Sunday, August 2, 2009

Land of the Blindfolded, vol. 7

The story: Starting with a summer fireworks festival, things get moving fast with developments in Kanade's relationship with her best friend, Eri, and with Arou's abilities and past. Kanade decides to finally reveal her ability to Eri, hoping that she'll take it well enough. Flashbacks abound while she thinks back on the times shared with her. Meanwhile, Arou's uncle comes for a visit and reveals memories of an important person from Arou's past in a vacation to some rural hot springs. While there, the gang see a little bit more of each other than any of them expected!

Reaction: I went through a range of emotions with this volume—from delight at seeing a romantic moment between Kanade and Arou to sadness at Arou's flashbacks. Even when it came to the inevitable hot springs moments, I think they were nicely played and not nearly as stereotypical as they could have been. It was also nice to see everyone's relationships deepen, especially between Eri and Kanade. I've always felt that their friendship was on the back burner in this series, despite the fact that it was the only one already established at the beginning of this tale. And it's hard to find a friendly female relationship this endearing in manga, where both friends trust and intrinsically understand each other, despite their very human doubts otherwise.

Deep thoughts: A relative of one of the main trio shares their gift, begging the question: is the "sight" that Kanade, Arou and Masahiro have genetic and inheritable? It makes for an interesting question. If seeing the future or past is a genetic mutation, a la X-Men, then it would be possible to pass it along. It makes me wonder how many others are without their blindfolds. Perhaps it isn't nearly as unique as it seems, especially since these three teens are not only the same age and in the same grade, but somehow found each other at the same high school by chance.

Artwork: There was a lot of cross-hatching in this volume, from illustrating the action when Arou defended Kanade to frequent full-body blushing at the hot springs. There was also replication in character design, but it was for a purpose: showing the family resemblance among Arou's relatives. They all have the same facial structure, but there were distinct differences between each. But, out of all the chapters, I loved the bonus chapter the most, simply because it featured Masahiro's cute puppy (although I wonder why the puppy hasn't grown any yet)!

The verdict: Highly recommended. Again, this series is an absolute delight in many ways. From the moral questions it asks to the artwork to the characters, I'm loving every bit of the world that Sakura Tsukuba has built. Land of the Blindfolded is available in the U.S. from CMX.

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