1421539810In the seventh volume of Arata: The Legend, Arata Hinohara goes up against Yorunami, one of the main Shinsho, who controls water. In order to force Hinohara to submit, Yorunami kidnaps Kotoha, Hinohara’s companion and the girl he has a crush on, and threatens to kill her. Meanwhile, the other Arata is fighting off the violent Shinsho who has just arrived in modern Japan after trading places with Hinohara’s enemy, Kadowaki. Both Aratas are facing their biggest challenges yet in their still unfamiliar surroundings.

The two stories running side-by-side are what make this story work. Arata Hinohara is on an epic quest and finally starting to realize his own worth after years of letting bullies get the best of him. Arata of the Hime Clan is now in modern-day Japan and dealing with the recognizable world of bullies, girls, and high school. The two complement each other well, although the story surrounding Hinohara is well-developed and compelling, while the other Arata’s plotline suffers a bit. He seems forgotten for chapters and his story seems told only as an afterthought in these last few volumes. Personally, I would love to see more development there. After seven volumes, I feel like there is still so much to be learned about him, while Hinohara is easily described.

The artwork in volume 7 is particularly beautiful. Yorunami is one of the elite twelve Shinsho and the one who controls water. The altercation between Yorunami and Hinohara is depicted with beautiful swirls of water as weapons. Watase employs water really creatively in these chapters, making each panel really effective. The style is simple and elegant, with a lot of gorgeous detail, particularly in the background of each panel.

Volume 7 gets the story back on track after a few chapters of similar story arcs that were a little slow-moving. Both Aratas are facing tough challenges. Arata Hinohara, in particular, is finally starting to his footing in this new world. I’m excited to see where volume 8 picks up, as the volume ended with the introduction of some interesting new characters and a startling realization.

Arata: the Legend, vol. 7
by Yuu Watase
ISBN: 978142153981
Viz Media, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: Teen/13+

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