by Ai Yazawa; adapted by Allison Wolfe
published by Viz; $8.99 US
Everyone’s getting over their hurt feelings and getting on with their lives. You can’t stay in a state of emotional intensity for long; it’s too tiring. Picking up the pieces, though, may require some work.
Nana’s still torn between her deep love for Ren and her jealousy of his band Trapnest’s success. Well, jealousy isn’t quite the right word; she doesn’t want to be them, she wants her own achievement instead. It’s more a rivalry.
Plus, she and Hachi haven’t worked out their misunderstandings over how they parted. And trying to remedy them lead to missed meetings that would be comical in another context.
The other characters find themselves similarly conflicted. Reira’s gotten a good night’s sleep after her emotional breakdown and is jumping back into the circuit of Trapnest publicity while pondering her feelings for Shin. His childhood also echoes in Hachi’s situation, and she wants his advice on how to make her case turn out differently.
It’s all complicated by tabloids looking for the next big story. If they can’t find it, they’ll make it, and the ties between Trapnest and Nana’s band Blast (short for Black Stones) are catnip to them. The resulting media circus shows Hachi the kind of person her fiance Takumi really is, as well as keeping apart people who need to be together.
It’s heart-breaking for the characters, but to the reader, immensely gripping. Everyone’s plans have to change through no fault of their own. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to happen, plot-wise, given the careers involved, yet incredibly dramatic in shaking up all the relationships.
Feelings shouldn’t change just because new light shines on them, but the intensity of the press vultures warps everything. Except Yasu’s nobility — he’s still a bald knight protecting those he cares about. The increased pressure reminds everyone of what’s really important to them, but just being right or talented won’t protect them from the rumors and scandal or even their corporate bosses.
Every time I think this series is going to settle down, turning out more of the same (even if its level of consistency is being a great read by a talented creator), there’s something new and surprising happening. It’s intense and wonderful. (I previously talked about Book 9.)