Originally posted: Sunday, February 6, 2011 on Blogger

This volume finally gives us a look into the enigmatic Shion.


Haruhiko manages to deflect the blast from Rin, but when he begs him to spare the others, Rin furiously reminds him that he has no obligation to do that for someone who never kept his promise and proceeds to beat Haru up. Mikuro tries to stop him and the resulting collision of mental powers causes a great explosion, which sets the temple on fire.

Mikuro and Haru escape with minor injuries, but Rin isn’t so lucky. Mikuro explains that it is because Rin’s power was much stronger, and because it was different than his own, each of their powers rebound back at them. Compounding this, jumping back to Tokyo, like Rin did, would only worsen his injuries.

Meanwhile, Alice hears about Rin’s hospitalization from her mother and both of them hurry to the hospital. They learn from the doctor that while Rin is ok, his injuries were grave and they do not match with being hit by a car. Alice later volunteers to stay by Rin’s side when his father can’t make it. When she comes, Rin’s mother confesses to her that she feels as if Rin is no longer her son and asks if this is because she is tired. Alice is amazed at how well Rin’s mother is able to understand what has happened to Rin without knowing anything.

Rin, other the other hand, has delved even further into Shion’s psyche and is now experiencing Shion’s entire life from his young childhood on the war torn Moon Tess, where he had to kill to survive until he was picked up and sent to the planet Shia to live in a Sarjalimian Monastery to his short stay with Lazlo, his foster father, and Kyaa. Then the memories shift due to Rin momentarily waking up and we are introduced to a slightly older Shion, who is now attending a boarding school though a state sponsored scholarship. During this time we are also introduced to Gyokuran, who seems to have known Shion since they were children, and Shiukaido, who has recently transferred to Gyokuran and Shion’s school. Later Shiukaido asks Shion why he insists that Gyokuran hates him and Shion tells him that everyone has a dark side but Gyokuran would rather die than let others know about it. Shion then recalls how Gyokuran invited him over to his home when they were younger and paraded around his family. This event seems to have been the cause of Shion’s resentment toward Gyokuran. –End of Volume Eight.

My Thoughts

This was a very interesting volume and I am simply amazed at the level of sophistication that Hiwatari-san has painted Shion. The boy is clearly troubled by his lack of parents, of love, and he clearly still has scars from his time on war torn Tess leading to much cynicism. For example, Shion is greatly affected by seeing Gyokuran’s family; not only because he really wants one, but also because he feels that Gyokuran brought him over out of pity. My interpretation of Gyokuran’s action is two-fold: yes, at the core there must have been some pity there, but it also looked like Gyokuran wanted Shion to have some fun at his house. He simply brought a friend over; it looked to me that Gyokuran was oblivious to how Shion felt. Another example was when Gyokuran defended Shion and cried afterwards about his bullying. Shion didn’t understand why he was crying, but again, Gyokuran felt pity but also I think frustration and sympathy (he says to Shion: “Why don’t you say something back to them!? I…I can’t stand how they treat you…!”). I personally feel that if it was just pity, the young Gyokuran would simply say: “it’s not fair how they treat you” and leave it at that. But he genuinely seems to care and sympathize with Shion and thereby shows frustration that the other boy isn’t standing up for himself. How does this factor into Shion? Well Shion is cynical; he can’t seem to believe that Gyokuran would feel anything but pity for him, that coupled with his jealousy of Gyokuran’s love and family leads to much animosity toward Gyokuran….which seemingly Gyokuran doesn’t notice or doesn’t want to notice.

What makes me curious is that Enju and Shusuran imply that Shion is right about Gyokuran: that this is all an act for Gyokuran. Shusuran stated that Gyokuran is a “slime ball” and only acts good because he’s too cowardly to do otherwise and Enju affirms this by saying she also likes that about him. Yet, it doesn’t appear to be an act, at least not all of it. So I really do hope Hiwatari-san gives us a look into Gyokuran too. I would love to see his side of the story. :)