Manga Review: Kizuna (vol 7)

"I never thought I'd grow to love you this much when we first met, Enjyoji.  But now that we're together...  Now that we're married...  Nothing will ever pull us apart." - Ranmaru

This volume of Kizuna picks up a little bit after where we left off in volume 6.  Kei is still recovering in the hospital after being rescued from Koga, and he and Ran are surprised by a sudden visit from Kei's father, the boss of the Sagano gang.  Although Sagano doesn't understand the full extent of his son's relationship, he is very thankful to Ran for saving Kei, and offers them a trip to a hot spring resort as a chance for them to recuperate and to pay a visit to Kei's mother's grave.  When Kai finds out about the trip, and that Masa is going along to provide protection, he invites himself along.  Needless to say, Kei is none to happy about this, as he was planning on using the trip as his and Ran's honeymoon and doesn't want his little brother tagging along.  At the resort, Kei and Ran find that they have less privacy than they thought they would, and it's not even Kai that keeps getting in their way.  Kai has other things on his mind, and as the honeymooners try to find moments alone to be romantic together, he spends his time trying to get Masa to admit that he has feelings for him.

Kizuna is one of my absolute favorite series.  The characters are great, the relationships are believable, the humor is amusing, the drama is real, the story is intriguing...  I just love everything about it, and I think the series gets better and better with every volume.  And although I did enjoy the JB/Tashiro story in the last book, it was nice to get back to the main characters again in this one.  This book has a ton of memorable scenes, from Kai trying to get his father to believe that Ran was gay to Ran making Kei choose if he really wanted him to say that he loved him or not.  (That scene never fails to amuse me!)  And can I just say how happy it makes me to see Ran and Kei wearing their rings?  So unbelievably cute.  It was also nice to see Ran come to a decision about his kendo career, and to see the flashback scenes from when Kai and Kei were little.  And I also really like how the author doesn't forget about past things that happened.  It's now been two books since Kei was shot, and Ranmaru is still worrying over it, and in this book he thanked Masa for stopping him from killing Koga.  Even though that was only in the last volume, it's not often enough in manga that characters talk about things that happened in previous books.

It is really impressive to reach volume 7 of a series and still have the story going as strong as ever.  It is also neat to see how the art style has changed and evolved over the course of the series.  It is such a shame that BeBeautiful is having such problems getting the rest of the books released, because they have some of the best yaoi series licensed and for now they are all incomplete.  It's really annoying when other companies continue to put out one mediocre book after another while series like Kizuna are just hanging in limbo.  [Update: June has licensed Kizuna and are re-releasing the series!]  I love reading the longer series, because they are so much deeper and more engaging than one-shots, and Kizuna continues to be one of my favorite ones.

- Liz