Loveless Volumes 1-10 by Yun Kouga

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I’m gonna make this a series-so-far overview since all of my reviews are incredibly short. Plus, I think the story – and the covers! The covers! – can speak for itself so long as all you do is begin readin’ it. :]

Aoyagi Ritsuka is a troubled 6th grader.

Two years ago, he mysteriously lost his memory and developed an alternate personality. His mother constantly berates (and occasionally beats) him, asking what happened to the “real” Ritsuka, and his only defender and friend, his older brother Seimei, was recently killed.

Suddenly, Seimei’s friend, Soubi, appears. Soubi tells him that Ritsuka’s true name is “Loveless,” and that Soubi was assigned by Seimei to take care of Ritsuka and protect him. Ritsuka soon gets sucked into a bizarre underground society where teams of people, a “Fighter Unit,” and a “Sacrifice,” battle using elaborate and beautifully-phrased spells.

He seeks both acceptance of himself, and the answer to the mystery of who killed his brother and why.

Loveless Vol. 1 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 1 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #1

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

When 12-year-old Ritsuka discovers a posthumous message from his brother Seimei indicating he was murdered, he becomes involved in a shadowy world of spell battles and secret names. Together with the mysterious Soubi, the search to find Seimei’s killer and uncover the truth begins!

But in a world where mere words have unbelievable power, how can you find true friendship and happiness when your very name is Loveless?

So many elements of Loveless come together in this first volume that make it a pleasure to read over and over and over again–the relationship dynamics, the worldbuilding, the characters, the dialogue, the illustration, the subject matter… Kouga Yun’s drawing style is mouthwatering, and Loveless is one of my favorite manga for its aesthetic and concrete qualities.

Loveless Vol. 2 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 2 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #2

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

As Ritsuka continues to mourn the loss of his brother Seimei, he endures abuse at home, bullying at school, and the threat of new assassins on his tracks. Can he sort through it all and unlock the secret behind Seimei’s death?

I don’t have much more to say expect that it’s beautiful as usual, and I am so in love with this series that it approaches ridiculousness. :]

Loveless Vol. 3 by Yun KougaLoveless Volume 3 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #3

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a grueling battle against the powerful Zeros, Soubi is badly injured, and in spite of his training, the pain almost too much to bear. He goes to see Ritsuka, but Soubi’s erratic behavior and unpredictable emotions take over, and he abruptly storms away before Ritsuka can care for him. Ritsuka is left tormented and confused…but the mystery behind the death of his older brother is about to take an unbelievable turn. Ritsuka finally decodes the message left by Sleepless and goes to meet one of the members of Septimal Moon!

In this volume, the plot thickens in new and interesting ways, further still cementing my love for the series, the characters and the universe, not to exclude Kouga’s illustrative as well as storytelling mastery.

Loveless Vol. 4 by Yun KougaLoveless Volume 4 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #4

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Soubi unexpectedly meets two new Zero warriors Koya and Yamato, who leave him badly wounded. A concerned Ritsuki asks Natsuo and Yoji to teach Soubi about the relationship between a Fighter Unit and the Sacrifice.

New characters enter this volume, and some old characters get some further still expansion. I’m literally runnin’ out of ways to illustrate how wonderful, multifaceted and marvelous this universe of Kouga’s creation is. At this point, it remains among my favorite manga, highly recommended by yours truly.

Loveless Vol. 5 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 5 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #5

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ritsuka skips school so he can stay up late talking to Nana through Wisdom Resurrection. As a shocking truth is revealed, Ritsuka has faith in his brother and his love for him, but evidence is building that Seimeis fate might not have been what Ritsuka believed it to be.

Kouga’s talent knows no bounds. She always keeps her mind on progression of the storyline without ever once sacrificing character depth and conflict, as well as subplots and illustrations. I can sense a minor shift in style in this volume along with a glance into some new characters’ lives as well as a token glimpse into the most conflicted character of all’s head, Ritsuka’s mother. As always, spellbinding and awing.

