Title: VS Versus Vol 7
Author: Keiko Yamada
May Contain Spoilers
Reiji is ready for the Japan Nationals, having practiced long hours after Hane set him straight. Unable to complete long pieces since her accident, she refuses to give up, and won’t let Reiji, either. Touched by his teacher’s determination, Reiji takes up Kenzaki’s violin, vowing to win the competition. If he does, he’ll confess his love to Hane!
The final volume of VS continues with its tradition of melodrama, pitting Reiji against Bartholomew in love and in music. Hane makes no secret that she’s still hopelessly in love with Bart, even after the horrible way he treated her. He shares snippets of his bitterly poor childhood with Reiji, including his hatred for music and his desire to destroy it. Hane never had a chance against Bart and his plot to drag her down into the abyss with him.
At the Japan Nationals, Bartholomew must take over the conductor duties after the original conductor falls ill. At first excited about sharing the stage with him, Reiji soon realizes that the performance will become a battlefield, and he has to win, no matter what the cost. Battling for the spotlight, Reiji refuses to allow the charismatic conductor to overshadow him. I thought this scene was well done, as the two faced off across the stage. Both are unyielding as they fight for the audience’s attention. The illustrations were tense and frantic, with glowering expressions and heavy lines to focus in on the drama.
Overall, I thought this was an entertaining series. The lead was a social misfit who went out of his way to create conflict with the people around him. After being introduced to his new teacher, a woman just a messed up as he, he finally begins to open himself to relationships. Though some of the plot devices were ridiculous, hello, a kidnapping, anyone?, by the close of the series, I thought Reiji had matured, though he’s still a major drama queen. I have never competed in a music competition, but the over the top theatrics seemed on par with the bloated egos that have an annoying habit of marring the horse show circuit. There’s always that one competitor that you want to trip on their way to perform, just to help them get over themselves. Reiji is, and always will be, that guy.
Also contained was the short story, “Spica,” about two, yes, indeed, make-up pixies. Spice lives in an old tube of lipstick, and Brad lives in a cheap bottle of nail polish. Their new mistress, Korona, is a tom-boy who needs all the help she can get! A genius, she’s shy and has problems relating to her classmates. Instead of trying to enhance her looks, she seems determined to make herself as frumpy as possible. Spica, an exclusive brand name pixie, won’t have anything to do with that, and she begins her campaign to beautify Korona. I thought it was cute story, and it has me wondering what my make-up pixies are saying about me.
Overall Series Grade: B+
Rated for Teen+