Manga review: Jiujiu

I wanted to make a quick review of this manga, which turned out to be quite long and not quick at all…

Author (story & art): Touya Tobina
Volumes and chapters
: 5 vol. & 23 chapters
Status: finished
Published: Dec 20, 2008 to Jun 25, 2012
Genres:  Drama, fantasy, romance, school, shoujo, supernatural

Jiujiu: Jujuu

Synopsis (taken from myanimelist):

Hachiouji Takamichi, born into a “hunter” family responsible for protecting humans from demons and monsters, lost her beloved older twin brother when she was young. Taking over his role as the heir to the family business, she lost herself in her work as a hunter and cut away ties with others, preferring to be left alone. At age 13, though, Takamichi’s father forced her to begin taking care of two half-wolf/half-human puppies that were abandoned. In their family, it was traditional to take on a half-animal as a loyal servant called “jiujiu” to help during hunts. Despite her continued protests that she did not need any help, 3 years have passed and Setsu and Yuugure, her wolves is still by her side. Now that they are older though, they seem to have become more difficult to take care of.

Story: The story starts by teasing us with a glimpse of the past, then quickly changes to the present. Then it all centers around our heroine Takamichi Hachiouji (nicknamed Michi by her brother) and her relationship with her jiujius Snow (Setsu) and Night (Yugure).
Just a little side note, in the beginning (at least online) the jiujius had a Japanese name, which is written in parenthesis. I personally felt more comfortable with that, since that was what we were presented with and I was getting used to their names, then out of nowhere, the scanlation team changed it to English> 3 < However, I will be referring to them with their Japanese name in my post. You are warned 🙂
Basically, Michi learns to appreciate Setsu and Yugure and realizes how much they actually mean to her. However, the community of a hunter and nevertheless being the next heir to the family clan is not all fun and glory.

Honestly, I felt that the excitement and the mysteries started to unfold after chapter 12. By no means where the stories before that boring, but it was mostly flashbacks and how Michi started to slowly appreciate and treasure her jiujius. After that, the story centers more around different hunters and Michi’s clan.
However, I sometimes felt that it was hard to see the red thread between the chapters. There were also some jumping between the chapters, from past to present or vice versa and from one scene with some (side) characters to another with e.g Michi and her jiujiu’s in action, breaking the flow and making it hard to grasp the story.

The last few chapters were also rushed, leaving out battles/confrontations. For instance, without revealing and spoiling too much, we have this particular scene with Michi and Setsu, where Michi has to stop Setsu from going berserk. Michi then manages to get up to Setsu and the next scene we see is Michi lying in a bed in a hospital (because she got injured along the way) and then it was also a little time skip after that.
Many authors, do this and I have no problem with that, but then the (main) character (as well as us readers) usually gets filled in by what happened afterward. However, in Jiujiu, the author leaves that out (she does explain a little but it does not show us any battle or much useful information really..) taking away a lot of excitement and explanation of what happened.

Story-wise, I think it was a different and a good idea, but the author, unfortunately, did not manage to pull it too well off.

Characters: firstly we have the main characters, Michi, Setsu and Yugure. Michi falls under the stubborn and strong willed character, nothing new. However, Yugure and Michi is a little different. By first glance, they can each fall into a category. Setsu being this happy merry-go-round person while Yugure being this smart and maybe a little cold character. But the nice little twist is that they both do not 100% fit the description. Yugure, for example, is not cold at all, and smiles a lot (at least to Michi), while Setsu actually is not happy go lucky person. He might be a little more childish between him and Yugure, but actually very concern about Michi and what he can do to let them all three, or at least him and Michi stay together forever. Yugure also says that he always is one step behind Setsu when there is happening something big.

As the story progress, we meet and get introduced to other characters, some more important while others are not. Sometimes it is a little much with all those people and the system of the clan. Nevertheless, the side characters personality is nothing we have not seen before.

