Vampires, Demons, Cursed Gear, Horsemen. With these powerhouses of fiction failing miserably at any form of co-existence, one would not be remiss to expect a series of conflicts to permeate the world. Why, one might even say the situation is down right apocalyptic. Who are we kidding? It is most assuredly that. The world, as we the reading audience know it, is over and chaos reigns. But, as we the reading audience also know it, villainy does not often prosper in a world where the good guys can tentatively tame demons. Sure it might not be the cleanest solution, but when has that ever been the most fun?
Grab your stylish threads and inconceivably powerful weapon on the way through because you’ve just been promoted to Moon Demon Company. Well Yu and friends have at least. Now fully fledged soldiers and gearing to kick some serious blood-sucker hide, the recently established Shinoa Squad is responsibly amped about their first mission. However, as we are so thoughtfully told, Moon Demon Company works in groups of five, meaning that Yu Yoichi, Shinoa and Kimizuki must have their numbers rounded out. Thus enters Mitsuba Sangu, perhaps the most tsundere character to ever enlist in the military, Demon or otherwise.
After a particularly explosive introduction, Mitsuba resigns herself to serving with her new teammates and so all set off outside of Shibuya’s protective walls and into the remnants of what was once the world. Due to their status as the rookie unit, Shinoa and Mitsuba are very clear about the rules of vampire eradication, as well as the numerous strategies necessary to survival. Of course, about 10 seconds after this explanation, Yu breaks formation and gives the classic “do what is right, not what is ordered” spiel to his fellow squadmates, in order to save a terrified little girl. Seeing as this takes place relatively early in the volume, our main cast is not brutally slaughtered by vampires, and instead pull out a rather epic victory. Though my award for most kickass moment in this particular altercation would have to go to Yu, who frightened a vampire simply by looking at her. Serves her right for unknowingly bringing up painful memories from Yu’s terrifying past.
Having saved the innocent girl from the not-so-innocent Horseman, the Shinoa Squad march onwards into a den of their vampiric foes and proceed to dole out some good ol’ fashioned Cursed Gear justice. Unfortunately, during the skirmish, Mitsuba is taken hostage by a vampire in an attempt to stop the rest of Shinoa Squad. Thus, through the ever useful flashback sequence, we learn that Mitsuba herself once cost her squadmate his life when she acted on her own. Apart from instilling her with utter terror, and me with much sadness, this moment (along with Shinoa’s helpful observation) shows us why she “hates” Yu’s impetuous nature. Of course this hatred is meted by Yu’s rescuing of her and will no doubt continue until it transforms into love, as is the tsundere code and yet another of Shinoa’s observations.
Due to this volume focusing on the development of certain characters and the interactions of others, a great deal of attention was placed on showing emotion. Owing to her character, Mitsuba ran the range from infuriated to shattered in a rather brief window, allowing us to learn a lot about her character before learning to much about her as a character. That being said, with her traumatic past and various complexes, she fits right in with the rest of Shinoa Squad.
With the vampires deciding that Shinjuku would make a nice target, we are left waiting for the conclusion of the most high stakes battle in the manga to date. Guren decides to show us all why he’s one of the Moon Demon Company’s top dogs and busts out some seriously tremendous power, along with the rest of his squad. However, a much more personal battle will surely entail when Yu meets someone he never thought he would see again. Expect tears, expect anger, expect blood, fangs, blades, explosions and everything else you can think of because this will not be a happy reunion…
Join Shinoa Squad over at Madman, if you’ve got the skills to back it up