Title: “Loveless: Volume 10”
Author: Kouga Yun
Genre: YA/NA, fantasy, paranormal romance, AWESOME, manga & comics, GLBT, tough stuff
Publication Date: January 8, 2013 (Viz – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: When his beloved older brother is brutally murdered, Ritsuka is heartbroken but determined to search for answers. His only lead is Soubi, a mysterious, handsome college student who offers him an intimate link to his brother’s other life: a dark and vibrant world of spell battles and secret names. Will Ritsuka’s relationship with Soubi ultimately lead to the truth or further down the rabbit hole than he imagined possible?
Still reeling from his brother’s dramatic return, Ritsuka goes back to school in search of something normal. He’s joined by the Zero unit of Natsuo and Youji, who transfer in to keep an eye on him. But even their protection won’t be enough when a new unit named Moonless approaches Ritsuka with a dangerous and seductive proposal…
☆: 4/5 stars – another great volume in the series!
Review: Those looking for a lot of action in this volume of “Loveless”, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s only one fight, and we don’t really get to see it (more on that later), just a lot of talking and internal developments. This one’s a quieter, more sinister volume compared to some of the past volumes in the “Loveless” series, but it still has that full-bodied impact that only Kouga knows how to bring with her storytelling.
So in this volume, we meet the newest unit, Moonless, which come to Ritsuka and Soubi with a proposal to try to lure them to their (and possibly Seimei’s) side. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and as an extra bit of filler, we have a crossover with Gundam 00 (Kouga did the character designs for that series so it makes sense) to round out the entire volume. We also get some big reveals (Kio has a kid that looks his age – what?), and the return of everyone’s favorite jerks, the Zero unit. I missed them, so I’m glad they’re back. The transfer school scene was possibly my favorite in the book, and we desperately needed some comedy relief here as we get into some dark subjects kind of explicitly (when do we not in this series? – but you get the point) in this volume.
What perhaps is the most gratifying part of this volume? It’s Ritsuka finally sitting down with Soubi and talking about Seimei, and his extremely unhealthy, abusive, and co-dependent relationship with him – though the abusive bit is more Seimei and co-dependent is more on Ritsuka’s end, and all of this gets talked about with refreshing honesty. I will admit it’s a bit frustrating that it’s taken 10 volumes for us to get to this point (especially considering Ritsuka’s other not-so-healthy relationships also happening at the same time), but this is a major bit of character development, and I’m so glad it finally happened. I was kind of hoping for a longer conversation, but what I got was more than satisfactory.
What was a bit frustrating was the relegation of Ritsuka and Seimei’s mother back into 1D abusive mommy mode, where before she had enough development and background to show why she was so abusive, but it feels so much of it was kind of undone here if just to show why Ritsuka’s still pretty depressed. I kind of wanted to smack Kouga for that because I could see no clear reason for that happening other than just to make us see that things are still terrible at home for Ritsuka. It felt lazy, and I really hate it when my authors/mangaka do that.
Otherwise, I’m interested in seeing where this whole thing with Moonless is going, and how Seimei is involved with pulling their strings as well. It would be nice to see the whole “Seimei is a jerkface” thing resolved sometime soon to get to see who’s pulling his strings instead, but for now, I’ll settle for what we have.
But that’s just how I feel about it. “Loveless: Volume 10” is out now through Viz in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!