Plenty of conflict and no threat. When your party is so overpowered that the journey seems more like a vacation than an adventure, the biggest challenge is keeping the reader awake.
Writer/Artist: Yun Kouga
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Christine Schilling
What They Say
Olivier, priest of the Vasariah Order, is just not himself, so Ouri summons an incubus to draw out the seed of Olivier's black mood. Later, the "game" between Ouri and her siblings becomes clearer as they all make their way toward G and the great treasure that awaits the winner. Ouri, however, is playing with a few interesting handicaps - but that won't slow their progress toward G, even if Ouri and Olivier's enemies aren't about to give them a break!
Picking up where volume one left off, Olivier is being held hostage by Ouri's sister, Takera, and a darker part of himself. The situation resolves quickly '" perhaps too quickly '" with the arrival of Ouri. Takera pays her sister off, bows out and flees, while the party continues on its journey. No pause is taken to consider the exact nature of Olivier's darker side; that plot point is put aside for another time.
A brief flashback shows the beginning of Ouri's involvement in this sibling rivalry game, and the handicaps that she, or in this case, he had to endure along the way. The change doesn't seem to have bothered Ouri and, amusingly, it doesn't bother Ouri's traveling companions either. Not that any of Ouri's handicaps are proving much of a challenge; she just steamrolls through her brothers and sisters with a few high-level spells.
The main story of this volume takes place in the kingdom of Arima, Shazan's home turf. It just happens that Ouri's next challenger, sister Sae, is in the same town. Sae is determined to have a bodyguard fight on her behalf in a tournament to win a rare gold coin. Ouri's party needs that coin in order to cross the ocean to the Land of G, something they only realize after having spent one they received by accident. It's here that Shazan's back story is briefly told and his real skill as a warrior and not a fortune teller is unveiled.
Before volume two finishes, Suzu finds herself facing her sisters, both assassins, while the group rests at a hot spring resort. Yes, this is the requisite fan service chapter, even though Ouri usually dresses in skimpy attire anyway. They've been hired by Ouri's brother, Soushi, as his next move in their game. This leads to a confrontation in bathing suits, away from the boys on the other side of the resort.
This volume is regularly broken up by side chapters which must have been filler during the original run of the series. They focus on real world holidays and are nothing more than momentary breaks in the already uneven story. In one of the filler chapters, the author even apologizes for the mess and pleads with the readers to stick with her. Not a good sign. It would have been a better idea to have pulled them from between chapters and present them at the end of the book along with the extra artwork and the author's note.
Volume two falls off the rails as it jumps from one confusing battle to the next. The story seems to have developed Attention Deficit Disorder and can't stay focused on any conflict for long without jumping into a flashback or side story. The artwork suffers from the same problem. Ouri is drawn with so many style variations that I can't tell which panels are off model and which aren't. It's really odd since volume one seemed far more consistent. I hope volume three evens out the action and answers some questions, otherwise, this could become a very tiring series.