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Saiyuki Reload, Volume 8 by Kazuya Minekura
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Saiyuki Reload, Volume 8

by Kazuya Minekura

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The Sanzo party has split with Sanzo traveling alongside the mysterious bishop Hazel, and Hakkai, Gojyo, and Goku staying in a desert village populated entirely by youkai. Goku befriends a young female youkai and starts experiencing puberty. Meanwhile, the youkai village and the local human village start to butt heads over their shared source of water.

The focus in this volume in Goku and how he starts changing from a happy go lucky boy to a more responsible and aware young man. Now that he is split from Sanzo, he no longer has his safety blanket. You see him start to open up to other people and start making his own decisions. I really liked exploring this new side of Goku. Although I’m not normally a fan of the Obligatory Love Interest, especially the kind that exists only to further the development of one of the involved parties, I thought Goku’s interactions with the female youkai were touching.

In fact, I liked the female youkai. One thing I’ve always felt about Saiyuki is that it needs more strong female characters. Sanzo and co. are likable characters but they are so limited in what they represent. But diversity is a problem with a lot of manga, not just Saiyuki.

The political scuffle between the two villages was intriguing in its subversion of the normal human/youkai dynamic, but the mangaka skims over the actual fighting when it happens. I thought this wasn’t a good idea because it left me feeling unfulfilled, plot-wise. ( )
  veevoxvoom | Oct 11, 2008 |
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Sanzo has gone one way, and the rest of the party another, until they end up on opposite sides of a small mountain. The tension between the peaceful town of Youkai and the humans guarding the oasis has come to a head, and when things boil over, it's anyone's guess whose side the gang will join!… (more)

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