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November 16, 2012

Bento Bako Bonus: Jiu Jiu volume 2

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Written by: Kristin
Tags: , , , ,

Title: Jiu Jiu
Author: Touya Tobina
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 2 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2010 by Hakusensha, October 2012 by Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural, comedy

[Volume 1 review.]

Takamichi is still hunting demons with her jiu jiu Night and Snow, who still insist on accompanying her to school in human form. The heat of summer is driving them crazy, and Takamichi finds herself sleeping alone for the first time in a while as the pups try to cope with the heat. Preoccupied with trying to stay cool, Snow and Night fail to realize how lonely their seemingly simple actions are making Takamichi feel. They’re growing up so quickly, and Takamichi is starting to realize just how much they mean to her, and wonders if it’s too late to show it. When they come across a tiny vampire prince named Meru who claims to be lost, Takamichi’s maternal instincts kick in and she attempts to make up for the time she wasted as Night and Snow grew up by caring for Meru. Unfortunately, Meru desperately wants to suck Takamichi’s blood, which obviously leaves Snow and Night less than thrilled. Although Meru’s plan is to manipulate Takamichi into dropping her guard so he can drain her dry, he is moved by how close she is to her jiu jiu, and how much she cares for them. In essence, he falls in love. He does eventually get his blood in order to protect his new friends, which transforms him into his true form – a handsome seventeen-year-old. Having gotten what he came for, Meru promises never to return (which doesn’t last long at all, as he eventually returns for more of Takamichi’s blood and becomes a student at her high school). Summer break arrives, and several of Takamichi’s classmates decide to go to a beach house together. Takamichi had hoped that she could have fun with Snow and Night, but things take a turn when it becomes clear a vengeful spirit is haunting the house. The ghost turns out to be a selkie named Lily, bound to the house and its former mistress, now dead. To calm the spirit, Takamichi buys the house and becomes Lily’s new mistress. Back at home, Meru starts stirring up trouble by challenging Snow and Night to behave like the grown men they pretend to be. This upsets Takamichi, who is worried they’re growing up far too fast and wants them to stay innocent as long as possible. She’s also feeling left behind, because she feels stagnate. Ever since the death of her twin, she feels as though she can’t grow up, because a piece of her is missing. Which is a problem, now that she’s old enough to start participating as the next head of the family.

Well, this volume is a little bit better than the previous, but not by much. I said before that the series was sloppy and flowed badly, and that remains unchanged. I also said that the relationship between Takamichi and her jiu jiu, specifically how they climb into her bed half naked (or totally naked), was disconcerting, and while there’s less of that going on in this volume (by necessity mostly, because they go on a trip with classmates, and then Meru keeps getting in the way), it’s still a little weird. Manga uses the illusion of age a lot to get away with things. Like how Moon Phase was able to have a girl who looked 12-years-old be in a relationship with an adult male because she was really a 100-something-year-old vampire. Yeah, it’s still creepy, sorry. Apart from that, this series is still just missing the mark. It has its moments – Snow and Night are quite adorable regardless of all that other stuff – and the addition of Meru makes things more interesting. He pushes the pups to define themselves and their relationship with Takamichi, though that’s not exactly his plan. He’d rather tear them apart and be with her himself. My fear that Takamichi’s development was wrapped up in a nice box and put on a shelf in the first volume were put to rest here. She’s not done growing, she’s still not over the death of her brother, and she still doesn’t quite know how to handle being Night and Snow’s mistress. Another thing I was worried about was the distinction between Night and Snow in regards to their different personalities, which seemed to blend too much together in the first volume. Snow is starting to show himself as the more aggressive of the pair, the one always on the attack, while Night tends to hang back and protect Takamichi or move her out of harm’s way. Their individual roles are developing more, which is nice to see. I still can’t say this is a must read title in any way, but you could do worse. After all, it’s not that it’s a bad title, it’s just not a great one.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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