Forewarning: I’ve managed to dodge spoilers for the last 8 volumes but for volume 9 and 10, I will be acting under the presumption that the reader has knowledge of the characters and events up to this point.
“Koremitsu Akagi shall judge the women of Lord Hikaru under the name of the Poppy.”
Very similar to the chain messages previously received, Koremitsu becomes increasingly worried as he goes over to check the girls Hikaru made promises with. After inquiring about the suspicious messages, Hikaru conveys his concern about more messages coming. Koremitsu dreads Hikaru’s prediction and previous matters regarding the confessions. Suddenly, his cellphone vibrates in his pocket. Reluctantly he opens the message to see:
“Koremitsu Akagi shall torch Yu Kanai alive under the name of the Poppy”
Welcome to Volume 9 of When Hikaru was on the Earth.
There are two areas that this volume covers in its plot: the unwavering conviction of love and the being that is Rokujō. Rokujō is the antagonist in the story, spreading the “seeds of discord” around Koremitsu’s harem. The reason why I said “Koremitsu’s harem” and not “Hikaru’s promised girls” is that the women indicated in the chain messages have fallen for him in some way and are directly involved. With the return of Koremitsu’s first love, Yu Kanai, the characters who are in love with him are forced to solidify their feelings, having another rival to compete with.
The volume “Rokujō” counteracts the “Yugao” volume, by bringing Yu back. However, Nomura’s execution of the character of Yu after she’s changed, adds a new and darker perspective on protection. Meanwhile, Honoka Shikibu provides a more positive outlook on that very same idea. Both of these characters affect Koremitsu and Hikaru in how they view women; and after eight volumes of perceiving one side of women, the two recognize the other side as well.
As for Rokujō, we get to look deeper into our antagonist of the story. Spread through the volume, we get small excerpts from “Rokujō” that look into her history and small implications of her motives during small interactions with characters until the “confession” chapter. Looking back on it, while we do get to see the character that makes up Rokujō, the content that makes up that character of Rokujō is surprisingly low and sudden. There’s a reason behind that odd phenomenon, but that gets revealed at the end of the volume.
The artwork in this volume has a foreboding and haunting effect to it, dying the color illustrations is various shades of crimson red and poppies. Aside from the distinct color scheme, the illustrations are the profiles of characters which are standard at this point.
The essence of Rokujō is developed and expanded in this volume, highlighting themes of jealousy and neglect. In addition, we get to see the concept of protection in contrast to independence applied to our characters.
Rating: Strongly Recommended
Author: Mizuki Nomura
Illustrator: Miho Takeoka
Fan Translator: Teh_ping