Tamaki Nozomu‘s Hakodate Youjin Buraichou Himegami (which I shall henceforth refer to as Himegami) is an impressively illustrated action story that also exceeded my expectations in terms of storytelling. The last two volumes were a thrilling climax and conclusion with a number of great moments that I’ll be getting into below.
First, I want to talk about my favorite part, which took place in the early chapters of volume 4. In this part, Hyou-chan gets overwhelmed with power and goes on a killing rampage, during which her personality changes into a far more honest and sadistic counterpart to herself. The whole bit called back to what I discussed in my last post about Hyou-chan’s facial expressions by introducing a new set of them that exemplified her change in personality.
At first, her face is hidden – it’s clearly different, but unclear how.
Face still hidden, she alludes to the fact that something has changed within her. The blood splattered all over her serves to enhance the drama and feeling of insanity during the coming scene.
Here, it becomes quite clear that she’s snapped. If you look back at my post on the first chapter, you’ll see that she hardly resembles her former self.
Hyou-chan’s always been easily annoyed and talks like a punk, but this face is a step up from “knock it off,” saying something more like “you wanna die?!”
More murderous rage. This face is a twist on one that she makes often – Hyou-chan’s always gritting her teeth and wrinkling her brow, but her eyes here are wide and wild like a beast.
Here, her emotions go totally out of control. Her rage and her sorrow are mixing together, and a deep honesty is seething through. With these faces, she shows exactly what she’s feeling in each fleeting moment. Even her ever-present ass is showing signs of her wavering heart!
These are all sarcastic faces with painfully fake smiles that Hyou-chan would never, ever wear.
Between these two panels, her sarcastic smile actually becomes sincere. She really does want Himegami to see this power, even if her perception of it is misguided.
After a few pages of laying herself bare, Hyou-chan is shown at her most desperate and pathetic, broken-hearted and begging for forgiveness from the only person she still has any faith in.
At this point, she’s let everything out, and she’s finally at critical mass. Her face’s shape disappears from any semblance of humanity.
She finally reaches the crown peak of insanity. I especially love the way her face dissolves into the blood on her scarf in the lower panel.
When Himegami finally appears, her emotions come back and her face becomes more human, though still not Hyou-like. It’s basically like that throughout the rest of the scene.
…and then she gets bitchslapped by Himegami lol.
The best part is that Hyou-chan’s face doesn’t just revert back to normal after all of this is over. She shows a range of emotions in the next few scenes…
…and then she becomes more mature after this point, exhibiting a lot more grown-up, determined, and noble expressions throughout…
…and she becomes more honest with her emotions.
I found the evolution of Hyou’s character very interesting, and I don’t think just any artist could’ve used facial expressions to draw that curve so expertly. Himegami has definitely heightened my interest in Tamaki’s other works, such as Dance in the Vampire Bund.
Since this’ll be my last post on Himegami, I’ll take this chance to share some of my favorite moments from the manga~
(Images taken from solelo (Wings of Yuri)‘s scanslation)