Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Masanori * Ookamigumi * Katakura
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Advanced)
MSRP: $7.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Love as a weapon.
Determined to resurrect the man she loves, Kurohime has been through a lot on her quest to free the four Spirit Kings in order to release the Goddess Yamatohime that promised her beloved Zero will rise again. With the continued aid of the Fire Spirit named Asura, a young human named Kazuma Tokugawa (who is in love with Kurohime) and the mysterious yet cute critter Onimaru … Kurohime has traveled far and made many enemies along the way. In Volume 9, however, her reasons for taking on this epic quest will be questioned when her nemesis manages to pull off the ultimate payback.
Journeying to the snowy tundra of Ooore or – as it’s more commonly known – the Great Terror Mountain, the trio head straight for the mountaintop despite the rumors that a Goddess name Yuki Onna lives there. The legend has it that a Goddess of enormous beauty lingers about in the snow and that is enough reason for men to make the journey in hopes of stealing her heart. The fact that no man that ever went up there returns means the Goddess is either dangerous or really likes men.
When the group does arrive to the top of the mountain, the rumors of Yuki Onna’s beauty are all true. She’s not only lovely but she’s also deadly and determined to make all men love her. Scattered throughout her domain are men that had ventured out in hopes of encountering her but they’ve been turned into frozen statues. Knowing full well why Kurohime is here, she fights them off with the aid of what looks like an abominable snowman. Fortunately for Kurohime and Asura, the snowman named Yuki Otoko is actually quite friendly and in love with the Goddess. He decides to aid them seeing as the Goddess had turned Kazuma into an ice sculpture just like the hundreds of other men that had come looking for her.
Kurohime does see a lot of herself in the Goddess Yuki Onna and even more so in the snowman that had been friends with the Goddess since they were children. The battle, however, turns one-sided when Yuki Otoko decides to fight against Kurohime in the name of love even though the Goddess refuses to see that the snowman is willing to die for her. At the height of their battle, however, it dawns on the witch-gunslinger that she has very few precious pedals from her heart flower left. If she lost anymore of them her cherished memories of Zero will fade away.
Oh, but a touching end to the fight does light up the dark tone of this volume when both Yuki’s realize that true love was right in front of them all this time. It’s just too bad that this happy moment is interrupted by Yashahime who finally manages to get her revenge by introducing Kurohime to Dark Zero … Yashahime’s new lover and Lord Darkray’s replacement as a Death Angel. How can Kurohime even raise her witch gun against the man she loves?
To Kurohime’s horror, Dark Zero is the one that starts plucking the final pedals of her heart flower and he even attacks her friends. It seems that Yashahime’s plan to destroy Kurohime by destroying all that she fought for is working but even through the heartbreaking encounter with Zero one of the four Spirit King’s realizes that Kurohime’s quest is worth aiding and he does just that.
I won’t go any further and reveal the events that unfold during Kurohime’s reunion with her love and I won’t get into the details of who this Dark Zero really is and why he’s turning against Hime. What I will reveal is that nothing will be the same again after this volume and not even Kurohime’s more youthful “weaker” form has changed as a result of this encounter. What is clear is that Hime’s priorities might have changed but she’s still one of the more amazing and strongest heroes out there.
Volume 9 starts off well enough and reaches a dark moment for our favorite witch-gunslinger. In other words, this is the volume we’ve been waiting for since the first volume and it does not disappoint in the very least. Things will be different after this volume but we’re happy that the direction this series is going is a direction we will happily follow.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Kurohime and her friends encounter a girl that is a lot like Hime and thus making their encounter a personal one for the witch-gunslinger. After the battle, however, Yashahime finds them and the powerful High God hurts Kurohime where it really counts … her heart.
The art is consistently great and this series is ready to reach its tenth volume. I’m actually going to miss Kurohime’s “younger” form but the boys in our yard aren’t complaining about her new appearance.
What should have ended in heartbreak ends with renewed strength and a new reason for our girl to continue on her quest. Volume 9 of Kurohime drops a major bomb that detonates in a most deliciously action-packed and dramatic way that makes this one of the series’ deepest volumes yet. If you’re not already hooked on the series then you will be with this one.