The Demon Prince of Momochi House continues to impress with its deceptively subtle storytelling and beautiful artwork. With each volume, we learn more of Aoi and Himari and their mysteries. At the same time, tantalizing hints demonstrate that there is still quite a bit we don’t know about the two main characters (and even the side characters have their secrets). Mangaka Shouoto wisely avoids ‘monster of the week’ cliches and instead focuses on plot and character development.
Story: Aoi wasn’t always locked within the confines of Momochi house. Before he wandered in, he had a best friend named Hidaka – who has now grown and shares a class with Himari. But Hidaka is tormented by his failing memory of his friend Aoi – and that friend’s mysterious disappearance. That is, until Himari comes to school wearing a ring made for her by Aoi – a ring that brings back Hidaka’s memories in a frightening way. For the Nue will not allow Hidaka to remember his childhood friend – or even meet with him again. And Hidaka’s family harbors its own connection to the supernatural world.
This volume features a complete story arc – of Aoi’s childhood friend and the loss of each other when they were young. While there is more character development and worldbuilding between Himari, Aoi, Ise and Yukari, the focus is on Aoi’s acceptance of what he gave up when he devoted himself to Momochi House. Shouoto beautifully lays bare the pathos of childhood friends and Hidaka’s fear that he was the reason Aoi disappeared from the world.
Himari remains dedicated and a good person – the fulcrum upon which the human and supernatural interact. She will run afoul of Hidaka’s family’s fox spirit and pull another capricious character into the Momochi home. And a visit from Kasha with a box that reveals secrets will lay bare feelings on both sides of the human and supernatural world.
In all, another beautiful volume in this expertly crafted story. As with the previous volume, the book ends on a preview of the next story arc. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.