Author: Yamila Abraham
Artist: Rhea Silvan
Publisher: Yaoi Press
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: November 2008
Synopsis: “Fuyu seeks Takuma to treat Hakuin’s badly infected wounds. The Spring Demon Ryuuto is still wooing Takuma when Fuyu arrives. Fuyu and Hakuin find themselves in the position of matchmakers as Hakuin’s injuries heal. Just when things seem to be going well, there’s a misunderstanding. Now Ryuuto has angered them all. Hakuin decides their old friend Figaru is just the one to teach this evil demon a lesson.”
Different past elements are drawn together in this fourth and final volume of Winter Demon. Fuyu takes Hakuin to a nearby healer when old wounds torment his weakened body. There the two meet the young doctor whose heart is at odds over his feelings for a demon named Ryuuto who has the power to heal but a dangerous sexual appetite. While Hakuin heals, he and Fuyu come to full terms with their current relationship while hoping to mend that of the doctor and Ryuuto with some ‘help’ from their acquaintance, the incubus Figaru.
I really like how the story progressed to this point, and the story now feels more contained and well-rounded than ever. Gone are the hokey badguys and silly whip that I thought bogged down old volumes in silliness, and instead this last volume focuses on some believable concerns and touching romances tainted by dark pasts. Dr. Takumi was adorable and I liked his innocent love in contrast to Ryuuto’s more physical devotion. Hakuin and Fuyu’s relationship takes a solid step forward here but not without some well-placed review over how they got to where they are today.
When Figaru was brought into the story, I initially carried a frown for what I made first assumption was a terrible idea on the character’s behalf. Rape should not be a solution to anything! But what occurred instead, thanks to Figaru’s level-headed but focused intent, kept the story on a much less distressing path and certainly a steamier one.
Art-wise, this is a gorgeous book. I’ve seen Rhea Silvan’s art before and was eager to see her take on these characters I’ve become accustomed to seeing in others’ style. Well I could not have been anymore happy with the result. From smooth pacing, to panel layout that shows her experience and a near flawless style as far as I’m concerned, I’ve no complaints! Men are beautiful when intended and all rendered with a nice inking style and perfectly balanced toning. Simply put, I loved it and definitely hope to see more pretty boys like these from Rhea in the future because they are certainly a treat for the eyes.
An interesting moment artistically in the story as well is when a chapter suddenly switches artists, going to the team Peruggine who’ve drawn previous volumes of the story. They illustrate this book’s sex scene between Hakuin and Fuyu and the sharp contrast between its climatic dramatics, to the more subtle pacing of Rhea Silvan’s work, gave a very interesting momentary curve to the story. It definitely made the sex scene pop out for sure, and was presented even more interestingly as it was a spectacle watched by Dr. Takuma. He sees in Peruggine!
As far as packaging goes, Yaoi Press did a nice job handling this one and I’d say graphically it’s the best of the four-part series. The cover art by Rhea is as beautiful as the interior and I was happy to see the ugly word bubble gimmick from the third volume was gone. The back of the book was tidy and easy to read, though the synopsis lacks any sort of oomph. It feels like it was written by someone who was bored to death by the story, which I imagine would be a turn off to any new readers. A preview for the third, and final volume of Dark Prince is included at the end along with several advertisements for other YP series.
Overall, I’d say that Winter Demon four proved to be my favourite of the bunch. I really liked the characters who all came together in this final volume, and the way different past elements were weaved together. Some of the cheesier elements that I found distracting in past books are gone, leaving only the good stuff. With some fantastic art and a compelling love story set against some dangerous demonic lust and innocent human love, it made for a wonderful read and I’m sadder than ever to know it’s over. I was thrilled enough having a story about a monk and demon in the first place, and all the more pleased with where it ended up.