Art: The art is nice and quite detailed actually. The clothes and some hairstyle are a little weird, but nice to see some variations. Some of the fight scenes, or at least the kicks and so on is drawn well!

Enjoyment: I did read the whole manga, even though I sometimes got confused and was not really following along the story. Honestly, I did not enjoy Jiujiu as much as I would like too. The are events, situation and battles I would have loved to have been explained in more detail as well as actually see the fights instead of just the outcome, with not too much detail afterward. However, a little star in the book is that some scenes and conversation are actually funny, and made me chuckled out loud (by myself ._.). So there is some humor in the manga. which is good 🙂

So would I recommend the manga to others?
If you are into supernatural, shoujo manga with a strong heroine and two childish (they are after all only 3 years old e.e) yet serious half-wolves, half-human by her side, you do not mind the story jumping a little back and forth between present and past (making the chapters and story having not too good flow), and with the author cutting battle scenes and not to mention a confusing end. Then yes I would recommend this manga to you.

Nevertheless, if you still want to read the manga despite being a little skeptical, I advise you not to have a too high expectation, especially in the love department. I usually do not give stars at my reviews, but to make it easier for you guys I would give it a 6 out of 10 stars. By no means is the manga (very) bad (as I might have portrait it as), but it could have been done better, especially at the end.

So I want to end the manga by trying to answer and complain a little about the ending and some other scenes about the manga. If you have read Jiujiu and feel hella confused by the ending, maybe I will be able to answer and release you from some of the confusion. The next paragraphs will, of course, have spoilers in it!

First of all, who is the dad?
For me, it came very quick and natural that Mika is the dad. There are a few hints throughout the story that the author has laid out, which indicates that Mika is the father.
1. Mika said that (not word by word by him, but) his doors are always open for Michi. And that if she is ever going to bear his children, she has to bear two, e.g why the author gave Michi twins.
2. In one of the extra chapters, where they are children, you can see that Mika is interested or at least intrigued in Michi, grabbing her shirt when she tries to go sleep with her brother and then tries to grab her when she is laying on top of her brother while blushing.
3. Maybe this is not so obvious, but throughout the manga, at least in some scenes he shows her kindness and concerns, and that is done in a romantic way. At least I can see that he pays her attention. Not to mention that kiss!
4. The phone call Michi gets and her conversation with the dad matches how she would talk to Mika and how Mika would respond to her. Michi would never talk like that to Seijuro and he would have been calmer. Moreover, at that time was he not traveling around with Ripple? I do not think he would have had the time to meet up with her, Also, he canceled their engagement.
5. If you look at the cover, you can see that Mika is actually being bashful and blushing, I do not think he would have done that if the kids were not his.

Second, the last few chapters confused and annoyed the hell out of me, it is actually the biggest reason I wrote this review! >.<
1. Who was the one that injured Mika? While looking back at the chapters now, I see that Mika is saying “It was you” while looking all angry. However, the next chapter we see Michi’s dad being all covered in blood. Why? I am pretty sure he did not harm Mika, but then who did?  It also seemed that Yuki was the one who saved him, my guessing from the grin. But at the same time, White said that he transformed to Yuki after seeing some pictures, why not just transformed while looking at the real thing? Moreover, Michi’s father also said that he asked White to do it, meaning that Yuki either sent White to his father or accompanied him to his father.

2. Again, I really really wanted to get more fully explained what happened after Michi was dangling from Setsu’s noes! It looked like she fell down and Setsu tried to catch her, but he was not able to because he somewhat became transparent. I guess, Yuki caught her, but what happened to Setsu then? Did he just turn into a dog like that?

