I hope that you all had a good weekend, and are getting ready to deal with the usual monotony, or still enjoying your break.
Things are still going fairly well here, and I am glad that I can still do something that I enjoy.
A while back, I had ordered some titles from Barnes & Noble that I was not expecting to come for a while, and I was kind of surprised to learn that one of the titles was shipped to me quicker than expected.
Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 6 by Kore Yamazaki.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
Christmas season has come, and an old face has contacted Chise for help with her own problems, even though Ainsworth might not have approved.
However, the peace of Christmas time is interrupted when a girl who is looking for her kid brother seeks bumps into Chise and asks for their help, which may test the relationship between the two even more.
I must say, I really enjoyed this book.
From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I have to satisfy the same needs that every other human must deal with.
While this does kind of go back and forth, like it does with Kei Sanbe and Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, which I have decided to revisit because Yen Press decided to release the manga where I live, where one volume is absolutely great and the next one is only impressive reading it quickly after the predecessor, Yamazaki has been able to deliver something much closer to what I expect to see from Jun Mochizuki.
If I had to say why, it is pretty much because Yamazaki tends to make her characters feel believable and realistic and seems to write in a way that really pulls me in, which the translators that Seven Seas has working on this series is capturing pretty well.
Comics may not need to create the same kind of imagery that prose fiction needs to, but the fact that it can deliver the rest of the things needed for a good story is something that readers want to see in general.
After all, if the things needed to create a good story were not present, would you want to continue reading that series or book? I sure would not, and many avid readers are probably going to agree with me on that point.
This is how I wish every book ever written were, as that would make reading much more enjoyable, and Yamazaki is able to deliver this quite well.
If she could not do this much, I would have had to drop her work, while expressing feelings similar to Kuwabara's outburst at Yusuke Urameshi's wake, but because she actually met my expectations, I actually feel like giving her a good round of applause. Nice job, Yamazaki, it is no wonder you have caught my eye as a good writer.
I also liked how Chise and Ainsworth both seem to be becoming a bit more human, or at least feel like more than just card board cut outs.
Now, Chise and Ainsworth never really seemed to come across as bland throughout the run of this series, but they both were introduced in a way that it was difficult for either one of them to express emotion, or even understand what they are feeling, with Ainsworth being hardly able to understand emotions.
In the case of this volume, Yamazaki remembers what kind of story she is trying to write and has both of them going through some development that will deepen the bond that the two of them have and it ends up making me wonder if the two of them will finally get married.
Then again, if they got married right now, things would be left unanswered and the marriage would have also felt like it was too quick, especially because they hardly got to know each other up to this point and she would be ignoring the advice she was given about doubting Ainsworth.
Fortunately, Yamazaki seems to understand the importance of building a relationship between two people before something as serious as marriage starts, which makes me want to continue giving her some more applause.
Another nice thing that I liked was how there were a few things to laugh about.
While the humorous moments found in this volume are not that different from what could be found in the other volumes, it was still nice to see how things were executed well enough that I could still get a good laugh.
As nice as it might be to focus completely on a story and get things done, readers do not necessarily want to be on the edge of their seats all of the time, because it ends up making the characters feel rather uninteresting, regardless of whether they are likable or not, which is one of the reason why John Grisham's The Whistler failed to impress me.
For the story, and likewise the series, to feel interesting, the everyday moments and the things important to the plot must remain interesting, and a few well-executed comedic moments really helps in that aspect.
Unfortunately, many writers, whether they create manga or prose works, seem to forget the importance of this fact, and things begin to grow a little stale after a while, much like how Detective Conan is not quite as funny as it used to be, which ends up really hurting the quality of the series.
Here, however, Yamazaki seems to still do a pretty good job at keeping the humorous moments alive, even after only six volumes, and remembers how much more enjoyable things are when there is something that can produce a chuckle, and that makes me want to give her a nice round of applause.
There were two things that I liked the most though.
First, I really liked how the volume talks about how powerful words can be.
Yes, we are all kind of aware of that fact, because our elders keep stressing the often-repeated words “if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all,” but we still end up hurting each other with our words and actions because we, as humans, will never truly learn from our mistakes, continuing the cycle of greed and apathy forever and ever.
