Manga-ka: Tomo Maeda
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2008
Synopsis: “Shikimi remains trapped within his body, tormented by the memories of those he’s killed. His own memories of Taki lend him the strength to survive… but is it enough to overcome the demons when Taki finally fulfills his promises?”
Everything comes full circle here in the seventh, and final, volume of Black Sun Silver Moon as readers are pulled back to the bloody confrontation of the previous book, all in preparation for a page-heavy instalment that manages to leave few questions unanswered.
The focus of the book remains on the leads, Shikimi and Taki. Shikimi’s darker half has finally won control of his body and seeks to destroy Taki, a natural born-enemy to all demons his kind. Even here in the last book I continually find Taki’s role of a ‘Nightling’ to be inconsequential to the story and it easily could’ve done without that particular fact add-in, even if here Tomo Maeda does manage to make it a tad more relevant to current plot events.
The continued evolvement of Grey, another demon who shows up earlier on, continues to be one of the series’ best features. His ability to come in at just the right (or for the characters, wrong) time is never short of entertaining. He’s a great good-guy-bad-guy combo and serves as both an instigator and salvation for the others involved. While Shikimi versus Taki was the book’s focus, it was the moments with Grey that really stood out to me and make for some of the book’s greatest shock-factor moments.
Unfortunately while the exposition and inevitable showdowns were a welcome sight to finally see, many were bogged down with pages of back and forth banter. Sure it’s all relevant, but is it all necessary? What starts off as a high-tension one-on-one soon becomes a drawn out conversation. Fortunately, however, these moments appear only as pockets throughout the book and are connected via fight scenes and moments of explanation that prove much more enthralling.
Following the main story are some shorts that seek to finish capping other leftover holes in the plot. The most notable plot hole of which would be Laz, a hunter who appeared early on in the series only to in turn befriend Shikimi and Taki. Laz has always maintained that they’re a young man when appearances and personality would suggest the opposite. In ‘Thorn and Splinters’, Laz’s Father shows up to take them home and he reveals to the others what led Laz to being as they are today. While the true nature of Laz will come as little surprise to readers, the explanation is pretty silly, though not without offering its own amusement value. In fact, it actually leaves me wanting a short spin-off where Laz’s Father and brothers could have some more page-time, though that comes more from their attractive character designs showcased at the book’s end.
Readers of BSSM to this point have gotten to watch the art style evolve along with the plot and here in volume seven its reached its crispest, more eye-catching stage, as one would hope in a multi-volume series. The characters are sleekly drawn with few unnecessary strokes and the line work is really tight. The whole thing has a much more consistent look than when the series began, though I still find some characters are hard to tell apart from one another when shown from certain angles.
Tomo Maeda’s ability to weave all the threads of the story together into a tidy little bow will undoubtedly please fans of happy endings. With the art at its peak of the series and some amusing add-ons, the book is able to make up for its flaws and provide a satisfying end to the series.
Review written April 29, 2009 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased from independant hobby store, The Batter’s Box