Manga-ka: You Higuri
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: March 2008
Synopsis: “Cesare is well on his way to fulfilling his dark destiny, with the help of his newfound power. Seizing control of the French army, he begins the murderous rampage that could be his downfall… unless his loyal friend Chiaro can hear the last remaining vestige of Cesare’s soul crying out for release.”
Things don’t take as many climactic turns in volume ten of Cantarella as they did in volume nine but none the less the clock is still ticking for the lives of those trapped in Cesare’s ever-tightening web.
In this volume, Cesare has left his position as a Cardinal and sets out to future entrench his influence and connection with other countries and positions of power. Marriage continues to be the political tool of choice and another girl is tossed into a wedding to benefit Cesare’s cruel intentions. Meanwhile Lucrezia still remains a prisoner in her own home, comforted only by the spirited Sancia who has her own worries with the changing tide of the country posing problems for her ever-loyal brother. Elsewhere Chiaro has found peace, albeit an unfulfilling peace, as a winemaker but soon travels with an old friend as a bodyguard, only to be invited to join a group of mercenaries.
As usual the politics remain the central part of the plot. They require readers to take it slow if they want to understand and follow everything about the who’s who of this renaissance world. It’s becoming almost unbearable waiting for things to finally come full circle but at this point it seems like the plot end is in sight. It’s one of those series where you know not everyone is going to get a happy ending, but I certainly hope at least someone has earned one by the time all is said and done.
Some bonuses in this volume include an amusing two-page comic about You Higuri’s trip to Anime Central in 2005, as well as the winning entry to Go!Comi’s Poison Poetry Contest. There’s also a nice afterward by Audry Taylor of Go!Comi explaining the current situation regarding this series.
Overall it was another tantalizing volume of Cantarella. Things are finally readying themselves for the long-awaited climax. Unfortunately with the series still on hiatus, it’ll be a while yet before readers will get to read the undoubtedly dramatic conclusion. It’ll be worth the wait however, for readers who just can’t get enough of Cesare, Chiaro and the other tormented souls of this character driven period piece.