Demon Sacred #4, Shinobi Life #7, and Karakuri Odette #6

Ah, the last volumes of series published by Tokyopop. I can’t help but feel wistful when I think about not being able to read the end of these series. And since a decent number of volumes for both of these were published, I can’t imagine another company would pick up the licenses. Fortunately after feeling mournful about Demon Sacred and Shinobi Life, I was able to read the concluding volume of the ever delightful Karakuri Odette.

Demon Sacred #4

After the first few volumes of non-stop insanity with all the demons manifesting on earth as pop idol duplicates and reverse aging syndrome, the fourth volume is a little bit more settled. It felt to me like Itsuki was digging in a bit with her typical slow world building. One revelation I found interesting was that the immortal demons are attracted to humans due to their mortality. If a human ever truely loves a demon, the demon may finally receive the gift of a revered type of death. Shinobu’s evil sister Zophie manages to coax her way into his apartment by bribing K2 with pastries, and as soon as she gets a glimpse of the demon she decides to use her cougar wiles on him. Mona is less than thrilled about her demon running off with an older woman. Rina is dealing with the emotional effects of her reverse aging. Shinobu’s family and the government are introducing an anti-demon military and propaganda campaign and they’ve decided to approach Keito to act as their celebrity spokesperson. I love the way Itsuki manages to construct a story out of the most improbably elements but still manage to make everything happening seem believable and natural. With so many volumes left in this series, I’m really curious about where the story would have gone.

Shinobi Life #7

It seems like with every volume of this series there’s a surprising character revelation. Beni is trapped in the past with a younger version of Kegetora, while Kagetora travels to a time in Beni’s past when she is a little girl and her mother is alive. Beni is navigating through all the treachery and suspicion that surrounds Kagetora’s ninja clan, struggling with her feelings for a teenage Kagetora who hasn’t turned into the man she loves yet. Kagetora gets to observe a young Beni’s interactions with her mother, and he makes the discovery that Beni’s father is a time traveler as well. Beni’s mother describes what happens when travelers meet themselves, and Kagetora is determined to keep jumping through time until he finds her again. This was another great volume of Shinobi Life, and I’m sorry that I won’t be able to read the rest of the series.

Karakuri Odette #6

The final volume of this series has one of those open-ended conclusions that I sometimes find annoying, but Karakuri Odette has always been so episodic it didn’t bother me that no big plots were wrapped up at the end. Odette’s robot girl uniqueness is explored further when the sibling robots of rival creator Dr Owen cause further complications in her life. Travis has decided that Odette should be his robot bride. Even though Grace has a lower level of artificial intelligence, she’s jealous of Odette. Owen sees that Odette is superior to his own creations and is determined to grab her so he can find out how she became so advanced. Owen’s strategies to capture Odette result in horrible failure. He underestimates the capabilities of his own robots to decide on their own actions. He approaches Odette himself with a “Hey little girl” type line that she immediately sees through. Finally, he tries to get Odette’s human best friend Asao to deliver Odette to him, with disastrous results. Odette is working through the idea that she might not have a companion for life. Asao is moving on and graduating, and as much has he professes not to care for the robot girl, he still appears to help her whenever she’s in trouble. Chris just lurks in the background being silently supportive and Travis isn’t suitable for a number of reasons. Odette’s final lesson in her journey to becoming human is understanding the nature of change. As the school year ends, all the characters seem to be capable of moving on in their own ways.

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