Tale of the Waning Moon Volume 4 Manga Review

Just a warning to start that the contents of this manga are not suited to everyone containing explicit (and sometimes graphic) sexual non-consensual relationships between male characters. While I have included no images below, the story content will be discussed.

Overview:

The final volume of this series and one that concludes Ryuka’s journey to the moon to find Ixto. Also where we will find out whether it is love or really just a spell. My reviews of the previous 3 volumes can be found here.

Review:

I’m going to get my one and only real criticism out of the way so that I can then focus on what a great conclusion to the adventure this volume was. What is that criticism? The prologue to this volume which sees Widow helping Ryuka and Coon collect the last items needed to open the door to the moon. No real problem with them wrapping up the fetch quest, however they felt the need to include one of those random trees that appear in these sorts of stories that for some reason have vines that wrap themselves around the hero and well, they didn’t get a lot further here but they certainly suggested the possibility.

Given the rest of the volume pretty much dealt with the characters’ actual emotions and feelings and their relationship that had been built up over three volumes and this adventure across the desert and back again and again collecting what was needed before travelling to the moon, it just felt so out of place and such a throw back to the first sequence where the main character was raped. Maybe they are worried they’ll lose readers if they actually just let the story be sweet because it seemed like one of these types of scenes cropped up any time things actually looked like they might settle into mature and sensible romance.

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However, that is literally my only complaint of substance about this. Volume three wrapped by Aldin and Ral’s story though Ryuka does make good on his promise to fill Aldin in when he returned the dragon’s breath, so they get a brief cameo toward the end of this volume. Without their distraction, we turn our attention fully to the moon spirits and Ryuka.

All the way through this story Ixto has been a bit of an enigma. You kind of want to hate him at first because of how Ryuka meets him but time and again he’s helped Ryuka out (though I guess you could point out Ryuka wouldn’t have needed to be rescued so often if it wasn’t for Ixto’s spell in the first place). This volume fleshes him out as we learn about his family and his history. We also get to find out whether Ixto’s spell really did cause all of this or whether Ryuka genuinely has fallen in love at this stage.

Widow, who also started off as a character that we probably could have done without, becomes someone of genuine interest here and while he does add in an unneeded complication, for the most part his contributions to the story this volume are quite welcome.

On that note, Coon also finally gets a cool moment for about two seconds before turning back into the whiny little moon-cat that he is. But still, at least he got his moment.

I’m not going into spoiler territory so I’m not going to say anything more about what actually happens. What I am happy about is that the story does resolve itself nicely and everything feels complete. Despite a few scenes that I’d rather have not walked into unprepared (and I was unprepared back in volume 1) I ended up really enjoying Ryuka’s story. I’d definitely recommend reading it provided you won’t be put off by male on male sexual relationships. sometimes quite explicit (though there’s definitely worse out there) and the ongoing issue of non-consensual sex which comes up in most of the books a couple of times at least. Ultimately I’d say it was a sweet romance except that I just can’t use that as a final conclusion to any romance that starts with a rape.

If you’ve read this series, I’d love to know your thoughts on it.


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Karandi James.

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Tale of the Waning Moon Volume 3 Manga Review

Just a warning to start that the contents of this manga are not suited to everyone containing explicit (and sometimes graphic) sexual non-consensual relationships between male characters. While I have included no images below, the story content will be discussed.

My review of Volume 1 can be found here. Volume 2 was review here.

Review – Some plot spoilers:

A good half of this book is devoted to wrapping up Aldin and Ral’s story with Ryuka and Ixto assisting or being sidelined. That isn’t so much a problem because Aldin and Ral’s story has been interesting from the beginning and it makes sense that their story should conclude before we get to the end of Ixto and Ryuka’s story. A lot of this is closely tied up with Aldin’s family and the relationship between Aldin and his two brothers and while it is a distraction from the journey to the moon it is compelling in its own way. I’m a little dissatisfied that even after overcoming the spell they still have to be apart for the next three years but at least there is now a solid chance for them to build a life together in the future, so that was actually kind of nice.

Plot however is a tricky thing. You need complications to keep things interesting and sometimes that involves characters doing stupid things. Ixto steps right into that in this book with an action he takes to allow Ryuka to help Aldin and Ral out. It is kind of obvious from Coon’s reaction (the moon cat) that Ixto shouldn’t do what he does and yet he does it anyway and as another character points out later Ixto volunteered. No one even asked him to do it because if he hadn’t suggested it, they wouldn’t have even known it was an option.

