Sorry that it’s taken a while for me to get around to reviewing this. I read it right away when it came out, but there’s not a lot to say about it. If you missed it, however, you can find it here: http://www.mangareader.net/ao-no-exorcist/89
The birthday/Christmas party is off to a rough start. As Izumo (Fox Girl) points out, they manage to from zero to total destruction in about 30 seconds. But, they salvage what’s left and have a hotpot, which looks more fun to me, personally.
In the middle of the festivities, pink-haired Shima gets a call from his brother with big news: they’re going to have a baby. A big celebration is planned back home around the New Year. Brother wants to know if everyone is coming home for the holiday. Bon makes noises like he might be too busy, but Light tells him to go, after all, “I’ll just be sleeping.”
When everything is said and done and they’re all heading back, Plant Girl (Shiemi) pulls out a present for everyone: four left clovers for luck on their exams.
At this point, Rin officially loses it and confronts Shiemi about her decision. He demands to know if this is her “final farewell,” is she DYING or WHAT? She confirms “or what” and tells everyone she’s not going anywhere. She won’t say why, but she’s decided to be support to the troops.
Back at the Okumura brothers’ apartment, Rin is still complaining about Shiemi. Shura (Boob Lady, dressed, naturally, as a slutty Santa,) busts in (as it were) and asks for a glass of water. Rin is literally like, “Go home, you’re drunk,” but we find out Shura has an upstairs apartment. She decides to give them a “present” since they’re all grown up. Of course, they both assume it’s sex, but she tells a story about their mother, instead.
We find out her name was Yuri Egin. Apparently, Shiro (the boy’s foster dad) had no idea how to “raise a girl” and so he took Shura to Yuri. Yuri is very domestic and even offers to play house with Shiro, suggesting they could raise Shura together like a family. Priestly Shiro says they can’t do that can calls Yuri a “weirdo.” Meanwhile, tiny Boob Lady is jealous because Yuri is so pretty and compassionate.
After Boob Lady leaves and the boys are tucked in bed, Yukio tries to talk to Rin about his burning desire to know more about their birth. Rin, meanwhile, is very… Rin. He’s just happy to know his mother’s name and that she was pretty and kind. He’s fairly certain anything else would just be depressing. (I think he’s right.)
Yukio is having none of this lassies-faire attitude. He jumps out of bed and gets all up in Rin’s grill and calls him a coward for not wanting to know.
Normally, I feel like Kazue Katō hits all the right notes in her work. But, for me, this chapter’s end was a little off somehow. I think maybe the issue is in how I’m reading these chapters, once a month, because I suspect when read in tankōbon, all at once, the connection between Yukio’s attempted suicide and this desire to understand his origin story, his birth, will be stronger. I mean it’s not that many chapters ago Yukio was throwing himself off buildings and trying to shoot himself in the head to see if he could trigger his Satanic powers.
With luck, the opening of the next chapter will give me what I’m looking for: that connective thread between his birth story and Yukio’s source of angst/pain, as in like, what he hopes to gain from knowing it.
Because, frankly, I think that far from being cowardly, Rin’s attitude is healthy. Thing is Rin has to find ways peace with his Satanic side every SINGLE day.
In case we’ve forgotten, Kazue-sensei gives us this visual reminder when Rin get’s up to pee:
Dude has a f*cking TAIL. He’s tried hiding it, but there’s really no point. Unlike Yukio, Rin has never been able to pass as “normal.” I think this whole “it is what it is, dude,” attitude comes from that, not from a place of fear.
So I’ll be curious to see where things go from here. I suspect that if knowing is something Yukio really wants, Rin will capitulate because he loves his brother. I feel like Kazue-sensei has nicely set up that Rin will do it, even THOUGH he knows it will only lead to heartbreak.
So, while I’m not entirely satisfied by the ending of this chapter, I can see what it may be setting up. Good strong set-up chapters are important. I also continue to love the way Kazue-sensei writes her light character moments and weaves them in between these emotional key notes.
Women mangaka rule.
P.S. I’m still getting notifications about Shingeki no Kyojin even though I rage quit some time ago. If you’re still reading the new one can be found here: http://www.mangapanda.com/shingeki-no-kyojin/93/