: Himari is trying to discover which one of her friends is supernatural – and why that person is in Momochi House. When the truth is finally revealed, it will lead to a trap specifically set for Aoi (rather than the Nue). Later, when Aoi invites Himari to a special spirit world banquet, the Nue’s purpose at Momochi House is revealed. Himari will find herself greatly entangled in much more than just a haunted house.

The story grew organically here; rather than a ‘monster-of-the-week’ showdown that would get old fast, we’re given a lot more about both the Nue and Aoi. Before volume 3, the difference in the two entities wasn’t always obvious; here, we now understand how great the transformation is between Aoi and Nue – and why Aoi tries to avoid it when possible. As well, Himari’s own supernatural strengths are starting to come to the fore. There are hints that both Aoi and Himari will be the catalyst to finally change the events in the supernatural world as well as at Momochi House. But honestly – for me it is all about the nuanced characterizations.

Of course, the art is lovely and a joy to read. But with Volume 3, I found I was far more engrossed in the storytelling and eagerly anticipating each new page. There is such a subtle maturity to the characters and the plot that is often hard to find in modern manga titles. I am now greatly looking forward to seeing where Volume 4 will take the story. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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