Kekkaishi #4 by Yellow Tanabe Manga Review

Title: Kekkaishi #4

Author: Yellow Tanabe

Publisher: Viz

ISBN:  14215023534

This volume introduces Yoshimori’s older brother, Masamori, to the cast.  An executive officer with the Shadow Organization, he’s a sinister character with a goatee and a scar on his forehead.  Tokine is blown away by his kekkaishi techniques, and Yoshimori, besides feeling inferior to his older brother, is now jealous of the attention Tokine is lavishing on him.

Yoshimori suffers when compared to his brother, and he feels the sting of criticism as he continues to blindly expend his powers to defeat ayakashi, without ever stopping to analyze the situations he’s presented with.  Rebuked by his grandfather, he’s told his thoughtless ways will some day cause other people to be hurt.  Brooding about his situation, Yoshimori thinks he’s come up with clever solution to his problems; he’s going to seal off Karasumori’s evil powers forever.  So what if investigating it’s mysteries is forbidden?

I haven’t quite figured Masamori out yet.  Is he jealous that Yoshimori has the hoin mark?  Is he manipulating his younger brother to research the power of the Karasumori site?  Why did he send Kasuga to Karasumori?  I think his introduction has really added some momentum to the plot, and I’m looking forward to see where it all leads.

Kekkaishi is an entertaining series, filled with fun characters and engaging stories.  The art is a little sparse, and Yoshimori really needs a haircut, but this is one of the better series that no one seems to be reading. 

Grade: B

Recommended for Teens.

Red River #12 by Chie Shinohara Manga Review

Title: Red River #12

Author: Chie Shinohara

Publisher: Viz

ISBN:  1421505541

May Contain Spoilers

After Urhi escapes capture from Kail’s forces, and the chance to prove Ursula’s innocence is lost, Yuri is taken aback by Kail’s indifferent reaction to their servant’s sacrifice.  Disliking Kail the politician, Yuri is determined to distance herself from him and return to Japan.  After Kail is crowned King, she begs a boon of him at the urging of Haddi and her sisters.  Her request?  Send her back home at the next appearance of the morning star.

When the Empire is attacked by both Egypt and Arzawa, and the attackers seem a little too familiar with Hittite military strategy, Kail realizes that there are spies at work in the capital.  It’s actually Yuri who exposes the traitors, and everyone is shocked to learn that they were the former servants of the dowager queen!  How low will this evil woman sink to see her son enthroned?  Now Kail acknowledges that they must take on both fronts at once.  But who will be the second commander and lead the army to Arzawa?

More shoujo angst!  Kail finally attains his dream of becoming King, but he still doesn’t have the one thing he loves most; Yuri.  His desires get the best of him, and he attempts to rape his beloved -  how disappointed I am in you, Kail!  Being crowned the King went straight to his head – the wrong one, that is.  I think Yuri forgave his transgressions too easily and there wasn’t really a convincing motivation for the whole scene.

With the war looming, Kail and Yuri are going to be separated again.  I found it highly unlikely that Yuri would be given the command of a Hittite army, but I guess being mistaken for a goddess has its perks.  I like her Ishtar outfit, but wonder how comfortable it would be riding a horse all day in such a short skirt, with bare legs. ..

Grade: B

Recommended for Older Teens