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SDK seems to occupy a kind of middle ground for me between Bleach – which is probably the most shounen-ish shounen series I'm reading seriously (Hoshin Engi continues to mainly confuse me) and Saiyuki – which isn't really a shounen series at all, it just plays one on TV.

These two volumes illustrate the point pretty well. They're mostly about Hotaru, the wolf-child space-cadet with the very short attention span, double-ended sword, and deadly magical fire skills. Because SDK is mostly a shounen series, Hotaru's scenes are very much about getting stronger and mastering himself. But because SDK is SDK, there's also lashings of backstory – tasty and humorous backstory. Hotaru doesn't really do angst, so there isn't much, but parts of his story are surprisingly touching. They also involve the last big crew of new characters we'll meet in the series.

There's also bigtime angst for Kyo and Kyoushirou, a little more Mibu villainy, a tough situation for Akira's ego, Yuya fanservice, the re-appearance of someone we haven't seen for a very long time, and almost no Yukimura-san >snif!< at all, unless you count one of the extras in vol. 30.


Samurai Deeper Kyo, vols. 30-31 (review)

BTW, I know there are a couple of people on the f-list who are reading SDK and who have not (to my knowledge) gone after the scanslations, so please try to avoid spoiling the remaining volumes for them. I'll try too - it's hard, isn't it? Think about it: if the current release schedule keeps up, we'll be reading the last volume at this time next year.

OK, down to brass tacks: I have come to like Yuya - even love her. But I find Anna and Angelica even more awesome – they deserve a lot more time than they get. Anna has, of course, the big-sister-beats-everyone joke-thing going on, but she's also both a truly sweet and generous (if somewhat short-tempered and potty-mouthed) hostess, and her attempts to convince Hotaru that he can't fight his not-quite-relatives are really kind and heartfelt. (Her obtuseness about Hotaru's "cuteness" also makes her the perfect foster-mom for him.) Angelica's deadpan reactions and solutions to variously brotherly transgressions slay me, and there's also her completely selfless bravery in standing unarmed to ward Yuan off from Hotaru, when he'd already pretty much proved that he wasn't (as far as she knew) going to let family feelings stand in the way of dealing with a rebel. Finally, there's just the details of how they're drawn: Anna's overly-lively hair, scary manicure, and sweet smile (which makes a helluva contrast to roaring, terrifying SDF-Anna when she's mad), and spacey, shoujo-heroine-beautiful Angelica with her layered belly shirts, primitive jewelry, and inky ringlets.

Can anyone who knows the original Japanese tell me whether the kids call Anna anything special? I know they call Yuan Aniki, which is also what Gojyo-chan called Jien (and what Yakuza underlings call their mentor-types, right?).

Also, I like sanada's translation of Angelica's comment on Anthony – after Benitora says "Does he look like a bookworm to you?" – a lot better than the official one. sanada had her say "I know, he's really let himself go," but Tokyopop has "He rebelled a while back," which is bo-ring.

The big fight between Yuan and Hotaru was actually probably the scariest fight in the series for me, even though I theoretically knew how it came out. The effectiveness of Yuan's evil psycho soul-eater act on top of his martial arts prowess makes the reveal, when we find out it's all been a fake (well, not quite - he did want to challenge Hotaru's skills and will), really dramatic. And we'll certainly never think of that cutesy wittle kitty-pat quite the same way ... .

Meanwhile, I want to know where Kyoushirou got that sleazy-cute negligee for Yuya. I can't see Sakuya wearing it. What aren't you telling us, Kyoushirou?

Poor Akira! He always has to do it the hard way! I can't wait for the next volume (should be in the mail to me now!) because I believe this is his big scene coming up next.

ETA: meganbmoore reviewed vol. 30 here and vol. 31 here; magicnoire writes up vol. 30 here.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
Hey, Sakuya's been locked up there and elsewhere for AGES! You have no idea how bored she may have gotten! (And I have a much more pertinent comment regarding where that outfit likely came from, but it's spoilery.)

I still kind of have whiplash over the class bit with Akira (and how it's-likely unintentionally-reinforced with another character) but I covered that in my posts on the volumes.

