The seventh volume of this series cements its place in any manga fan's collection.

Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi Volume 7Title: Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi (Aka ya Akashi ya Ayakashi no)
Genre: Supernatural
Publisher: Media Factory (JP), Yen Press (US)
Artist: Nanao
Writer: HaccaWorks*
Translation: Jocelyne Allen
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Review copy provided by Yen Press.

HaccaWorks* writes in their notes at the end of the volume, “It’s like… a book that confirms all kinds of things!” That’s a dead-on description of Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi Volume 7, as it explains how Shin ended up inside of Yue, what the meal is, and even the deal surrounding Mikoto’s missing tail.

In those same end-of-volume notes, HaccaWorks* mentions that the manga is a combination of several routes, and this means “the story continues to the climax at a level that confuses even Hacca, who created it all”. While lots of anime and manga adaptations do this amalgamation in their adaptations of visual novels, I honestly wouldn’t have guessed. The manga is coming together beautifully — and, more importantly, coherently. It’s a stark contrast to, say, some of CLAMP’s later works in which characters spend too much time with vague phrases that are supposed reader hints and then push all the confusing revelations into very late in the story.

Take the meal for instance. The reason is finally revealed, so we see why Mikoto and Satou are encouraging Yue to eat. Meanwhile, we start to see why Kurogitsune tried to flee with Yue and why he often looked so sad and why Tougo and Akiyoshi are Yue’s candidates. Whether this is normally revealed in character routes, I have no idea, but it certainly paints a full picture of the situation at Utsuwa. Of course, it’s easy to connect everyone considering Utsuwa is a walled-off hunting ground.

I also love how all these revelations don’t lead to any Heroic BSOD or heated accusations. Akiyoshi in particular has grown the most in the story. Gone is the creepy, stubborn stalker who would have used all this newfound information as proof that Yue needs to be exorcised. Now he’s even picked up on Yue’s subtle expressions, that these sad smiles aren’t a part of some huge conspiracy. Meanwhile, even as two opposing paths open up for Yue, he remains the loving, easy-going guy he always has been. He doesn’t curse his fate or blame others for making decisions that led to the current situation. I get the feeling Yue would like nothing more than to have everyone sit down and just work it out, but even he knows that’s not possible right now. Besides, who can resist a male lead who can unashamedly admit he loves his friends?

In fact, “love” is becoming an increasingly important part of the story. Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi may be a shoujo manga, but it’s so refreshing to see other types of love besides romantic take the spotlight in a shoujo. Tougo’s little sister Hina, who has a sixth sense, steps up to the plate to rescue her precious onii-chan. Meanwhile, the ayakashi wonder about how persons they care most about are also the ones they want most to eat. Kurogitsune (who is MIA this time around) already has fled because his secret has been revealed while Mikoto’s musings are darker in nature. Love vs survival… can there ever be a winner?

The only flaw in this volume (well, besides the absence of Kurogitsune and Tougo) is little Hina’s eyes. They just simply overpower her face. Not only that, eyes tend to be asymmetrical. Honestly, if I saw her image out there somewhere, I would assume she was either an alien or a lizard person. (Sorry, Hina.) But that’s my only complaint about the art considering Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi Volume 7 opens up with four double-sided color images of gorgeousness. What a wonderful way to begin the volume.

Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi should be given the green-light into your collection. The manga features processions with chanting, and I honestly wish I could just start my own “buy this series” chant. The manga is heading toward its ending, and I hope the closing volumes dazzle me as much as this one did.