I am looking forward to the end of this series in an odd sort of way. The next volume will be the last and I’m looking forward to being able to reread the entire series in a couple sittings. There was quite the gap in publication between volumes, so I’m curious to see how the story plays out when I’m not waiting around for four years or so between volumes 9 and 10. Yuu Watase says in her author notes that her series tend to pick up towards the conclusion, and this is definitely true for this volume as Uruki confronts his family legacy, Teg and Urumiya deal with their celestial warrior destiny and the heroine Takiko continues to cough up blood while working bravely to save the country of Bei-Ja. There’s a good balance in the story as it presents plenty of emotional character arcs and action with a general feeling of impending tragedy.
Overall after reading this volume I was struck by how much self-sacrifice is a theme and how this contrasts with the somewhat lighter tone of the original series. Takiko’s devotion to her role as Priestess of Genbu is absolute, but her romance with Uruki does get a bittersweet type of resolution at the close of this volume. One of the things I’m going to miss about this series is the art. Watase’s distinct character designs never leave me confused about what’s going on, even with an extended cast and many subplots happening towards the end of the series. The action scenes are dynamic, and the costumes and setting are detailed enough to make me invested in the World of the Four Gods. I’m looking forward to the last volume, but I’m going to have a box of kleenex ready when I read it!