Manga-ka: Mukai Natsumi
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: September 2008
Synopsis: “Cooro and the others find themselves in a town that has just been graced with the presence of an angel, who Cooro realizes right away is a +Anima. But the “angel” doesn’t like being discovered and turns the town against Cooro, telling them he’s a messenger of death. When researchers arrive to investigate, will Cooro and friends the other cheek for their fellow +Anima?”
With Husky’s back-story arc now at a close, what undoubtedly sucked me in the most about this ninth volume was the beginning of Cooro’s. He’s been somewhat of an enigma since the beginning: happy go lucky, innocent and seemingly with complete acceptance of his Anima abilities. Even the characters make note of these oddities, foreshadowing for some revelations to come. With Cooro being as happy and spirited as he usually is, subtle changes in his personality are very noticeable. Some returning characters set to trigger the final climatic events are +Anima researchers, the head of which is known to Cooro from his past.
One of the semi-unrelated-to-the-larger-plot stories in this book was about a young man, a swan Anima, posing as an angel. In the village that worships this ‘angel’, Cooro is labelled as a black messenger of death. Despite the swan’s role in his labelling, Cooro doesn’t hold it against him and hopes to help the man find some true happiness. Throughout the book there’s a distinct focus on bird Anima, and labelling them based on wing colour in a comparison to thoughts of good vs evil. These aspects add to other elements of the story that work towards the series’ end, and Cooro’s moment in the back-story spotlight.
Other fun moments of this volume include a continued evolution of Nana’s crush on Husky, Senri continuing to be his charming self (though his involvement is quite limited this time around), seeing different types of +Anima during preparation for a canyon race and getting a short glimpse at Nana’s thoughts of a possible happy future for the group. Of course, another chance to enjoy Natsumi Mukai’s undeniably adorable art style always makes +Anima a treat as well. In my opinion there’s no series that showcases her talent better than this one, with rich detailing and a charming cast of characters.
Hard to believe that volume ten marks the end of this charming series but I’m really interested to see what kind of climax and ending it receives. Though I’ll be sad to see the end come around, I hold high hopes for it. I’ve been anticipating the moment we readers would get a true glimpse at Cooro’s life before meeting Husky, Senri and Nana and +Anima has always had a way of slipping in some darker undertones into its cheery fantasy repertoire. Though the end of a good series is always a little depressing, I can’t wait for volume ten! Those who haven’t had a chance to enjoy this series should certainly pick up volume one and give it a try.