The Water Dragon's Bride Graphic Novel Volume 8 cover image
Rated “T” for “Teen”
Modern-day girl Asahi is pulled into a pond and is whisked to a strange and mysterious new land. She meets a boy, Subaru, the son of a prominent family from a nearby village, but his mother immediately dislikes Asahi and plots to sacrifice her to the god of the Great Lake. The Water Dragon God wants Asahi to be his wife, and though she refuses, some locals still see her as a priestess.
As The Water Dragon's Bride, Vol. 8 (Chapters 29 to 32) opens, Asahi is trapped in a realm of shadow and darkness. Kurose, a boy from Asahi's world, is using Tokoyami, the god of darkness, to take over this world. Kurose is trying to force Asahi to be his ally, and if she continues to refuse, she will be trapped in darkness and will eventually decay. Meanwhile, the Water Dragon God and Subaru unite to save her... although they really don't like each other.
Plus, the history of Kurose is revealed. It is a tale of bullying, unrequited love, war, and loss.
[This volume includes the four-panels comics, “The Water Dragon God's Chill Zone” and bonus pages.]
THE LOWDOWN: The Water Dragon's Bride manga can sometimes suffer from a sense of sameness. Sometimes, this tale of gods and worship can surprise, however.
The Water Dragon's Bride Graphic Novel Volume 8 is one of those surprises. Creator Rei Toma uses most of the chapters that comprise Vol. 8 to deal with the story of Kurose, and it is a tale so morose that its darkness seems to overwhelm the story of the series' main focus, Asahi. But that isn't a bad thing at all. It makes for good reading, in part because of Abby Lehrke's emotional English adaptation.
Kurose's story does not make him a victim or a hero, but Toma does offer an interesting view of a person who seems to have trouble adapting to social circumstances. This engaging character study is one of the things that makes The Water Dragon's Bride sometimes rise above itself.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of Rei Toma will want to try the “Shojo Beat” title, The Water Dragon's Bride.