Loveless Vol. 6 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 6 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #6

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

The secret behind Seimei’s disappearance and apparent death begins to be unveiled…and the consequences are devastating to both Ritsuka and Soubi. Later, Nisei privately reveals an even more shocking truth to Soubi, which shakes the Fighter to the core–and Misaki’s abuse of Ritsuka escalates to the point where it can no longer be ignored by those around him. But a second meeting with Ritsu-sensei may send Ritsuka down a new path to find his destiny!

Deepening intricacies and heartbreaking characterization make this volume a worthy addition to my favorite manga series.

Loveless Vol. 7 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 7 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #7

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Soubi is proud of his scars and takes Ritsuka to see Septimal Moon. As an outsider, however, Kio is not allowed in the Seven Voices Academy, so only Soubi and Ritsuka enter. What do they find when they enter–and what will happen to them?

Shiny new characters and thickening convolutions. The complexities of this series never fail to astound me. I am floored by the beauty of it all.

Loveless Vol. 8 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 8 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #8

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

How can you find happiness when your very name is Loveless?

Seimei is back with a vengeance, and it’s Beloved vs. Beloved as Nisei and Soubi match up for the battle of a lifetime! Soubi’s past with Ritsu-sensei is finally revealed, and Ritsuka will have to decide once and for all what his true feeling about his mysterious (and malevolent?) older brother are, not to mention where his loyalties lie!

I can tell this is where things started getting strange for me the last time around I read these. I think this is when Kouga was going through a lull or something because it definitely shows in the amount of story progression (of which, there really isn’t much). Volume 9 doesn’t look too much better, but I’m almost done playing catch-up, so we shall see about that.

Loveless Vol. 9 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 9 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #9

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

When his beloved older brother is brutally murdered, Ritsuka is heartbroken but determined to search for answers. His only lead is Soubi, a mysterious, handsome college student who offers him an intimate link to his brother’s other life: a dark and vibrant world of spell battles and secret names. Will Ritsuka’s relationship with Soubi ultimately lead to the truth or further down the rabbit hole than he imagined possible?

Seimei is very much alive and has torn through the Seven Voices Academy like a whirlwind. As Septimal Moon struggles to right itself and keep its secrets from spilling out, a new enemy takes center stage: the unit named “Bloodless” wages a crippling psychological war, ending battles without spilling a single drop of blood. Yet Ritsuka and Soubi must emerge victorious against them—or lose Kio.

Yeah, this was a pretty huge letdown for me as a fan. The art was rushed, the storyline was perfunctory and even the characters seemed stiff as cardboard. I don’t know what happened to the magic in this volume, but I hope it comes back. Things seem to get stranger and stranger with no real rhyme or reason.

Loveless Vol. 10 by Yun KougaLoveless, Volume 10 by Yun Kouga

Series: Loveless #10

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

[No synopsis available.]

So the first half felt weak and meandering, limp on the drawing aspect and lazy on the story progression. This is the first volume I’ve ever skimmed through. Although I will say in the last half, it picked up a bit and got going again. The art could still use some help to restore it back to its former glory (it came across as rushed… maybe?), and with the introduction of new characters as well as further intricacy to the plot, development on both fronts suffers. However, stuff did happen, and that is a nowhere near as bad a crime as wasting readers’ time with fluff.

I hate that Ritsuka’s mother was reduced back to one dimension (abuser) in the fray, though. Youji and Natsuo’s flagrant not-shit-giving fun won me over in the end, in addition to Soubi’s tortured confessions to Ritsuka as they continue to bond closer and more intimately. I do miss that part of their relationship, and it has been missing for quite some time, so to see Ritsuka and Soubi really be together for the first time in so long was really gratifying for me. I look forward to what Kouga has in mind for their future, with the one reservation that the art please take steps to revert to its flourish and grandeur from previous volumes. It’s one of my favorite elements of the series and the experience that is Loveless.


One thought on “Loveless Volumes 1-10 by Yun Kouga

    Flutter by Gina Linko « Caps Lock Thinks said:
    20 January 2014 at 847

    […] or conflict. (Think: Anna Dressed in Blood, Strange Angels, The Demon’s Apprentice, Loveless, Volume 1. All come very highly recommended from me, by the […]

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