Writer/Artist: Mick Takeuchi
Translated by: Christine Schilling
Adapted by: Mallory Reaves
What They Say
At least one Kamori family enemy has been revealed, but Amane's and Hyoue's troubles are far from over. Forces from all sides are closing in on our heroes, determined to drive a wedge of doubt and distrust between them. Is their bond strong enough to keep them together?
The previous volume of Her Majesty's Dog felt a little padded, and the first chapter of this one is pretty ho-hum as well, though for different reasons. A murder with the hero as the main suspect didn't feel quite right to me. After all, a Hitchcock-like mistaken identity plot isn't really the kind of thing this series is about, even given the setting. But I needn't have been worried. After this odd and ineffective first chapter is over, Her Majesty's Dog gets back to its true core: the relationship of "dog" and master.
The twist this time is that the two leads spend almost the entire book apart. Even when they are reunited at the end of the book they only have a couple of scenes together. But the volume clicks because Takeuchi manages to move the relationship forward in spite of the separation, by giving the characters time to themselves to evaluate where they are, how they came to be there, and what their feelings are really made of. A few bursts of comic relief notwithstanding, the tone is moody and reflective; the involved parties have to face their doubts and deal with them, and do a little remembering and ruminating while they're at it. A lot of time is spent walking around in the rain. This is where the art really steps up to the plate. There are some scenes where the rain is almost palpable, though it's never done in an overbearing way. It doesn't sound all that impressive in description, but I was absorbed the whole time. You won't find a lot of volumes that sustain a single mood as long as this one. It's a notable improvement from the birthday parties and other fluff we got last time around.
Another strong point is that the supporting cast is allowed to pitch in and share some of the spotlight while giving insight and a fresh perspective to the main relationship. Anyone who's tired of adults being clueless goofballs in manga will find this a nice antidote. Amane's uncle in particular has a great scene. He not only cheers her up and lightens the mood, but gives her a word in season as someone who knows a little more about relationships, and life in general, than she does. It may not be anything you haven't heard before - in fact, it may not be anything Amane hasn't heard before. But sometimes that's the way things are. Sometimes even when you already know what's right, you need to hear it from someone else; particularly if that someone has a little more experience than you do.
But after the soul-searching and wise words are finished, it looks like Her Majesty's Dog is ready to get back to the main story. Fans who were disappointed with the last go-around will be pleased. And if the next volume manages to be as good as this one, so will I.