Review by: dancingonrain.
The fight to reach Mayura begins. When Alice, Kyo, Frey (Frei), Nyozeka, Chris, Mei Lin, and Billy enter the inner heart, they realize the search for Alice’s sister will take longer than they first anticipated. They are attacked by two Maram masters, Samuel and Kayna, forcing both Chris and Frey to face the darkness buried deep within themselves. When they finally defeat the enemy, they run into Frey’s old mentor, Eric, and then they continue on their mission to find and save Alice’s sister Mayura.
After Alice and company defeat Samuel and Kayna, they’re shown the darkness within their hearts that drove them to become Maram masters to the point where they actually had turned into mara creatures. Because Watase, the author, did this, we are introduced to what Sameul and Kayna were like before they turned to the darkness. They were humans living their everyday lives and it was the cruel words and actions of other people that had sparked their downward spiral.
Samuel had been a talented singer. Mentors expected big things from him. His peers, jealous, hid shards of glass inside his sandwich. When he had swallowed it, his vocal chords had been injured. He’d been told they’d heal, but he’d never have the voice he once had before. Kayna loved her husband, but he left her for another woman and when she had asked why, the other woman asked her if she had looked in the mirror lately, old hag? Then she and her husband laughed at her.
Part of Kayna’s story ties in with Alice and Kyo’s. They became a couple and left Mayura in the dark. And although their stories aren’t one-hundred percent the same, as Alice watches this unfold, she begins to understand more how her sister must have felt—must still feel—and that is crucial to help save Mayura. Understanding how she feels.
After reading this I feel that Watase did well in humanizing all characters, even the antagonists. What had actually caused Samuel and Kayna to take the path of darkness was that they had been human and their emotions caused them to seek misguided power. Whether it had been because they wallowed in self-pity or they had been filled with hatred and revenge, they instantly became more relatable because they had once been human. And it had been written well. What’s more is the circumstances that had caused them to turn to Darva could have happened to anyone in similar circumstances. You certainly hope it wouldn’t have, but it could have.
Because of all of this I can understand why they were drawn to the mara and became Maram masters. They’re the enemy and had been trying to destroy Alice, Kyo, and company’s attempts to save Mayura for a couple of volumes, but after discovering their stories, I feel bad for them—pity them—too, because they’re not just some crazy psychopaths bent on destruction. They were human before all this. People who had been hurt. I feel that that’s what good writing is. With all the horrible things and strife they’ve caused for the protagonists, you want these two antagonists gone because that means Alice, Kyo, and the others are one step closer to succeeding, but then a last minute detail about who Samuel and Kayna were before and what had happened to them, actually makes you feel sorry for them instead. It’s difficult because by now they’re mara creatures and can never be human again, so Alice and Kyo mercy-kill them.
Not only was the humanization of the enemy well done, but we continue to see Alice grow and now even her determination shines outward. She and Kyo are fighting Samuel and Kayna, but Alice is yelling at them incessantly. She’s yelling phrases in various versions of: Tell me where my sister is! In the earlier volumes, she would have tacitly, in a sense, moped about not knowing where her sister is, but now, she’s fed up with the enemy’s games. She’s outwardly demanding to know where Mayura is and will force it out of them if necessary, and yet she is still herself and hasn’t changed into a power hungry gun-ho person. I love seeing her continue to grow as a character. I’ll be sad when I finish the seventh and final volume, but hey, it’s better than drawing the series out longer than it needs to or should be.