Kurau Phantom Memory, Volume 3 is a little like the middle bits of any of the old Doctor Who television series. After the plot had been established, and before the conclusion, there was a lot of running around in corridors and expository discussion, and chasing after companions that had been captured, then freeing them, losing another one, rinse, repeat, etc.
Which is not to say that it’s not enjoyable. I quite like the running around in corridors bits, except I get a little tired of the inevitable screaming the other person’s name 8 million times part that inevitably fills up time and space in an anime.
In the case of Kurau and Christmas, the corridors exist literally – on the Moon, at GPO headquarters. Kurau is there to free Christmas from her captivity. In the middle of all the running around and fighting, we gain a little knowledge – that the GPO knows that the Rynasapiens are, duh, sapient, and that the evil professor who wants to study them really doesn’t care that they are sapient and they feel pain, lonliness, etc. Ayaka helpfully lets us know that in most places Rynax energy isn’t really used or needed anymore, so the reason behind the studies is nothing more than a thin veil over illegal and immoral experiments. Kurau’s Dad gets to meet his “other daughter” and warns Kurau and Christmas not to believe the GPO no matter what they say. And Ayaka starts to, ever so slightly, question her allegiance to The Powers That Be. (Ever since I began rewatching Kurau, I’ve been trying to figure out who Ayaka reminds me of. I just figured it out – she’s this series’ Rimelda, from Madlax.)
Yuri in Kurau remains solely in the eye of the beholder. The relationship between Kurau and Christmas is deep, loving, and can easily be interpretated as sisterly or lover-ly, or even mother-daughter-ly, if you are so inclined. Personally, I believe that the relationship is being handled with the broadest possible strokes on purpose. Ambiguity makes for a bigger audience. If you see them as being “in love,” no doubt you are willing to point out the microscopic details which “prove” that you are correct, if only everyone will listen to you. Likewise, if you insist that they are sisterly, you will also have an arsenal of “proof” for doubters. Frankly, I like the relationship ambiguous. Because this way we can all see what we want to see. As long as we’re willing to admit that we’re making most of it up. :-)
Ayaka’s fixation on Kurau still puzzles me a little. Ayaka is the very typical hardboiled lesbian mystery detective – tragic backstory, hard as nails, impervious to emotion, completely obsessed with the object of the hunt. But in normal lesbian detective stories, the hunted is an actual criminal. Doesn’t Ayaka read lesbian detective stories? She’s after the wrong person…. Ah well. I feel free to make her obsession with Kurau into more than what it is, as well. ^_^
The extras are the same kind of interviews, art and stuff that came with the previous volumes.
Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Music – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – 1
Overall – 8
Even with the running through corridors and screaming “Christmas!!!!!” a lot, Volume 3 was still pretty good. Thanks go to Ted for sponsoring this review. ^_^