A really interesting cover for the 12th volume. I’ve never seen a manga cover done to look like it was coloured by crayons, but it looks really nice and I’m quite fond of this cover.

Summary


Jinpachi and Issei figure out that it was Shion who got those gang members to beat them up back in the early parts of the manga. They tell Alice this and the three of them decide that they must meet Mr. Tamura, who contacted Issei about the incident. Meanwhile Tamura comes to visit Rin at the hospital, but leaves with Ayako when she comes in. Tamura convinces Ayako to stay away from Rin, but the whole event leaves Mrs. Kobayashi very distressed. Alice is noticing the toll this is taking on her and contemplates telling her the truth.

Later on Alice visits Rin at the hospital and talks about her decision to remember everything from the past. When she mentions that Jinpachi’s words were what made it easier for her not to fear her memories, Rin gets very angry and berates her. He then tells her to leave and that he never wants to see her face again. In the meantime, Jinpachi and Issei are making their way to the hospital and they come across a crying Alice. Jinpachi chases after her, while Issei goes to check up on Rin.

When Jinpachi catches up to Alice, she starts to explain why she feels so frustrated. Noting her inability to do anything for Rin and her frustration with them making her into a vessel for Mokuren. Jinpachi kisses Alice in the middle of this and hugs her, telling her that she doesn’t need to remember anything any more. That he’s convinced she is Mokuren and that after they find Shion and he beats him up, she will just be his Alice and he won’t ever bring up the past again. Finally he tells her about the fact that Shion raped Mokuren because he wants her to be cautious around Haruhiko when they meet him in Kyoto.

Meanwhile Rin returns to find Issei waiting for him. Issei tries to question Rin about where he was and what happened with Alice, but Rin collapses. It seems he had teleported again to see if Ayako had really left and this had also reopened his wounds. While sick in bed, Rin dreams once more of the Moon Base, but this time he is Rin and comes face to face with Shion, after the latter went mad. Shion seems to be making some sort of device and this device makes Rin very very nervous. He wants Shion to stop, but Shion appears calm. The scene then moves back to Alice, who is thinking about what Jinpachi said to her about Shion raping Mokuren, and the 12th volume comes to a close.

My Thoughts


Where to start? Quite a bit happens this volume, although most of it is more a “setting up” for things to come. There is a lot of foreshadowing this volume: Rin’s mother, the device at the end, Alice’s small memory of Mokuren as a child. It’s all interesting, but it never gets to the juicy parts, so while this volume was still pretty amazing, it was a bit less intensive than the 11th volume.

But yes, it seems I was right to think Mokuren has a less than ideal childhood given the small peak into Mokuren’s past we get this volume. Little Mokuren is crying, and seems to hate Paradise. She also seems to be bullied as she says everyone says mean things about her mother and father. Also, I’m very excited about the gang meeting Tamura and Haru in Kyoto. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen once they find out Rin is really Shion, especially Alice, who is very preoccupied with Rin’s well-being and is angry that Shion (Haru) is using Rin.

Another interesting thing I noticed this volume is Jinpachi’s righteousness. I’ve never seen Gyokuran doing it yet, so I was wondering if Enju and Shusuran were just exaggerating by calling him a “slimeball”, but it seems they weren’t totally off. Jinpachi used Alice’s confusion and frustration to kiss her and tell her that she is “his” Alice. Rather a cowardly move I think, and rather hypocritical given he says he’s going to wait for her in his little speech. I also find it rather refreshing that the overprotective love interest isn’t going to end up with Alice (so many of these in official pairings lately). Anyway, I also rather curious how Alice is going to feel about Shion now that she knows he raped Mokuren. She was still rather reluctant to think of him as evil/bad, even when Jinpachi and Issei told her about their theory involving the gang that attacked them. The volume really knew how to end…such a bad cliff hanger. D:

Finally the fight between Alice and Rin was really well done. It highlights the themes rather well and tells us that Shion believed till the end that Mokuren loved Gyokuren and not him. I usually don’t like the jerk character, but I can’t help but feel sad about how mistaken Shion is about the whole affair. Poor Alice too. She was just using what Jinpachi said to give herself strength and accidentally stepped on a landmine, which set Shion off. Seems these two have a knack for misunderstanding one another, just like in the past. As always, very excited for the next volume.

–SW

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