Title: Her Majesty’s Dog Vol 2
Author: Mick Takeuchi
Publisher: go! comi
May Contain Spoilers
I remember not being overly impressed with the first volume of this series. It just didn’t click for me. This volume, however, flowed better, and was much more to my liking. Maybe it was the lack of attention given to Amane and the feeding habits she’s developed with her guardian demon, Hyoue. It was a not so subtle plot device last time around, and I remember that it got tiring after awhile. It is relegated to the background here, which was just fine with me.
When Amane and Hyoue find a badly wounded Zakuro, they save him and nurse him back to health. Hyoue doesn’t know the grief he’s about the cause himself – he and Zakuro go way back, sharing a master 500 years ago. When he died, Zakuro continued to faithfully serve his descendants, while Hyoue refused to serve anyone until meeting Amane. Zakuro quickly ingratiates himself in Amane’s good graces, trying to show up the younger Hyoue. When he declares that he’ll become her guardian spirit, and that Hyoue isn’t necessary anymore, things get very, very tense between Hyoue and Amane.
This was a believable rivalry as Hyoue and Zakuro jockeyed to prove who could best protect Amane. After Zakuro threatens to divulge some embarrassing secrets, Hyoue’s temper takes a turn for the worst. He gets pissy with everyone, especially Amane. He is jealous more than anything else, but he flaps his lips and says some very, very idiotic things to her. Amane reacts with a burst of ice-cold distain. Hyoue is acting like a spoiled brat and Amane puts him firmly in his place. Her cold shoulder treatment would turn the Heat Miser into a block of ice. Hyoue doesn’t have a chance.
With Hyoue neatly out of the picture, Zakuro unleashes his true intentions. He does not have warm and fuzzy feelings for either Hyoue or Amane, and he’s devised a diabolical plan to get revenge against them. That’s just not very nice! Hyoue may not have been thrilled to see him again, but Amane saved his life and took him in when he was down and out. She had even started to care about him before he did a complete turn around and revealed his true intentions.
It would have been easy to hate Zakuro, but his background story was sufficiently tragic that I felt bad for him and sympathized with him. He had always tried to serve his masters to the best of his ability, becoming everything that he thought they wanted. When Amane accepts him just the way he is, he is suspicious, and then antagonistic. He has lost trust in everyone, and he blames Hyoue for stealing their master’s love. Zakuro’s lack of self-esteem and his unhappiness made it easy to forgive him for his ill-conceived plot against Amane and Hyoue. It’s hard to hate a demon if you feel sorry for him.
In addition to getting caught up in the plot, I thought the art was arresting. Attractive characters, bold action, and lots of convincing emotions play across the panels. Now I am eager to read more of the series.