by Ema Toyama
published by Kodansha Comics; $10.99 US
I was unhappy with Book 3 in this series, but letting more time pass has reset my expectations to anticipating a more typical shojo manga.
The love triangle from the previous book has become a quadrangle, as we meet Mami. She was introduced in book 3, but only from afar as a previously sick girl who was good friends with Shigure. Here, she shows her true colors, “befriending” Yukina as a way of undercutting her.
There’s humor in seeing just how pestering Mami can be, driving Yukina crazy with questions while pretending to help her get Shigure. Of course, Mami really wants him for herself. She’s puppyish in her single-minded determination. She’s also much more typically girly. With her illness, any boy could be seduced by the idea of taking care of her, of giving her someone strong to depend on.
Meanwhile, Shigure’s next “mission”, as demanded by Yukina, is for him to bite her on the neck as research for the cell phone novel she’s writing where the princess is captured and bitten by the king of the vampires. It’s also an excuse for forced physical contact between the two, making Mami jealous and giving Akira an excuse “to heal the wound with a kiss”, which makes Shigure jealous.
If only any of the characters would be honest with each other! But that’s not the way teen romance works. Instead, people take on stupid dares (like literally not talking to each other) for silly reasons and let transparently selfish friends drive them apart. This series no longer has the unique qualities I liked about it in the beginning, but wanting to find out just what happens next keeps driving me past each cliffhanger to the next book. (The publisher provided a review copy.)