Wow. Seriously, this volume was such a payoff for the slowly building storyline that Shouoto has so carefully crafted. We finally get Aoi’s story and learn how he became entrapped in Momochi House – and why. As well, there is an epic battle featuring so many beautifully illustrated panels. Things are about to change at Momochi House permanently.
Story: It all began with an old ghost story – of a figure dressed in an old fashioned uniform asking children to follow him. They disappeared but always returned but Himari is inexplicably drawn to the story in her quest to help free Aoi from Momochi House. What she will find will unlock Aoi’s scattered memories and finally help both discover what really happened to him when he was 7. But both are unprepared for the cost of that knowledge.
As always, the illustration work on this beautiful and sensual story is breathtaking. But the art is married to a nicely layered and nuanced set of stories as well – this isn’t art with a pathetic story tacked on I could stare at the illustrations all day for their creativity, beauty, and depth of emotion/storytelling.
But this volume is more importantly where the main arc kicks in full force and ties together so many of the earlier subarcs. Kasha appears briefly at the end but it looks like he is maneuvering to make a far greater impact rather than simply stirring things up for the Momochi Residents. I find him to be such a refreshing villain and I am really looking forward to seeing him more in future volumes. This volume was about Aoi’s foil. Future volumes look to deal with Nue’s foil in Kasha.
In all, there is a lot of payoff in this volume – I couldn’t stop once I started reading it. This series is highly recommended as a cut above standard shoujo fare. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.