Other creators involved in the making of this manga include: Translating by Adrienne Beck and Lettering by Lys Blakeslee
Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of abandonment, trauma/possible PTSD
“Even if your head is chopped off…Or if you’re pierced with countless arrows…Nothing works. That is why…Before the curse has run its course…While our loved ones yet hold their pure, human shape…We must, with our own hands…Give them the mercy of death.”
After being kidnapped to the Inside, Shiva ends up being surrounded in flames and chaos. Her Aunt has transformed into a Cured One and the village is going up in smoke. During the madness, Shiva nearly ends up in a sticky situation where she could have lost her life to the soldiers destroying everything. A flock of Cursed Ones come out of nowhere, buying Shiva time to run and escape . Thankfully she ends up coming to where Teacher is waiting and apologizes for his tardiness. Soon the pair end up heading back to the cottage, being tailed by Shiva’s Aunt. After all the madness and destruction, our dynamic duo is finally headed home and long over due for some much recovery time. But…nothing is ever that simple, is it?
🌻 The Inside – Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces
🌻 The Outside – Where the Cursed Ones exist, abandoned villages, also where Teacher and Shiva exist
🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed Ones – Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 The God of Light – Creator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of Darkness – Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse
Volume Four begins the landslide to much needed down time for our main characters, but things aren’t going to be that simple for Teacher. While Shiva slowly begins to readjust to normalcy and forget the events that have recently taken place, Teacher is battling some inner worries, thoughts and feelings all while he tries not to cross a line with Shiva’s Aunt. We begin to see Teacher develop feelings of jealousy, sadness, and somewhere along those feelings lies an undiscovered feeling of deep love and appreciation for Shiva. He also begins questioning if he’s the right person to look after Shiva and if things would have been better if he had never came into the picture.
I think one of my favorite moments was when Shiva’s Aunt wanted to run away with Shiva and Shiva ended up stepping up to defend Teacher. I really loved that the author included Shiva coming off as being this girl who has such strong emotions and is willing to defend the people she loves and cares most about. She was so quick to correct the way her Aunt was talking about Teacher and tell her Aunt that she had everything backwards. I really enjoyed that and it made me realize how much I love Shiva as a character. Even though she comes off as naive sometimes, she’s is very innocent and pure, but she has such a good heart and she always puts it in the right place.
One of the key points I want to point out with this book is the Cursed Ones. In Volume One we’re kind of led to believe that the Cursed Ones are these creatures that have turned mad, plaguing and destroying anything they touch. We were also led to believe that Teacher was the only one who was truly different compared to other Cursed Ones. In the beginning, Teacher may look like a Cursed One, but he was definitely as humanoid as Shiva or the soldiers in the first book of this series. Now that we’re so far in the series and we’ve been encountering more Cursed Ones, they’re almost as human as Teacher, but they still hold some of those traits that were described in the first volume. I find this completely interesting as how from book one all the way to book four the Cursed Ones are almost mirrored with humanity. But I would argue that out of all of the Cursed Ones we encounter in this series, Teacher is the only Cursed One who seems to be holding onto or gaining back his humanity. I find this absolutely fascinating and I’m eager to see how things will develop in the upcoming books!
“Oh. I feel that strange unease again. It wells up within me when I see them together. What could it be…?”
This volume definitely offers the cool down that is most certainly needed especially after Volume Three (which is a very intense book if you have yet to read it yet). We also see a lot of feelings and emotions, secrets, concerns, and so much more addressed in the down time between our main characters and side characters. Everything, from the feelings to the secrets to the comedic relief all flow so beautifully together and so easily too. NEGABE has an incredible writing style and connects everything with their writing. I say this a lot since starting this series, but the writing and world building is so easy to fall into and even more so to fall in love with.
I think one of the best things the author did with this volume was add touches of humor. After everything that has happened in previous volumes and then as well a the implied inner fighting between Teacher and the Aunt as well as Teacher versus himself, those tiny touches of humor are definitely a breath of fresh air. I’ll admit, I didn’t think I was holding my breath all this time until I let out a sigh, followed by a huge laughing session. Even though this is a dark fantasy, I’m glad the author found a way to deliver some comedic relief before things bloom into the rockiness that ends up happening. It’s also a great reminder to make sure you’re breathing when you’re reading this series!
And I say this all the time, when a book ends on a cliffhanger just throw the series book at me! I swear, the addiction of needing to know what happens next is so strong! However, this ending I wasn’t expecting at all. It completely threw me off and blew me out of the water. If you haven’t read this series yet, please check it out!
Overall, (I probably say this every time I post a review for a book of this series) I love this series! Even with this series being a dark fantasies and knowing this author is just getting started, I’m eager to read the next volume. I love the writing style, the artwork, the incredible character development, and just everything this series has to offer. I definitely think this is an underrated sequential art series that isn’t talked about, but I highly recommend looking into this series. And even if you’re not someone who typically reads manga or sequential art styled books, you should definitely consider looking into this series. I’ve already recommended this series to so many fellow readers. If I could talk about this series all day, I would. I’m just absolutely head over heels and I want everyone to know about this amazing story!
“I could never forget. We were together for so long. I still remember it all. We spent so much time together. Wonderful times. You gave me so much joy.”