Manga-ka: Matsuri Akino
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: April 2008
“Ibaraki, the Demoness, has finally appeared – but what impact will her presence have on the violence already taking place? And why do Fuuto’s Guardian Beasts seem so familiar with her? She’ll play a crucial role before this terrible day is done… but will she be a force for good or evil?!”
Recap of the plot up until now: Fuuto, a Japanese student with a history of transferring schools, found out that he may in fact be, by reincarnation, the true King of a country. With a boy already on the throne, Guardians are sent as assassins to kill the ‘fake’ king in Japan. One after another, they realize that there may be truth behind Fuuto’s lineage (much to his dismay) due to his powerful psychic abilities and particular apathy for others so they stay as his Guardians, protecting Fuuto from those who follow them and the young King’s own inability to control his powers. In the previous volume, Fuuto, his guardians and a friend are all accidentally hurled back in history, trapped between saving lives and altering history.
The story begins where it left off as the group is confronted by the Demoness they’d been sent to defeat. When the powers of Kagari, a young spiritualist, fail to defeat the Demoness, Fuuto steps in and the Demoness flees. They learn from a samurai who travels with them the truth behind his apparent fight with the Demoness that left her with a severed arm and Fuuto’s guardians tell them that the Demonness is really a Diety, much like them, who had long since lost her way. Now the time travellers must find a way to solve the Demoness problem without altering history, keeping all that they know to be true intact, and find a way back home. It’s a fairly well executed end to the short story arc and takes up roughly one-third of the book.
No sooner do they make it home when yet another Guardian assassin attacks Fuuto: a plot device long since gotten old (at least there’s a set number of Guardians and it’ll soon be reached). Fast forward a bit and Fuuto uses his powers to switch the minds of two girls, one old and one young, in the hopes of allowing an elderly woman her dying wish. This story is alright but moves at a snail’s pace when it has little to no bearing on the plot. Going on volume six, readers are itching for some plot and side stories probably won’t cut it anymore. Fortunately this is where the end half of the book comes into play.
The last portion of the book brings us back to the young boy, Atisha, who sits atop the holy throne of Dhalashar. Having ‘met’ Fuuto before, he wishes to meet the boy again and see more of the world the other potential ruler lives in. Travelling to Japan, he and Fuuto sneak away for a day of fun and relaxation, allowing Atisha the chance to live the life of a normal boy his age, luxuries never afforded to him. It’s fun having these two characters, both so important, come together in this way, especially when those around them are feuding. Fuuto and Atisha are simply young boys becoming friends, who care more about the here and now. Because of this, there is no animosity between the two when they spent time together, a pleasant contrast to the constant tension between their backing groups. This portion of the book takes up a very small part of the total page count, which is disappointing. It feels the most relevant and potentially interesting. The ending of the book is also one of the first really big cliffhangers so far and followers of the series will no doubt be ready to drop this volume and get their hands on volume seven with much anticipation.
Matsuri Akino’s art style is distinct and familiar to those who’ve seen her other works, such as Petshop of Horrors. While facial expressions are often a bit stiff, rich detailing on clothing and backgrounds, along with distinct character designs, which makes Genju no Seiza an attractive series visually.
Overall, the large page count of Genju no Seiza volume six is disappointing with so little of the pages containing progressing story. Too much time seems spent on what feels more like a side quest, leaving the more relevant events clinging desperately to the end like an afterthought. Fans of the series probably won’t find this a deterrent, especially bearing the cliffhanger in mind, but this particular release fails to make much of an impact as a whole.