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Takeru: Opera Susanoh/Sword of the Devil, Volume 3

Note:

Excited to get back into this series. I took a little break because I wanted you guys to get a little variety, but here we are again–entering a world of warfare, blood-lust, and betrayal! I have been loving this series, and can’t wait to finish! I like the characters, I like the setting, I like the who atmosphere. If you like action, if you like fantasy, if you like awesome art, and cute characters ūüėČ then you’ll love this series, and volume three is no exception!

I’ll give you the standard review as always, and if you don’t want spoilers, remember to skip over the summary. Some of the other sections may have small spoilers, as well!

*This review has spoilers. Proceed with caution!*

Takeru: Opera Susanoh/Sword of the Devil, Volume 3-Highly Recommended

Mangaka: Story/Kazuki Nakashima; Art/Karakarakemuri
Copyright: 2009 (translation)
Genre: Shounen, Fantasy, Comedy, Action
Chapters:

  • Chapter 10: Tangled Princesses
  • Chapter 11: The Battle of Abaraki
  • Chapter 12: Forest of Demons
  • Chapter 13: The End of the Western General
  • Chapter 14: The Dying Holy Tree
  • Chapter 15: Izumo’s Determination

 

Summary:

Desperate to find the true Holy Sword, Izumo, Oguna, and Queen Miyazu venture into the Forest of Demons in hopes of finding a way to stop Kumaso and his possessed army. But doing so may take more out of them than they realize. From facing their own demons, to figuring riddles, and battling fierce guardians, will the group be able to find the Holy Sword before it’s too late?

Meanwhile, out on the battle front, the Demon Sword is more than the Amamikado had expected. How can they gain the sword for their King? To what lengths will Azuma and Kawake go to gain power, and where does Prince Ohshu fit into their plans? Just how powerful is the Demon Sword, and is it capable of even destroying Kibitsu’s army of clay soldiers?

All this, and more keeps the action coming and the brain working as the reader tries to figure out what will happen next!

Review:

*This is a new category. I will simply review manga that are continuations of previous volumes, since the art and style most likely will not have changed much. Besides, if I’m this far in a series, I’ve said all there is to say about the characters and the art. Here, we’ll focus just on the story and I’ll say what I liked, and why I liked it.

What makes this a good volume?

It¬†definitely¬†compliments the series and keeps your interest–making you want to read all the way the end. I couldn’t put it down, to be honest and read it in just about 45 minutes to an hour.

This manga has a good combination of suspense, action, and fantasy, with just a hint of comedic relief to help ease the tension. This is another great addition to an already good series.

There are two story arches going on at once here. One following the protagonists, and the other following the antagonists. The separation of story helps create a care for not only the “good guys” but also the “bad guys.” You are allowed to peek into the window of both sets of characters lives and what is happening, thus seeing both the qualities and personalties of both sides. For instance, we know that Azuma has betrayed her sisters? But why? What are her reasons? Does she feel bad about it? The manga leads us to believe she does feel some remorse, but knows there’s no turning back. If we were only following one side, we might not see the complexities of the other characters, which to me really enhances the story. At this point, I’m kinda rooting for both sides.

Well, maybe not King Otarashi, but at least his son and some of the Generals.

I also like how this allows us to see the common enemy that all characters share–even Kumaso (who for intensive purposes is a bad guy as of now:)

  • The Sword of Kusanagi
  • Greed for power
  • Violence and the sorrow it brings
  • The characters own inner demons.

These are things we as the reader can connect with and understand–comparing to things in our own life.

Well, all that except for the sword…I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since I was possessed and/or had to fight a demon sword.

You get what I’m saying, though.

I like how there’s some problem solving thrown in here, too–the same riddle you see in volumes 1 and 2 has made its reappearance here. The riddle is neat because of the many different interpretations it has. The answer the characters come to see was wrong–or at least wrong in the sense that it brought forth and unspeakable evil. This helps demonstrate that the characters are realistic, they are not infallible. But it also gives us some insight into how the characters problem solve or reach their conclusions. This is further expanded upon in volume 3, only this time, Izumo seems to get it right.

The different interpretations of the riddle made me question something about the swords. If they could both be discovered using the same riddle, then are the two connected in some way? They are both born of trees–gods–and both have the power to challenge one another. What is there origin? How are they related? Are they like Yin and Yang, or was one created specifically to oppose the other?

So many questions! Maybe I’ll get the answers in the final volume. All these questions spurred from one simple riddle. I love it! Plus, it’s reminiscent of The Hobbit and Oedipus Rex.

I’m really excited, if I haven’t said that enough. I’ve really enjoyed this manga so far, and I’m sure the last volume won’t disappoint!

Conclusion:

I know that most of the manga I have reviewed so far have been “recommended.” But you may have noticed I “highly recommend” this one. It really deserves it. I really think this series is excellent. Well planned, well written, well illustrated. Simply fantastic! If you like this genre, you’ll most likely enjoy Takeru!

Takeru: Opera Susanoh/Sword of the Devil, Volume 3-Highly Recommended!

Citations:

Nakashima, Kauzki. Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil. Illstr. Karakarakemuri. Trans. Steven Paul. Vol. 3. Hamburg: Tokyopop, 2009.

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