Manga Village

Black Bird Volume 13

August 22, 2012

Sho’s plans to plunge the world into chaos continue as he targets the Eight Daitengu, hoping to strip his brother Kyo of all his protectors. And now Sho has Hoki, whose secret past makes him easy prey. Can Hoki stand up to Sho, or will his efforts to aid Kyo backfire?

By Kanoko Sakurakouji
Publisher: Viz Media – Shojo Beat
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $9.99

Angst oozes from every page of this volume of Black Bird from Hoki feeling worthless to Kyo, to Misao and Sho competing to get the angstiest panel in their scenes. I don’t mind some angst, and readily expect it from this series, but it was just non-stop, and dragged the whole volume down because of it.

I really didn’t like this volume of Black Bird. There isn’t anything wrong with it perse, it was just a monotonous read. Every other page was someone feeling sorry for themself, or worrying they aren’t good enough for the person they care for. While I’m used to that from Misao, it’s pretty much what her whole character is built on, having it compounded by Hoki and then unexpectedly from Sho just became too much. It really got bad at the end, with Sho practically begging Misao to stay with him so he wouldn’t be alone, and Misao feeling she betrayed Kyo by saving Sho instead of just letting him die. I was just bored by the end, so the big cliff hanger at the end of the volume didn’t have the same impact as it could have.

I’m also getting really tired of the whole “You don’t know how the Senka Roku ends?” This little tidbit has been dangling in front of Kyo and Misao, and the reader since volume 3 or 4. It was fine back then. It was fine in volume 8. By Volume 13, it has become tedious. It is used as a way to try to separate Kyo and Misao. I was curious at first, but now, I really don’t care what happens to the Senka Maiden at the end. Misao muses that she may never know. If that’s the case, just drop it. That bait has gotten too old.

The angst that made Black Bird a guilty pleasure is starting to back fire. It’s too much and getting too old. I used to be able to find at least some part of the volumes to like, but not in this one. The closest I can get is Kyo telling his clan that he hasn’t done anything for them lately. It’s all about him and his being with Kyo, and the thing I like about that is that at least he’s being honest. And honestly, I can’t recommend this volume to anyone.

Review copy provided by publisher.

About the author

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

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