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June 15, 2011

Bento Bako Lite: Kurozakuro vol 4

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Kurozakuro
Author: Yoshinori Natsume
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Sunday)
Volume: Volume 4 (of 7), $9.99
Vintage: May 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural, adventure

[Volume 3 review.]

When we last saw Mikito, he had transformed into his ogre form to protect his friends from the powerful being Suguri. As Mikito and Suguri unleash more and more power in their battle, the wards on Zakuro begin to weaken. Eventually, Mikito’s power and passions surge enough, combined with the immense power emanating from Suguri, to allow Zakuro to take over his body. With startling ease, Zakuro dispatches Suguri and returns Mikito’s body to him. Gogyo, amazed at the power he witnessed, and even more amazed at how Mikito seems to have forgotten everything that just happened, takes Mikito and Kugai to an acquaintance’s house to recuperate. Gogyo’s friend, Suo, is an excellent healer and his skills speed up their recovery. Of course, so do the alterations on Gogyo’s body, which help him heal far faster than the unaltered Kugai. However, there is evidence that Gogyo may be having trouble keeping the incredible power inside of him under control. As they’re hiding out, a group of special Hunters arrives, called there by Gogyo to observe Mikito. The six Hunters are members of the elite White Claw who, along with Gogyo, are a powerful gang of Hunters who hunt down wayward ogre Hunters who defy the Hunter Headquarters. Claiming that Mikito, a unique ogre, might hold the secret to what ogres really are, Gogyo asks his fellow White Claw members to decide whether or not they believe Mikito to be of any value. Two of them deem Mikito worthless, but the other four decide to join up with Gogyo to uncover the secrets Headquarters goes to great lengths to hide. The group quickly sets out on their journey, but they drop off Mikito with two of the Hunters at a hidden Hunter training ground. Mikito is told to stay behind and train, under the watchful eyes of two of the Hunters, while the others set off to find a hidden underground chamber where the organization stores ogre seeds. The Hunter society has not left this compound undefended, however. In fact, they have set some extremely powerful sentries to guard it.

This volume goes by pretty quickly. Almost too quickly, I initially thought. Then I reminded myself that the series is only seven volumes long, and the pacing made more sense. The battle against Suguri is wrapped up (likely permanently) after taking up a large part of the previous volume. We also get a glimpse of Zakuro’s incredible power, so powerful that he is able to overcome the seals placed on him and unleash a portion of that power. It’s no wonder his peers fear him and sealed him away. Whether he will use his power for good or ill is yet to be seen. He saved Mikito, Kugai, and Gogyo, sure, but only because Suguri was attacking his host (Mikito) and trying to destroy him permanently. Currently it is unclear (unless it was explained in volumes 1-2, which I haven’t read) what his true goals are, aside from freeing himself. Gogyo’s goals are a little muddled as well. He doesn’t appear to want to take down the Hunter society or anything like that. He just wants to uncover their “secrets,” whatever those are. One of his Hunter friends, Seri, whose body has been heavily physically altered, wants to know why he was turned into a monster. Kugai wants to monitor Mikito and help him regain his human form. And, of course, Mikito wants to become a normal human again. But the individual motivations of the others – White Claw members Nazuna, Suzuna, and Suzushiro – have not been revealed. Mikito, meanwhile, upset that others are protecting him (and getting hurt over him) and fighting his battles, has resolved to get stronger, and decides to take the training area where he has been left quite seriously. However, the real reason he was left there was to keep him safe, so perhaps taking things too seriously and accomplishing tasks he may not have been meant to accomplish might not turn out so well. Fans of the series will enjoy the action-packed pages in this volume, especially the reveal of some characters’ powers which have been previously untapped.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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