3. After that is the time skip, where we get a little flask back from what happened afterwards. What I am most annoyed by is the whole White transformed into Yuki and that Yuki is actually dead (I will come back to the whole dead think later on). Like Michi I personally belive it was Yuki who was the one at the underground.Why?
1. He had the sword that belonged to the clan.
2. I do not belive that white has the skills to imitate a persons personality and skill without having metting/seeing that person first.
3. Yuki also had his own jiujiu named Moon. I belive it is not the same Moon, as the jiujiu to the head. Yuki’s jiujiu is white while the other one is black and when Michi wakes up and sees  Moon she says that she that she almost did not recognize because he changed the color his hair/flur, and he says “You’re right. I look very   different. Take a closer look. Are you joking?”

4. So back to the whole, is Yuki dead or alive? I blive he is still alive, there are a lot of evidences that he is alive. While it is a little confusing that he dads starts to cry and says that Yuki is not here, because we would expect him of all people to know the truth. Yet, suppose that he is dead, we see him popping out saying “I’m back” when they are taking the picture in the last chapter.
Due to I have to prepare for tomorrows class, I will link a forum where the evidences to why Yuki is still alive here. There are actually some evidences I did not notice, while there are actually some I did, so instead of me writing it all over I think it is better for you guys to read about it yourself.

5. I wanted to see how Ripple manages to get her memory back. Simply being near Seijuro will not make her memories come back. The reason I say that she gets her memory back and gets all better is that she later poses for picture with Seijuro in human form all happy. Also, at the last chapter where they are taking a group photo, Ripple is also in there.

6. About the last chapter, the fact that Setsu and Yugure turned to be just normal dogs, does not make sense at all! If it was only Setsu, that would still be weird, but make more sense. Taking into consideration that he went all giant and then turned somewhat into human again, as I mention above.

However, I belive they manage to turn into humans again because as they sas “Hey… Takamichi… Takamichi-sama. The reason our front paws turned into arms… is so that… we could protect you and those who are precious to you”. I belive they manage to turned back based on the quote and what happened, because when Yuki came crashing, Michi is loosing the grip on the babies, which obviously is very important to her. Maybe if Setsu and Yugure did not transformed back, the twins would have hit the floor and God knows what would have happened to them. Moreover, they also get a new duty (so to speak) by taking care and looking over the twins.

7. I have seen in forums that they are confused why Michi suddenly have big boobs, while you may have forgotten, but she used to bind her chest. She stopped doing that= her breasts will no longer look small.

8.I feel so bad for Setsu and Yugure growing up being all neglected by Michi. I totally understand her reason for doing it, but they grew up without being loved and Michi how come you do not find those two as pups cute?! ლ(゚д゚ლ) I want one just for myself and hug it all day long!♥‿♥

9.Is Sugure the only one that needs a seal? Yugure does not have the ability to turn into a full size fenrir?

10. What happened to Meru?(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻ He still needs Michi’s blood right, to turn big? Setsu and Yugure will not let him, and I bet Mika would not allow that either. If I remember correctly, he also could not go back to his kingdom before he drank all her blood? Where did he go and what is he going to do now?

11. This might be a little stupid question, but Michi did not love  Setsu and Yugure (like romantically)? I remember she saying “how could I mistake this for love” in a scene where she is blushing along with Seijuro. I know she definitely loves them, but in a family sense of way, but not romantically? It would obviously be a mess if she declared her love for only one of the brothers, and I honestly like her relationship with them as it is now, so I do not mind she did not end up with either of them.
As she most likely ended up with Mika, I can not see that he will agree to them sleeping in their bed, maybe in their wolf shape, since he said that he sleeps better with animal. However, he would still make a huge fuss about it :p

12. I would love to know a little more about Michi’s classmate that worked at the anti-jiujiu side if I am not too wrong. How come they both did not know what the other did, since they are friends?

13. How come nobody comments in the extra chapter when Michi meets Mika for the first time that she gets slapped by her dad?! Is it her dad? It would make more sense is he was the one who accompanied her in that meeting, but slapping his kids does not suit him at all. Also, it looks like a quite powerful slap, how come Yuki did not say anything about it? The man is also grabbing Michi by her her, how come Yuki does not do anything than laugh?!

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