Demon Prince of Momochi House Vols. 5 and 6

As I was trying to get caught up on this series one of the things that struck me about Demon Prince of Momochi House is that Aya Shouoto has developed a unique sensibility for the series. It manages to blend warm heartfelt moments about a found family (even if that family is a house of beautiful spirits) with moments of unsettling menace and a general lingering sense of unease due to the fact that as the human in Momochi house, a wrong decision by Himari might have profound consequences. The tension between these two themes is part of what makes reading this series so rewarding.

Demon Prince of Momochi House Volume 5 by Aya Shouoto

One of the things I appreciate about manga series with an expanded cast of characters is the chance to delve into the motivations and feelings of characters who aren’t as central to the main story. This volume opens with a story centering on Yukari. The house is sweltering, but he seems to be unaffected. Yukari reveals that he used to be human, but this revelation isn’t followed up on very much as the gang decide to travel somewhere to escape the horrible weather. They visit a spring from Yukari’s past where the dragon god Ryujin used to be a guardian. There’s something wrong with the water though, and Yukari wonders if if it might be an indication of trouble for Ryujin. Himari is quick to jump in and offer to help. They call the god Ryujin and he takes Himari away. Aoi in his spiritual form as the Nue goes after her immediately. In the end, Yukari and Ryujin renew their connection and the found family in Momochi House feels as though it has expanded once again.

One thing I was intrigued by was the continuing presence of Aoi’s old childhood friend Hayato. His memories of the supernatural and Aoi were erased, but he continues to be a bit of a melancholy presence at school, and he does represent a possible friend for Yukari who isn’t tied to the supernatural world. He and Yukari get thrown together at school, but she ends up openly talking about her feelings with Aoi, and he denies thinking of her romantically.

Demon Prince of Momochi House Volume 6 by Aya Shouoto

The next volume finds Yukari and Aoi dealing with the aftermath of her confession. She wakes up in the morning to a teenage girl’s worst nightmare as everyone at Momochi house knows that her feelings have been rejected. They start throwing a party to commemorate her rejection. Even school isn’t a refuge, as Hayato guesses what’s wrong and starts patting Yukari on the head in commiseration. There’s some distraction in the form of a new teacher, who looks suspiciously like Aoi, and who happens to have a mysterious mirror that sends Yukari into a dream of a mirror dimension comprised of her own thought projections and feelings.

Back at Momochi house, Aoi is distracted and Ayakashi are starting to pop up from all over. A giant malicious cat spirit who seems to be a bit emotionally fixated on Aoi moves in temporarily and sets up a number of tests designed to torment Yukari, except she sails through them with her usual good cheer and indefatigable work ethic.

While at times this manga seems like a series of short episodes, at the end of each volume the relationships between the characters have shifted, sometimes in a dramatic fashion and sometimes in more subtle ways. The mysterious ties of Aoi to Momochi house continue to make the reader feel uneasy for the young couple and intrigued to see their next adventures.

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