Volume 5 continues Shouto’s storytelling excellence as we get to the point where Himari is deciding if she will admit her feelings to Aoi. At the same time, someone or something is meddling with the Ayakashi in very terrible ways. The Nue is going to learn some hard truths from demon Kasha in return for calling in a favor.
Story: Yukari’s ties to the dragon god help Himari and the Nue heal springs that have been polluted. At the same time, Himari learns of Yukari’s tragic life as a human. Meanwhile, the Nue and Aoi are puzzled by the source of the polluted streams (and other curses). When Aoi goes to Kasha for answers, the demon plays more of his games.
There are three arcs in this volume. The first deals with Yukari’s past and healing a cursed water spirit. The middle is about Himari’s school friends and a dare that goes bad. And the third involves Aoi researching curses from the first two stories.
As always, the illustration and layout work is superb – Shouto really is at the top of her game. And the gentle nature of the story (as overused as the word is, this is best described as ‘lyrical’) continues to be the hallmark of this particular title. The last chapter ended on quite a cliffhanger – I look forward to seeing where Shouto takes the story from here. Reviewed from an advanced reader copy provided by the publisher.