Volume Three leaves off with Ika escorting Commander Inamine to a funeral, leading to the two of them being taken hostage by a group of zealous supporters of the MBC. While Dojo is busy guilt tripping himself for putting Ika into such a dangerous situation, she’s been using her wits to help the team zero in on their location.
Action, head-patting and hugging ensue, and the day ends with everyone safe and able to sleep in their own beds.
With the hostage situation behind her, Ika must now face a confrontation seemingly worse than being kidnapped: a visit from her parents. Readers learn early on that Ika’s relationship with her parents extends beyond them not being close, to the point that they don’t even know that she is a soldier with the Library Task Force.
Her mother can be summed up by the fact that she spends her visit to the base worrying about all of the various things that could go wrong, even asking her daughter if she can simply take a few days off whenever a raid comes along. Readers also catch a glimpse of a much younger Ika asking her mother if she’s proud of her for outracing the boys, only to get scolded for getting dirty and doing non-girly things. I found myself sympathizing with the poor girl, as well as a better understanding of why she does what she does. As eager as Ika is to please, she stops short of compromising who she is, regardless of who is doling out the accolades.
Afraid of being dragged back home, Ika turns to those close to her in order to conceal that she’s a solider, going so far as to spend a day clerking in the library in order to make the lies to her parents more feasible. Dojo spends his time reminding Ika not to behave so formally around him, and Shibazaki gives the Kasaharas a sugar-coated tour of the facilities.
Their day is capped off by a meal overheard by none other than Komaki, who ironically, was attempting to escape their company so as to avoid being in an awkward position. The chapter begins with the sergeant saying, “I am a firm believer in the truth for a reason. But I’m not going to talk about it right now. The only thing I can do for Kasahara, a subordinate painfully uneasy around her own parents, is stay out of it.”
I find myself more and more interested in Komaki’s backstory. He’s such a warm and amiable presence, and militarily, he’s just as tough and sharp as Dojo. On top of that, there’s something kind of emotionally soft about him. Couple that with his penchant for teasing and his need to blatantly tell the truth, and he’s quickly becoming a very intriguing character.
For one: what is this reason over which Komaki insists he is not just a believer, but a firm believer in the truth? I must find out!
In time… In time…
Having Komaki eavesdrop on Ika and her parents is a pretty fun way to wrap up Volume Four, which indeed had its share of intensity early on. It’s a nice opportunity to see our central characters in somewhat different circumstances, thus providing a bit more insight into their personalities and intentions.
The best part? Ika relaying the story of Her Prince to her parents while Komaki tries to keep his laughter to himself.
Ah! Which leads us to Volume Four’s big reveal! The identity of Ika’s prince is none other than…
Yep. Atsushi Dojo. To be honest, I spent some time early on trying to convince myself it wasn’t him. He’s relatively close in age to Ika, but old enough to have been a part of the Library Forces while she was still in high school. A younger, more idealistic and impulsive version of himself, with a passion which he’s worked hard to extinguish within.
Or, in my opinion, that’s simply what Dojo would like to think. For better or worse, the man is no hardass. An excellent solider who is good at what he does? Yes. An intimidating hardass? Not so much.
For now, I’m crossing my fingers at the notion of Dojo revealing his more sensitive side as the series moves forward. Onward to Volume Five!