This was quite a thrilling volume – I could barely turn the pages fast enough as we are given a fascinating glimpse of Aoi’s past. Kasha, Nachi, Ise, and the Nue are all prominent as Himari is sent on a quest to discover Aoi’s history and help him fill in the holes in his memory. But, of course, it is never that easy.
Story: Aoi has permanently transformed into the Nue thanks to Nachi’s interference. Himari is told that the only way to turn him back into Aoi is to help him discover the past that Nachi forcefully unlocked last volume. To do so, she will use her Momochi connections to find a path – one that certain Ayakashi in Aoi’s family would prefer she doesn’t find. For the longer Aoi stays as the Nue, the less likely Aoi will ever appear again.
As with so many of the past volumes, important pivotal plot information is given through red herrings and maguffins. What starts out as investigating a disturbance turns into a fantastic journey down a rabbit hole of discovery. Shouoto really knows how to tell a story and this Volume 8 was one of the best in the series thus far.
Of course, the incredibly beautiful illustration work continues to enchant. Through her simple style we get such a wealth of emotion and personality: the contrast of Kasha’s unpredictability and Nue’s implacability, Himari’s accepting personality and selflessness against the selfish and hunger driven ayakashi.
I also love that we get tantalizing clues to a bigger picture. Nachi, of course, has a whole interesting tale yet to be told. But apparently so does Himari as she is given hints that there is far more to her story and her parents’ story as well. And I always welcome Kasha as a foil for the Nue.
In all, a great volume. This remains one of my favorite manga. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.