The Water Dragon's Bride Graphic Novel Volume 9 cover image
Rated “T” for “Teen”
Asahi is a modern-day girl who is pulled into a pond and is whisked away 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. 9 (Chapters 33 to 36) opens, Kurose, a boy from Asahi's world, plots with Tokoyami, the god of darkness, to take over this world. Kurose is tragically easy for Tokoyami to manipulate. The first move in their conspiracy is to replace, Asahi's friend, Lord Yukihara, the boy emperor of Naga, with Kogahiko, an older rival who covets the throne. Meanwhile, the Water Dragon God worries about Asahi remaining in this world, which makes him vulnerable to Tokoyami's powers.
[This volume includes the four-panels comics, “The Water Dragon God's Chill Zone” and bonus pages.]
THE LOWDOWN: I have previously noted that The Water Dragon's Bride manga can sometimes suffer from a sense of sameness. Sometimes, it seems stuck on a girl and a local god.
The Water Dragon's Bride Graphic Novel Volume 9, like Vol. 8, is out to offer surprises. Creator Rei Toma twists her sweet narrative, which is only occasionally dark, and takes it deep into the dark side. The story is full of mindless drone-like villagers who are almost comically superstitious, but who are easily manipulated into committing acts of violence. There is a naive young emperor-wannabe who does not have a clue as to the real powers behind his ill-gotten throne. It is as if Toma has decided to force her characters to start to be honest about themselves
Abby Lehrke's emotional English adaptation is an engaging read. Monaliza de Asis uses gentle lettering to carry us into this edgier side of the story, as we head toward the series' conclusion.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of Rei Toma will want to try the “Shojo Beat” title, The Water Dragon's Bride.