This volume is split into two tales. In the first, Subaru encounters a grief-stricken mother seeking revenge for her child’s murder. Certain he can help her by summoning the spirit of her lost daughter, Subaru raises her ghost to allow them to speak through him. To Subaru’s dismay, the child does not embrace her mother but instead screams in pain and pleads for vengeance. Stunned by the pain on both sides, Subaru struggles to figure out what is best, a lie or the truth. Miserable after the incident, Subaru seeks help from Seishiro and though he gives comfort, his logic once again shows just how different these two are. In the second half, Subaru infiltrates what appears to be a new cult attracting loners and outsiders at an alarming rate. One high school student, a victim of daily vicious taunting and physical attacks, tries to embrace the cult’s ideals and makes a friend in Subaru. Though critical of the organization’s hard line belief that victims bring out their own punishment by not believing in themselves forcefully enough, Subaru finds himself drawn to the certainty of the female leader. Seishiro circles the investigation with his own motives, and when Subaru starts a fight, it is Seishiro who finishes it with deadly force, revealing his true nature as the Sakurazukamori, an expert assassin. The final scene cements that their pairing is not accidental or benign, and Seishiro’s bet with Subaru is not yet up. This particular volume also features a number of scenes that show the concern the Sumeragis have for Subaru’s welfare– their grandmother warns of the sakura wanting to sweep him away. Hokuto, showing herself to be quite the sharp cookie, goes so far as to threaten Seishiro with a knife if he ever hurts Subaru. The family connections are sweet and very real despite the threads of the fantastic inherent in these characters’ lives.

Tokyo Babylon Volume 4
ISBN: 9781591828747
Tokyopop, 2004

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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