I got Vol 32 in the mail today, but BotI comes first, and I'm not quite in the mood for manga ATM. (Such moods are prone to changing as soon as they are stated, though, and rarely last long...)
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
RightStuf shipped my Saiyuki Reload but they didn't ship my SDK 32. Since I've let my GotAnime membership lapse, I'm no longer important I guess!
Jan. 6th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)

Huh, and here I left Reload out of my current Amazon order because I was mainly ordering gifts for a family get-together this weekend and didn't want it to delay anything - it was listed as coming out later this week.

Was just re-reading your vol. 30 writeup ... I wonder what Ian's secret is to keeping her figure after that many kids? And I loved Julian's entrance at the end of 31!

Jan. 6th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
So apparently, I can't read. They did ship my SDK 32 with the Reload.
Jan. 6th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)

I edited it to put in links to your reviews, which I kept vaguely remembering as I wrote ... thanks for pinpointing the memory.

Yes, I can guess where he most logically got the, ummm, fetching little outfit, but that raises even worse questions!

I think we'll have to evaluate the Akira thing with what happens during the rest of the series. It's interesting that it comes up when they're with by far the most working-class group of Mibu we've seen, who are outcasts from the rest of their clan. I think also that we're meant to be outraged on Akira's behalf. He's the kid who manages to get on the team by hard work and mental effort despite having no innate ability, so his function in the story is as POV for the kids who can identify with that. And in your typical group of manga-reading teen boys (and girls), that's probably a pretty sizable (and very scrappy) group.

Yeah, I ordered BotI too! But I've been reading my beloved CJ Cherryh's latest big SF thing. Just finished my first run through last night ... .

I guess all the big Anthony fangirls were left behind when love_deeper turned to working through the Code Breaker scans? I like Anthony when he's being philosophical and professorly – the disjunction between what he's saying (which I always hear as being delivered with a thick Noo Joisy accent) and how he's looking is great. But his "power" mode is very, very freaky-looking.

Jan. 6th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I know we're meant to be outraged (obviously) but I don't think we're meant to be seeing the connection that others--non-Mibu--can seemingly walk up and be handed powers, apparently with no limit on how much they can be upped.

I like Anthony, but find him very difficult to look at.

ETA: And I think Kyoshiro was told the outfit was cute by someone who thought seeing Kyo react to it would be entertaining.

Edited at 2009-01-06 03:16 pm (UTC)
Jan. 11th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
The Hotaru/Yuan fight was awesome, but out of those volumes I loved the family scenes best, especially everyone having dinner together, and the flashbacks to Hotaru's first encounters with the family. And the chickie bowl :)
Yuya's non-existent clothes are a bit too much fanservice for me (like the time before the Chinmei fight when Kyo saved her from falling off that cliff), but oh well.

32 had me even more excited though, I've been waiting for Akira's big moment for so long... especially for the translation of those scenes with Kyo, before and during the fight. Really loved that volume.
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)

I wish there was some color art of Yuan's family ... if I had some more icon space, I'd love to make some icons for Anna and Angelica.

Vol. 32 was pure made-of-win. I loved the cavalry coming over the hill, so to speak, over and over again. I need to blog that one.

We still never do see exactly what happens with 14- or 15-yr-old Akira and his eyes, do we? There's some thing I've been dying to write, but I was waiting for some more background on him.

Yeah, I remember that scene with Yuya and the cliff ... poor Bon's remaining eye almost fell out! It does get a bit much ... .

Jan. 20th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
I thought there was some wallpapers of Yuan's family... or maybe that was just him and Anthony, not sure anymore. You could always try your hand at coloring yourself :) I tried it once with a pictures of Akira, and it didn't come out half bad (it was an easy pictures too though)

Yes, 32 was awesome, one of my favorites. But you're right, I wish we could've found out a little more about teenage Akira, why his eyes, and all that. Oh well, can't have everything I guess. But that volume still made me very happy :) Now I'm really looking forward to the Kyo/Fubuki/Hishigi battle.
Jan. 24th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)

The rest of the series is going to be such a rollercoaster ride. And in fact, you can't just call it a "Kyo/Fubuki/Hishigi" battle ... IIRC, it also involves a lot of the rest of the cast - and I just remembered that there's hardly anything else I can say about it without spoilers! But parts of it almost make me cry.

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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