Tactics Vol. #08 (Mania.com)

By:Kate O'Neil
Review Date: Friday, May 07, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An unsatisfying conclusion to the current story arc as the cast returns to everyday business.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Sakura Kinoshita and Kazuko Higashiyama
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Lianne Sentar

What They Say
The last part of the Chimera arc comes to a close as Kantarou and Haruka battle Minamoto and Sakata. Haruka finally puts Kantarou's worries to rest as he announces his loyalty and friendship to Kantarou.

The Review!

The last part of the Chimera arc comes to a close as Kantarou and Haruka battle Minamoto and Sakata.  Haruka finally puts Kantarou’s worries to rest as he announces his loyalty and friendship to Kantarou, but Minamoto still has one nasty trick up his sleeve.  Events also take Kantarou one step closer to learning about Haruka’s mysterious past and the fate of his former master...
 
It had been over a year since Tokyopop released volume 7 of “Tactics,” and for a while during that hiatus nobody was certain it would continue to publish the story at all.  Tokyopop has recently been able to pull itself back to its feet, and Tactics Vol. 8 finally made it to print in English - great because volume 7 ended with a nasty cliffhanger.  Recalling most of what that  entailed may require a reread of the previous volume, as there’s no recap to bring the reader up to speed on what has been going on.  
 
Jumping right into the action, Kantarou faces off against Sakata.  While chanting incantations and striking at each other with swords they are interrupted, in turn, by Minamoto, who tries to make a deal with Kantarou, and Haruka, who jumps in for a last-minute save.  The brawl quickly becomes confusing with one team gaining the upper hand and then the situation quickly reversing.  The jump-cut quality of the action in the panels makes the fight extremely hard to follow, and everything ends suddenly with a burst of unpredictable and bloody violence.  The arc wraps up in a bittersweet manner, with the only real resolution acheived between Kantarou and Haruka.  The battle between Kantarou and Minamoto’s groups seems to have been a draw.  
 
The following seven chapters are mostly short tales of various supernatural creatures and myths featuring the main and supporting cast.  The first few are basically gag stories with bits of character humor.  Only the last two chapters have any greater depth to them.  One is about a youkai artist who is having trouble with his art, which turns out to be of caused by a youkai.  The last story is a flashback focusing on Ayame, of the Minamoto household, and her relationship with her brother.  
 
This volume was published post Tokyopop’s return to decent quality paper stock.  Unfortunately, my volume had some annoying gutter issues, where text was disappearing into the binding and making it hard to read.
 
In Summary
Was the long wait for volume 8 worth it?  The rushed conclusion to the Fuji Tales storyline misses the opportunity to answer some of the readers longstanding questions.  Infuriatingly so, since the blurb for volume 9 answers more questions than this volume does!  With the rest of this volume taken up by short stories with no bearing on the plot and lukewarm humor, “Tactics” loses much of the steam that drove the story.  While it’s nice to see the characters again, this volume of “Tactics” is just treading water.  
 
 




Mania Grade: D+
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translation Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 10.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-1427802002
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left