Title: Hinowa ga CRUSH! Vol. 2 Author: Takahiro (Story), strelka (Art) Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Action Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Hinowa ga CRUSH is back with its second volume and it does little in the way of letting us take a breather! We are thrown right into the conclusion of the battle between Hinowa and Yomihime. While the two of them are evenly matched, Hinowa’s inexperience gets the better of how; however, she is saved by the combined efforts of Kumehachi and Tobari. To even things out, even more, Akame makes an appearance and gets a strike in on Yomihime which leads to her departure. Thanks to Akame ga Kill, I was expecting Yomihime to die from Akame’s Teigu but I forgot that she doesn’t have that anymore.
After the battle, Hinowa and Hisame (who had protected Commander Maruge who hilariously wet himself in the first volume) were both promoted to Captain rank thanks to their deeds. Hinowa and Akame get a little time to relax. During that time, they are tasked with going out to kill a sea creature who’s said to have fine materials for making a Meihou, their version of a Teigu. They succeed and HInowa’s squad end up getting their own Meihou weapons that will not break!
Great timing too because as soon as they acquire them and try to relax with a seafood stew, Tobari delivers the news that the Tenrou nations are looking to stage, yet, another attack and that this time, they are being led by Kyoukotsu the Cruel, a man who enjoys killing anyone and anything and making decorative furniture out of their dead bodies.
This brings us straight into our second battle; however, Kyoukotsu has a peculiar style about him. He pre-emptively strikes by standing alone in front of the Shiranui gates, challenging anyone to a one-on-one battle. Suzumaru ends up taking the challenge and holds his own against him until he is called back by Lord Shion in order to spare the possibility of losing him. Kyoukotsu says he will make Suzumaru his as he recognizes his talents and skill. The next day, the true battle begins; however, our volume ends.
There were a few more details I left out as to not spoil everything but we do get some great character development alongside the story here which moved forward pretty quickly. There was a bit of a time skip there but I assume it was done to take us right back into the action rather than bore us to death with details of what happens in between battles. I like this because most often, a second volume of anything will pull back in order to focus on character development and world-building, thus bringing the pace down quite a bit. Here, we get some of that but continue right on with more action, keeping the pace pretty high. It’s a nice change of pace that I enjoyed very much!
Despite being the main character, not much has developed with Hinowa outside of her promotion. She’s still attractive in the sense that people gravitate toward her and she does show that she cares about the people now under her in her squad. Still, the rank of Captain didn’t go to her head and she’s handling herself well over the promotion but at the same time, her character didn’t even change with the title. It’s almost if she’s carrying the title in name only. While it does seem a bit odd for her not to truly react to her promotion, it actually suits her personality and her character very well. She just seemed very level-headed and easy-going but filled with pride and strength. It’s nice to see her not waver from that because she got recognized.
Hisame ended up getting some backstory. While he’s rather cold and straight-faced from an appearance standpoint, everyone can tell from his words that he’s gentle and caring… he just has a bit of a rough time showing that side of him to other people. We understand that he’s trying to gain ranks because he wants to marry the girl of his dreams, who just so happens to be Princess Rinzu of the Soukai nation! While we’re on the subject of Rinzu, she’s a beautiful young woman who is unlike more royalty. She’s very open and popular with the people, will actually go to battlefronts to support her country’s people, and is very down to Earth when she converses with others. She seems more like a commoner with a crown than a ruler but she also has leadership qualities about her. No wonder Hisame wants to marry her!
Our other new character is Commander Kyoukotsu of the Tenrou nation. This guy has a weird balance about him. He’s completely mental and out of his mind and, yet, at the same time… he seems pretty wise because he knows that you can’t just wait around to take something. If you want it, you need to take it by any means necessary. While that typically seems he would be balls out with tunnel vision on his goal, he seems more calculating than he’s letting himself on to be. Someone who is smart and insane makes for a very dangerous opponent and he’s already proven that with his insane one-on-one challenge at the gates of Shiranui Fortress! I actually like this character a lot. As eccentric as he is, he’s got some unique qualities about him that you don’t too often in other main villains.
As for a few quick notes…
Commander Maruge is still a little shit. Moving on.
Lord Shion came up with a strategy without penetrating a sea creature. That’s progress!
The first volume of Hinowa ga CRUSH was really good. The second volume, I felt was just as good, if not, better. Takahiro crafted one of my favorite series with Akame ga Kill and often times you worry about quality loss when moving onto a new series or onto a sequel. I can say that after two volumes, I’m not seeing any quality loss whatsoever. In fact, I see improvements in the fact that battles are actually lasting longer… people are not dying left and right (unless they are just cannon fodder characters and not in the main lineup)… and the story is being wrapped around these battles beautifully. Rivalries are being forged (i.e. Yumihime vs Akame & Hinowa), and these characters are being given the time to breathe. These were problems I found with Akame ga Kill that I’m seeing rectified here in Hinowa ga CRUSH.
In before everyone dies next volume!
Needless to say… I’m loving this series and can’t wait to check out volume three. While a little knowledge of Akame ga Kill can help with this series, I don’t think it’s really all that necessary. If you want to jump right into this, you can but I would still highly recommend reading Akame ga Kill simply because it’s completely worth it!