Balancing a normal existence and an unbreakable pact with a divine being is anything but easy. Much to his chagrin, Keita is discovering this the hard way. Try as he might to distance himself from recent events, Keita can’t shake Kuro, the mototsumitama who saved his life. But when the stakes get higher and another human-mototsumitama pair comes looking for a fight-one with Keita’s childhood friend, Akane, as the prize-Keita is forced to reevaluate his attitude and stand by both his old and new friends. Who will emerge victorious?
Several different plot lines pick up in this volume. Keita and Kuro starting training, beginning with Kuro, and growing to include Keita working with her. Keita’s game coding start to take off with a company showing an interest in both the game and Keita’s skills, and the group that is searching for the doppeliners continues to reduce the thirds down to the root. I get the feeling that these three plot lines are related, but it’s hard to tell how.
Most of this volume is again dedicated to one fight, again. Kuro, while “training” with Keita (ie, he sends her to go buy him a video game), meets another mototsumitama, Mikami. She is more experienced in the human world than Kuro, and is supporting her partner by taking on various underworld jobs such as assassinations and kidnapping. Their meeting is by chance, and they part on friendly terms. But when Mikami takes the job of kidnapping Akane, they must become adversaries. We do learn more about the human/mototsumitama pact and what it entails during the fight, and Kuro gains a new power, Exceed.
But these new elements just aren’t enough to balance against this title’s biggest problem; the characters. Keita, the lead, is unpleasant and really an all around jerk. He treats Kuro like a dog, almost literally with the collar around her neck and is both physically and verbally abusive to her. And Kuro acts like one, meekly accepting Keita’s treatment because he took her in and feeds her. She just too naive, and sometimes sounds like an abused wife defending her abusive husband, and that I just can’t abide. It’s really hard for me to stay interested in a story when I couldn’t care less about the people in it.
And it’s such a shame too, as I’m really intrigued by the whole plotline with the doppeliners, and would like to find out where it’s all leading to. We are once again treated to just short scenes, with the same characters as the first volume, but still no explanation for who these people are or why they’re doing this. These tantilizing hints keep this mystery intriguing, but also heart breaking. The final chapters of this volume involves taking out another doppeliner, but in a most unexpected and shocking way. In a way, it was the best part of the volume.
I had hope for this series, but this second volume doesn’t give as much as I was looking for. The action and the building drama around the doppeliners remains good, but it just isn’t enough to hold me through the problems of the characters. I just can’t find anything about them to like. There are other elements about the series that turn me off, such as the fan service with Kuro, and the vulgar language, though admittedly, the latter wasn’t as bad in this volume. But I just can’t see myself wading through all these problems just to get to a few shining moments of plot that may or may not pay off.
Review copy provided by publisher.