Mao vOl 3 by rumiko takahashi
Mao and Byoki's disembodied head square off in a battle that has been building for the last several volumes. Mao unleashes his other form, which looks very much like it could be Byoki's missing body. During the fight, Nanoka's younger self comes through the gate into the battle, and present day Nanoka begins to remember some of the flashes that traumatized her that day. Byoki realizes Nanoka could also be a vessel for his power, so he runs after her as she retreats back through the gate to her time. Mao releases an ayakashi and sends it after little Nanoka to protect her. Present day Nanoka returns to her time to sort out who the ayakashi is, and to determine who Byoki is in her life. Mao, meanwhile, must begin to sort out what happened to him hundreds of years ago when Byoki attacked, which is complicated by him discovering several other apprentices from hundreds of years ago are still alive when they should all be long dead.
Every time we discover another thing about this world or what happened to our main characters, we discover three more things that makes the mystery deepen! There are a lot of questions now about how Mao got this power and even about his master and the family he served 900 years ago. Nanoka is more of a minor character in this volume, with Takahashi instead favoring developing more of Mao's backstory. One minor annoyance to this storyline is how little time Nanoka spends in her own timeline, and how little she has to explain herself. She only goes back if she needs to look something up or if she needs to check on things, but there are major time jumps happening. Her friend only slightly freaks out about the time jumps when he sees her. Otherwise, he seems happy to be in her presence instead of questioning why he doesn’t see her for so long. Most readers will probably be fine skipping over that plot hole, especially in light of how much we finally learn about Mao in this volume.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
ISBN: 9781974720828 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Horror, Historical Fiction, Magic, VIZ Media
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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