Manga-ka: Kanoko Sakurakoji
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: May 2011
Synopsis: “Raiko, the demon hunter who has been staying at Misao’s house, is determined to save her–even if that’s the last thing she wants! Kyo won’t allow a threat to Misao to go unchecked and plans to take care of the problem in his own special way. Misao, however, hopes that she can broker a peace between Raiko and Kyo before things get out of hand. But when Raiko’s attempts to “free” Misao fail, he hatches a devious new plan that will use Misao’s bond with Kyo to destroy him!”
Raiko has become one of the biggest obstacles in Black Bird as the demons remain rightfully wary of him. Meanwhile Misao struggles to live calmly under the same roof as someone who wants to kill her boyfriend. At this point in the story we’re just waiting for the obvious and this volume feels like one of the most cliched and predictable of the batch. It still manages to wring out some drama but you need to suspend a lot of belief and try to enjoy the show despite easily guessing much of what’s going to happen next.
Misao is against the idea of anyone being killed so she isn’t keen on the demons easy-out answer of getting rid of Raiko. Sympathetic to her feelings, they instead devise the plan to simply erase all of Raiko’s memories of being attacked by demons in his youth. No memories, no anger, no more want to eradicate, right? To Misao’s surprise, Raiko seems okay with meeting the demons so they can work out their differences and he even seems to be getting along with Misao pretty well.
Surprise! Raiko’s actually in love with Misao. This means the chance for accidental viewings of Raiko naked and reasons for Kyo to act jealous and Misao to emphasize more and more to herself why she adores Kyo above anyone else. She does a lot of inner-monologing in this book which gets repetitive and dull – we get it already. It’s balanced out a bit by Kyo doing the same when the story shifts to him during one of very few fight scenes we’ve gotten in a while during the book’s latter half. Elsewhere Misao’s so busy worrying about the confrontation between Raiko and Kyo that she fails to question that drinking holy water from Raiko’s shrine (that he offers to her) might create some problems.
The end of the book is the long-awaited (?) and long drawn out sex scene between Kyo and Misao. After finally being driven to the point of begging Kyo to sleep with her (which after the early volumes I’m inclined to believe was Kyo’s intent all along), the two finally seal the deal. It’s full of blushing, name moaning, internal declarations of love, flashbacks to childhood and representational symbolism. In short, it’s pretty overdone but it suits the series well and definitely fits as the literal climax of its story.
There’s still more to come in the future though, most notably what (if anything) will happen to Misao because she’s given her virginity to Kyo. I still have a lot of negative feelings towards this series because of its first half, but I can’t deny that this far in the series the author seems really dedicated to having us forget all that attempted rape and fear-mongering stuff. It doesn’t make it okay that it all happened but eight volumes into Black Bird definitely allows for even more ignorance for the sake of entertainment.
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Book provided by Viz Media for review purposes