This creates a complication and for the first time since the story began we see that Ryuka is completely cut off from Ixto’s influence and still chooses to make the journey to the moon, though with the usual self-denial of these stories where he doesn’t openly admit he has actually grown to love Ixto but more he wants to punch him for some stupid reason. Ryuka also enters into a fairly stupid deal in order to achieve this goal and I’m really quite concerned about how that is going to play out.

As much as I enjoy this story and am looking forward to the fourth book, sometimes these standard tropes just make you roll your eyes.

Now as for the warning label, this book brings us a reasonably consensual and yet slightly coerced scene between Ixto and Ryuka. Ixto aware he probably isn’t coming back decides to make the most of his potential last time seeing Ryuka. We then get another Ryuka gets abducted moment by a guy who very graphically describes what he’d love to do to Ryuka (thanks for some of that imagery) but fortunately doesn’t get very far before he is forcibly stopped. Compare to book 1 it is fairly tame but it is about the same as book 2 and might still rub some people the wrong way.

All and all, the overall story remains on track. Ryuka is still trying to find true love and is journeying to the moon where Ixto is waiting. The friends he met along the way were helped to a kind of happy ending and now there’s just one major obstacle left to overcome (and a whole bunch of little ones). I still like Ryuka as a character and while some of the content is a bit confronting, the story is kind of sweet, though clearly not a manual for healthy relationships at this point.

If you’ve read it I’d love to know your thoughts but please don’t spoil the ending because I’m getting to the next book very soon.


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If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Karandi James.

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Tale of the Waning Moon Volume 2 Manga Review

Just a warning to start that the contents of this manga are not suited to everyone containing explicit (and sometimes graphic) sexual non-consensual relationships between male characters. While I have included no images below, the story content will be discussed.

My review of Volume 1 can be found here.

Review:

Well despite the warning there, volume 2 is decidedly tame by comparison to volume 1 in terms of what it actually depicts. It is problematic in that Ryuka is more or less clearly surrendering to the idea that he is falling in love with Ixto (you know, moon spirit who raped him and then essentially put a spell on him forcing him to find his way to the moon) but if you ignored that premise, volume 2 is actually kind of sweet. Ryuka’s working hard to find his way and to overcome obstacles, and Ixto is doing what he can to ensure not too many obstacles fall in his path. If their actions stemmed from a different starting point it would be sweet.

So to get it out of the way, this particular volume does have non-consensual sex going on yet again between unnamed characters who have been kidnapped and brainwashed by another former resident of the moon who now lives inside a cave and spirits away young men. This situation isn’t actually stopped or even dealt with in the story, it is merely a setting our main characters come across but they are rapidly kicked out and then the story moves on, but it is still fairly graphic for the short moment the characters cross paths with this scene. I’m kind of hoping somewhere down the line there’s a reason this character and this place even exist because otherwise the main characters literally gained nothing by the encounter and it did nothing to progress the plot. Still, given the one they met came from the moon and his place is inside the cave where the sealed portal to the moon is kept, I’m guessing this might become more important later in the story.

However, for Ryuka we have a fetch quest this book. Basically after reaching the portal to the moon, the pull that has been directing him to find Ixto kind of fades but he still can’t get through the door. Fortunately (and conveniently) there’s a list of items on the door that Ryuka will need to gather in order to open it and despite not really being compelled anymore, Ryuka becomes fairly determined to track them down.

He’s still accompanied by Aldin and the horse/man Ral. When asked why Aldin is still journeying with them, given he now knows that Ral and himself have been cursed, he points out he doesn’t know¬† how to get rid of the curse and he may as well stay with Ryuka while looking for a way to fix the situation. In honesty, these two get very little development this book, though the final part of the story has the group return to Aldin’s home as one of the objects they need is a family heirloom (again with convenience) and it kind of looks like their story is going to be dealt with in earnest fairly soon so I’m kind of looking forward to that.

It is however an odd way to tell an adventure story with the cahracters having crossed the desert to get to the portal and then crossing the desert again, and encountering the bandits again, in order to retrieve all the items they need. Honestly, it feels like stretching content to have not told them in the first place that before you get to the door you will need x, y, z. More importantly, it just means bringing back characters and settings we’ve kind of already seen and the second encounter with the bandits was no more meaningful than the first.from volume 1.

