The final volume in part 1 of this series, and it's quite a whirlwind! This entire story seems like it happens over the course of one day, and moves extremely quickly. In this volume, our heroines find all three Rune Gods and have to prove themselves worthy of their power. Each one has a showdown with another Zagato minion, and has to outsmart them as well as out-fight them. Through it all, the adorable Mokona guides them to every temple and conveniently hides during every battle. Then, it's time for the final showdown with Zagato, and a twist ending you most likely will not see coming!
While there are three more books after this, volume 3 is the end of the 1st arc of the story, so there is a bit of finality to it. I get a little nostalgic after reading this volume, and I'm always saddened that there isn't more to this arc. Part 2 is a decent story, but it's not nearly as strong as Part 1.
My favorite character in this series has to be Mokona, followed closely by Hikaru. As the main character, you're supposed to like Hikaru, but how can you not find this little guy adorable?? Mokona has served as the guide and pack mule for our trio. He store everything you'd need for any sort of trip in the jewel in his head. In the Anime adaptation, the story is stretched out just a bit more, and the girls have to make camp overnight. Sure enough, a little
house and all their provisions is all in Mokona's jewel. Mokona and Umi also have a love-hate relationship. She hates that Mokona disappears just when the going-gets-tough, and she's determined to figure out where he goes and why he's so fluffy. This is one of my favorite panels, when Mokona gets super serious and scares Umi.
This series is full of fun moments, whether it's Umi chasing Mokona, Hikaru drawn with fox ears when she's overly innocent or clueless, or Presia fantasizing about the punishments she'll doll out to those messing up her study. There are also some really great conversations that come about with some of the villains, particularly in this volume, that give this story a different spin on the trope of good-guy-vs-bad-guy.
This is a beautiful series, not overly long at 6 volumes total, but it can be difficult to find outside of this 25th Anniversary collector's edition (which is pretty pricy!). Until it gets a reprint in a standard volume, this might be a series that sits on a To-Purchase pile for a while.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 5-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, Magical Girl, Isekai
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