Kekkaishi vol. 4 - Yellow Tanabe
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet, skilled in the art of the "kekkaishi," fight against their families' bitter rivalry and a gaggle of monsters and ghosts on the loose!
By day, 14-year-old Yoshimori Sumimura is just a regular kid going to junior high school, but by night he is a "kekkaishi," or demon-fighter who specializes in generating magical barriers around his prey before making them disappear. His neighbor is 16-year-old Tokine Yukimura, who is also a kekkaishi! Together they share the knowledge of their ancient art and their nights battling beings from the netherworld. Sounds fun, but their families don't get along, because each believes themselves to be the "true practitioners" of the art of the kekkaishi.
Will Yoshimori and Tokine friendship overcome their families' ancient rivalry? And will they be able to stop the frog-demon that's threatening their school?! Their exciting adventures and magical battles begin in this volume!(courtesy of Goodreads)
*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.
There's an obvious sibling theme to Volume 4. We start out with Masahiko, the pastry chef ghost that we met in Volume 3. As much as Yoshimori likes him, he wants Masahiko to get past his figurative demons and move in on the spirit world. Turns out that Masahiko feels horribly guilty about his death. Masahiko was poised to take over his uncle's business. Now that burden has fallen to his little brother, on whom Masahiko doted ever since their parents died at a young age. He's sure that his brother resents him for dying. Yoshimori goes to Masahiko's brother to talk to him about Masahiko's death. Understandably skeptical, he ignores Yoshimori until he bakes a cake that brings back childhood memories. This happy memory allows both Masahiko and his brother to heal and Masahiko can move on.
The more important plot point of this volume is the introduction of Masamori, Yoshimori's older brother. Masamori is in his early twenties and seemingly perfect. He's an incredible demon fighter, handsome, confident, and well reputed. Yoshimori feels two inches tall around him. Masamori doesn't help Yoshimori's confidence. All he does is criticize him. Why aren't you faster? Why are you so reckless? Why don't you know more theory? Why are you so lazy? It goes on and on. It seems like Masamori is horribly jealous that Yoshimori is the legitimate heir instead of him.
Masamori is a mystery to me in this volume. I can't tell if he's trying to help Yoshimori or hinder him. At one point, it looks like he set up a very difficult test of demons for Yoshimori, although upon a closer reading, he may have just been observing. Still, the idea that he's hoping Yoshimori will fail is possible. I hope to get a better read on him in future volumes.
All in all, an interesting volume that starts out relatively light. Then it introduces more tension and a new plot arc that will be very important in future volumes.