Despite the fairly meandery plot, I’m liking how Ryuka is shaping up as a character and despite my misgivings about him actually falling in love with Ixto, I can’t help but want the two of them to end up together at this point. Though, I sort of suspect things are going to get worse before they get better for the two of them.

Anyway, I have the third volume ready to read, so I’ll get to it soon and write my thoughts then. If you’ve read this series I’d love to know your thoughts.


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If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Karandi James.

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Tale of the Waning Moon Volume 1 Manga Review

Just a warning to start that the contents of this manga are not suited to everyone containing explicit (and sometimes graphic) sexual non-consensual relationships between male characters. While I have included no images below, the story content will be discussed.

Overview:

Ryuka is out of luck in love having just lost his girlfriend to some rich guy and has decided to drown his sorrows. After a night of drinking he climbs a hill and while musing to himself makes a wish for someone to genuinely love who will love him in return. So appears Ixto, the spirit of the last quarter moon, who tries to grant Ryuka’s wish but every option provided is a guy. After Ryuka rejects these choices, Ixto then casts a spell on Ryuka which causes him to embark on a journey to chase after Ixto.

Review:

This one was recommended to be as a fun BL read and given I had a discount from the Book Depository, I decided to give it a go when I made my last order of books. I don’t read a lot of manga and I don’t overly like the format but every now and then it can be fun. I wasn’t quite expecting this to be as explicit as it was, though I guess it is still kind of tame compared to some stories. Basically the very first page opens with the rape of the main character by the spirit who is apparently going to be the love interest so if that is going to be an issue, maybe save yourself the trouble and not go here.

Admittedly, even I wondered at that point if I’d make it to the end of the first volume. What surprised me then was how much I ended up liking Ryuka as a character. Okay, every guy he meets is either the moon spirit who definitely just wanting to attack him, the cat boy who is acting as his guide, but also tries to attack him, or numerous male travellers, who mostly also end up trying to kidnap him or take advantage of him, but he’s actually kind of an interesting character. I’m not buying him falling in love with Ixto given how they met, but much like my previous encounter with Junjou Romantica (that essentially started with one character forcing himself on another), if I kind of try to ignore how they met, future interactions are kind of sweet. Still, really unhealthy from any kind of standard measurement for relationship foundations, but sweet.

Where this story shines though is in the adventure and world building aspects. We don’t learn a lot about Ixto in this first volume but it is clear there’s a lot going on behind the curse and the rules Ixto has to follow. He can’t help Ryuka unless Ryuka directly calls his name. Ryuka is drawn in the direction of Ixto but can choose to go another direction (though that usually leads to disaster fairly quickly). Ixto is also concerned about others noticing when he does break one of the rules so I’m kind of curious about how that aspect of the story will develop.

Ryuka’s journey takes him through cities, across the desert, and he meets various characters along the way. Aldin and Ral are a great addition to the cast and clearly have their own very complicated back story (given Ral is cursed so is a horse during the day but can now retake his human form at night). For various reasons they continue to travel with Ryuka and Coon (the cat boy), and I’d also really like to know more about their past and how they ended up in their situation, which I am sure they would like to given they don’t remember either.

Of course, the volume barely manages ten pages before someone tries to pin Ryuka down, tear his clothes off, or makes some kind of unwanted advance and I’ll admit this aspect was kind of wearing thin by the end. Also, the absence of females from this story. They are travelling, staying at inns, getting lifts from strangers, etc, etc, and yet every single person they encounter is male and interested in Ryuka. They were kind of pushing credibility the way most harem anime do where every female character just falls hopelessly and completely irrationally in love with the generic male lead.

I should probably comment on the art given it is a manga but as I said earlier, I don’t read a lot of manga so I don’t have much to compare it with. I really liked the look of the characters here and found it really easy to follow and read. There’s a lot of panels that are just close ups of faces and the few action sequences are pretty straight forward. So, no real complaints with it visually, but again I don’t have much to compare it with.

Still, I finished volume and immediately set about seeing what else the book depository had available and discovered that the third and fourth volumes were on sale and I had another 10% discount voucher sitting in my email so I’ve ordered the next three volumes to find out where the story goes, so I clearly had more fun with it than cringe worthy moments.


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If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Karandi James.

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