Not only does such a saying not help us realize the truth power of words, but it also does not help us improve because we cannot tell what we got right and what we got wrong, and trying to follow that saying to a T would mean that reviews would not exist.
Here, however, there is an even better example why words can be so powerful, in that an entity named Ashen Eye rebukes the girl who desperately wants to find her brother saying:
It's far too late for that now. Words are sound given soul, and written letters embody fragments of spirit. Once another being has heard and felt them, they cannot be taken back. In particular, foolish words uttered thoughtlessly are so light that they may easily be twisted into a curse. There's no telling what may hear those words…and take them to heart. Reflect on how fortunate it is…that you did wish for his death.
This was quite powerful, even though it is talking about creatures that only exist in the universe of this series, because it reminds us that people will react over what we say, whether they might be mad about their precious work of art or writing being up to snuff or feel hurt over words we said because we are concerned about the individual, and is a big reason why I hate it when I have to rip any writer or a new one, without letting them know what they got right.
Of course, in the context of the book itself, it has an even more powerful feel, because the girl wrote it off as just another argument between siblings, and her little brother went missing because of those words, which she needed to be reminded of before she could even get her brother back.
Sometimes, I wish people would recognize the truth of these words mentioned in these moments, because that would lead us all to being better people.
However, as Tanya Degurechaff brought up in Saga of Tanya the Evil, people are not really rational to begin with because we will all act more on our emotions in certain situations, instead of taking the time to look things over, and that will only help to continue to keep humans from being able to reach the utopia that they dream to establish, unless a miracle happens and we suddenly do not make the same mistakes over and over, even in different manners than how it occurred in the past.
Still, the fact that Kore Yamazaki included a moment that showed how powerful words can be is quite impressive, and makes me want to give her good round of applause.
The other thing that really caught my eye was how this volume ended.
While the volume seemed to come across as yet another look into the daily life of Chise and Ainsworth, which is something that is important in a romance story, it did not end in that way because the children who the two helped ended up becoming targets of what may be either a new foe or a foe that will be reintroduced, and it has me really excited to read the next volume right now.
Unfortunately for me, I still have to wait for my copy of the next volume to arrive, because the product page on Amazon says it will not be released until July, so I guess I have to wait a few more days before I can read it, though it is at least better than having to wait for months until all titles I ordered arrive.
Still, that does not change the fact that Mag Garden had chosen some good people to put this volume together because they seem to know how to end a book in a series the right way.
To get the reader interested in coming back for more, the cliffhangers must be at the right moment, and while that moment cannot be determined easily for this series, seeing as Japan has 7 volumes, according to the series page on Baka-Updates Manga, and Seven Seas will be releasing the 7th volume soon, things seem to be much more impressive here than what was seen in Secret Volume 1, which did not end well because of a horrible cliffhanger.
If the people Mag Garden had put together this volume did not end it at the moment that they did, I do not think that I would have liked it as much as I do, and I would have written this series off, even though Kore Yamazaki seems to be just as good at writing stories as Jun Mochizuki. After all, not all problems found in books are because of the writer themselves, and both publishers and writers want to please their fans.
Fortunately, they seem to have quite a capable staff over there in Japan, and it makes me want to give them some applause for a job well done.
If they can keep this up, and Seven Seas can keep up their consistently in how good their releases are, I have no doubt that this would become one of the highest quality series out there, even if the series itself does not end well, which I cannot tell because the scanlations are not too far ahead of Seven Seas Entertainment's releases and probably not worth following, and will make glad that I support both companies.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand on its own.
Because the my attention was captured and held throughout the duration of the book, even though it has been quite a while since I read the previous volume, as the series still has a lot of what is needed to create a good story, Chise and Ainsworth are continuing to develop, as expected from the kind of story this is, and that the series ended well and illustrated why we need to be careful of what we say, this book was one of the best that I have read so far.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really bothered me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was quite a bit to like, and not too much to hate, this was definitely worth reading.
I recommend this to fans of Kore Yamazaki, The Ancient Magus Bride, and romance, because they will be able to enjoy this the most.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but it might be best to read the previous volumes first to be able to really enjoy this.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed title and the other volumes in the series from Amazon, so that I can continue following this series and find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and doing whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.
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