Captive Hearts Vol. 3

CAPTIVEHAERTS03What’s on the back: Megumi sets out for China to find a cure for his curse, but it appears that even his health worsens if he is away from his master. Meanwhile, a maid in the Kogami household swears to make Megumi hers!

Review: The story seems to be improving with each volume, but the silliness continues to become more apparent.

Megumi sets off to China to find clues that would rid him of his curse. Suzuka has to stay at home because she still has school. Now here’s what silly: the moment Megumi sets his foot in China, he becomes severly sick, and had to return home quickly. It turns out that after a certain distance away from Suzuka, Megumi could die. Now I know this is a manga. But isn’t this a bit ridiculous? Dying because he’s away from his master? Megumi’s dad is okay with traveling far, so why is he such a weakling? I can see why Keito despise this curse. It makes her son unable to have the freedom to do whatever he wants, even if it benefits his master, Suzuka.

We get to see Suzuka being a bit more outspoken with her feelings for Megumi, after a rival maid comes and declares that she loves Megumi. I do feel sorry for Rui, who in Megumi’s eyes use to be the replacement for Suzuka, when she went missing. Rui accepts that she use to be a substitute for Suzuka, but deeply inside she still loves Megumi very much. From the very beginning, we can already tell that Rui is a doomed character. It’s already established that Megumi and Suzuka is a couple. So I don’t even see why she’s even trying under these circumstances. But I do applaud Suzuka for telling Rui her true feelings, and that she would never give up Megumi.

The big winner for this volume though is the story of Megumi’s and Suzuka’s ancestors. It’s probably the best part of the whole series. Remember in volume two, when the psychic told Megumi and Suzuka that the curse was made from love? It turns out that it was true. The basis of the story is that, a theif (Megumi’s ancestor) attempted to steal the dragon scroll, which could grant wishes. But instead, he ended up grabbing the scroll and it’s princess (Suzuka’s ancestor) who wished dearly that a man could come and save her from her destiny of marrying a man she doesn’t love. In the end though, she chose to protect her family. The thief let her go, but he kept the dragon scroll for himself. Already smitten by the thief,  the princess tells him, he must not open the scroll or he will die. The thief listens to the princess and doesn’t open the scroll. He gave the scroll to one of his comrades, and the poor man opens the scroll and dies instantly. Realizing that the princess saved his life, he decided to come back and claim the princess for his own. But unfortunately, he came at the wrong time. The Princess betrothed aim the arrow at the thief, but the princess leaped in front of the arrow and died in the thief’s arms. At this moment the Dragon God appeared and told the thief that he would resurrect the princess, on one condition: his ancestors will have too serve the Kogami family for 100 generations. Because of the gap in social standing, the thief and the princess never actually got together. But, they loved each other for the rest of their lives.

At the end of the volume, there was a short story about Christmas. I found it odd because I’m reading it in  boiling hot weather. It was a cute story, nothing special about it though. But I could tell that it was probably one of Matsuri-sensei’s older works because the art seems dated.

I was glad that there were some character developments this volume, but as of right now, this manga is just decent. Nothing is really popping out. The only thing I liked about the volume, was actually the story about the ancestors. It was a nice addition, It would have been nice as a series of it’s own! For me right now, Megumi and Suzuka’s relationship is just blah. I say forget about this curse and just try to live with it. Instead of focusing on trying to get rid of the curse, just focus more on loving each other.

Final Thoughts: This volume was better than the last, but the only reason was because of the side stories. As of now, I could say that the story is decent, nothing special. But who knows, by the end of this series, I might be wowed.

Overall Grade: C+

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Captive Hearts Vol. 2

CAPTIVEHAERTS02What’s on the back: Megumi decides he wants to become a formal servant of the Kogami family so he can be worthy of Suzuka’s love. But when wealthy heir Hiryu arrives to claim Suzuka as his bride, can Megumi even compete?

Review: For the past few months, I’ve already collected the complete set of captive hearts. But it took me this long to get into volume two, simply because I thought that the first volume wasn’t that great. I kind of regret it now, because volume two wasn’t half bad. It’s not one of Matsuri Hino’s best series, but it definitely not unreadable.

The basic story of Captive Hearts consists of 1/4 rich heiress, 1/4 curse ridden/reluctant man servant and a 1/2 of a cup of quirky parents. Man, I got to tell you, Megumi’s parents just make me burst out laughing, since they are so weird! His dad is kind of dopey, and his mom is an Interpol officer, that bursts out crying because she thinks Megumi hates her. There was a short one shot at the end of the volume that explains Megumi’s childhood. Apparently, Megumi grew up, not realizing that Keito, who he claims is a crazy monster, is actually his Mother. He kinds of regret it now, because his Mom is simply crazy.

Megumi learns to accept that he is eternally attached to Suzuka as a man servant for the rest of his life. He even starts to fall for Suzuka. But Suzuka is very determined to help Megumi get rid of his curse because she wish for Megumi to have freedom. A lot of obstacles are thrown at the budding couple, such as a million wealthy suitors, notely, wealthy heir Hiryu. It also doesn’t help that Hiryu’s guardian is also a distant relative of Suzukas, which of course Megumi also has to obey.

The second half of the volume, consist of the introduction of a new character: Megumi’s mother, Keito. She doesn’t come home for a vacation though. She is out to arrest a human slave trafficker, who happened to kidnapped Suzuka when she was younger. We also get to me Arj, who was a childhood friend of Suzuka, who was also captured by the trafficker. It was thanks to Arj, that Suzuka was able to escape her fate of becoming a slave.

My most favourite part of the manga, was near the end of the volume. Megumi’s dad picked up his mother and tells her “It’s true that Master was important to me, but you’re the only one I really love. You’re the only one I’ve held in my arms like this, my princess.” I never imagine getting to see an older man confessing his love to his wife in a shoujo manga. It was nice to see another form of love.

There was a great improvement in the storyline. I feel like I could connect with the characters a little more this volume. Keep in mind that this manga is a bit silly. Like how many incidences do you know, where a man is cursed to be a servant for the rest of his life? But the sillyness is what makes it a fun read. It’s shoujo, right? There’s no need for a shoujo manga to be realistic. Even though there are cases where realism really makes the manga great, such as Nana.

You can definitely tell that Captive hearts was written before Vampire Knights because her art isn’t up to par as it is today. Not that I’m complaining though. Matsuri-Sensei is known for her good looking men such as Kaname, Zero, and in this case Megumi. I don’t really like the character design for Suzuka though. I can’t even explain why though. There’s just something there that isn’t convincing for Suzuka. It may be the hair, who knows?

Final Thoughts: Great improvement from the 1st volume. I’m getting into the story a bit more now. I’m a bit curious on how the curse will be broken in the future. This isn’t one of her best series, but definitely, it’s worth a quick run to the library.

Overall Grades: C+