Manga-ka: Natsumi Mukai
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: April 2008
“As Cooro and company travel through a dark tunnel on the way to Sailand, Husky tells them the reason why he wants to go there – to see his mother. But it looks like the family reunion will be delayed when the children discover that in Sailand, +Anima are kept as slaves! And if that weren’t bad enough, Husky and Senri are captured by slave hunters! Can Cooro and Nana fly them to freedom?”
A lot happens in this joyfully extra fat volume of +Anima. Cooro, Nana, Husky and Senri continue their trek through the underground tunnels to the neighbouring country of Sailand, seeking people from Husky and Senri’s pasts. Upon getting there, they find out that Anima are looked at as lesser beings and kept as slaves by the humans. While Cooro and Nana are taken in by a kind Anima-keeper, Husky and Senri are captured by much less hospitable slave hunters.
A few new characters are introduced in this volume, as is the usual for this series. The most important one is Lady Crystala, a woman who buys +Anima but offers them her protection, kindness and, if they so wish it, their freedom. She’s a strong, admirable woman, who faces a country deep-rooted in beliefs she doesn’t agree with, as she tries to do her part to help. Unlike some past part-time characters who felt like they bogged down the story, Lady Crystala is a well-written character who helps to fuel the story. She also has a connection to Senri’s past, filling in some gaps that readers awaited about the strong-but-silent Kim-Un-Kur and his keepsake book.
One of my favourite aspects of +Anima is the artwork: it’s downright adorable. The wide-eyed smiles of Cooro make me happy and the rounded features of a little Senri will fill readers with the warm-and-fuzzies. Not only is it cute but Natsumi Mukai also weaves together a style that’s detailed, clean and very consistent. It’s easy to follow what’s going on and action scenes and movements are rendered really well. While the slowing story almost had me almost giving up on the series when volumes five and six came about, the artwork held me in and now at volume seven, I’m thrilled it did.
Volume seven is the most fun I’ve had reading this series in a while and it’s rekindled all the reasons I loved it in the first place. The plot is linear, well paced and lots happens in this thick new release. I loved learning more about Husky and Senri, along with the introduction of some new characters, and it’s been a while since the synopsis for the next volume made me eager to get my hands on it.