Her Majesty's Dog reaches an ending that doesn't feel quite right for it.
Writer/Artist: Mick Takeuchi
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Mallory Reaves
What They Say
Distraught by losing Hyoue, Amane still manages to pull herself back together with the help of her friends. Aid from an unexpected source gives her the determination she needs to return to the island and confront her fears... but how can she face Hyoue when he doesn't even remember her name?
The tenth volume of Her Majesty's Dog left me in a quandary - I wasn't sure what to make of the direction the story was taking. Sure, it was exciting; but it didn't harmonize with the rest of the series. I couldn't tell whether the final arc would tie everything in the series together or just try to go out with the biggest bang it could muster. After reading the last volume, I find myself wondering if it really did either.
But I may be making it sound worse than it is. The last book isn't bad in the usual ways. It isn't even bad in the way the series was bad at the beginning, or at certain points along the way. It isn't sloppy or amateurish; the plotting is unusually thick, I have to say, and wasn't easy to follow, but the main points got across clearly and the developments interested me. The story is well thought out (with one large exception I'll get to in a minute) and decently executed. It's got some good emotional moments of the kind this series tends to do well. But somehow it doesn't work the way it's meant to.
I've tried to think of why this is and I've been able to come up with a couple of reasons. The first one is that Takeuchi tries to be a little too clever; or perhaps, clever too often. It's fun to have the rug pulled out from under you - once. Have it pulled out from under you three times and you flinch and shy away. On top of all the big changes in book ten it's just too much of a good thing. The second problem is simpler and much worse. Hyoue isn't given a dang thing to do the entire time. You just can't have a good volume of Her Majesty's Dog on those terms - not after what we and the lead characters have been through for so long. If that's wrong, nothing else can really be right.
Her Majesty's Dog has been a series with a lot of ups and downs, both in the stories it tells and the quality of the stories. It's a shame it had to end on one of the downs. The volume isn't exactly bad; but it isn't the right ending for the story and leaves you wanting more. I can look past that a little since this is the artist's first longish series and wasn't even supposed to be as long as it is to begin with. But after the anticipation set by the previous volume, I can't help but be disappointed at being presented with one of the weakest volumes in the second half of the run. A good ending could have raised the series to the "good" level. As things stand, it'll have to settle for "above average." But that's not bad for a first attempt.