Author: Yukako Kabei
Manga-ka: Shiori Teshirogi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: October 2008
Synopsis: “Their fates irrevocably intertwined by a bloody war waged eighty years ago, Harvey has promised to help the Corporal pass on by returning him to his final resting place. But when saying their last good-byes to the Corporal goes awry, Harvey is convinced that it would be best for Kieli to go home. But is it really Kieli that needs saving or is Harvey sacrificing his last hope for salvation?”
Kieli and Harvey’s journey continues along with their ghost-in-a-radio, the Corporal. The three find themselves at a place very familiar to Harvey, a place he once called home with a smile upon his face. The trio aren’t far from their destination, a gravesite of soldiers from a war long since past, that holds potent meaning for both Harvey and the Commander, leaving Kieli to wonder what will become of their travels together once they reach it.
I loved volume one of Kieli a lot so I held some reservations on if volume two would be as enjoyable, especially with it marking the end of this short series adaptation. Well it only took me a couple pages in to be assured that I would love this book nearly as much as I had the first.
The story continues to be told predominantly through Kieli (with the exception of a few scenes). She’s such an endearing character, with understandable fears and inhibitions, as well as a humbly kind personality that makes it hard to find anything to dislike about her. When things take an uncertain turn near the book’s middle, she becomes depressed by her life continuing on the path it was before she met Harvey. When life throws her a sudden curveball, however, she jumps into action with an admirable bravado considering the limits of what she can do.
Readers and Kieli also got a nicely executed glimpse at Harvey’s life, including a fellow Undying from his past who returns to raise a little hell here in the story’s climax. For a character to be introduced and run their full course in one volume, I thought this new guy may feel rushed, but he wasn’t in the slightest. The whole book carried along with the same phenomenal pacing that I loved about the first. It handles switches between light character interactions to darker revelations with ease and tosses in some wonderfully handled fight scenes to keep everything balanced and riveting. Shiori Teshirogi’s perfectly matched artwork is greatly responsible for this near-flawless reading experience.
By the book’s end, I felt satisfied with what I’d read in these two short volumes, unlike some short series that leave me feeling empty. I enjoyed seeing the dramatic changes occur with the characters, including some visual (and notably practical) changes of Kieli’s design, which match the beginning of a new life being started together. The budding romance of Kieli and Harvey was also very sweet. I was sceptical of such a relationship forming between the two initially, and if it would feel believable versus a last minute add-in, but there was some great emotional work-up to the end result and I give them both my blessing!
With strong artwork and a compelling story, my only really issue with Kieli is that it’s only two volumes long because I would’ve loved to read more of this ghostly tale as presented by Shiori Teshirogi. I fell in love with volume one and volume two did not disappoint as its follow-up. At least there’re the original light novels to look forward to (also being released by Yen Press) and if they’re as charming as this representation of them was, then I’m already sold. In the meantime, I highly recommend manga fans check out the manga-adaptation of Kieli for a very fulfilling read. I know I’ll be enjoying this one through rereads again and again.