MANGA REVIEW | "Mission: Yozakura Family" - Volume Seven
The hot springs are a great place to let everything out in the open, both literally and figuratively. Its warm water and beautiful scenery brings a level of comfort that allows anyone to relax and talk about anything that’s on their mind. Mission: Yozakura Family is far away from a relaxing story, but our main characters Taiyo and Mutsumi certainly deserve a refreshing dip into an onsen. And in the start of Volume Seven, the two share such a moment together, as Mutsumi reveals all to Taiyo.
Showing a massive scar on her chest, Mutsumi tells Taiyo of how her life almost came to an end. It links back to Tanpopo and Dr. Kawashita, whom are aiming to end Mutsumi’s life and steal her heart. The fact that her father, Momo Yozakura, is also aiding Tanpopo, makes this all a terribly messy situation. That’s when Taiyo comes up with the idea to go face-to-face with Momo, even if such a meetup could lead to an untimely demise.
Although it’s not exactly endgame talk, this scene does paint a path towards closure. As Tanpopo have made both Mutsumi and Taiyo’s lives chaotic, having the chance to take down a big part of them would bring them a bit of comfort in the long run. Of course, comfort isn’t really in the vocabulary of Mission: Yozakura Family, especially when you have an eldest son like Kyoichiro waiting to kill Taiyo for laying even a single hair on his beloved sister. (Naturally, this all leads to a relaxing hot springs chat towards a hilarious sis-con-fueled bout of mayhem!)
Weeks later, a plan to meet Momo goes into motion via a locomotion. Disguised as steward, Taiyo roams the train seeking a way to have a word with him. But too many problems arise, ranging from nonstop clean-up to kids riding on the top of the engine. Oh, and there’s poison gas spewing through the train, too, which adds another level of danger to that. And then, there’s the long-haired woman.
At first, she seems ordinary, until she unleashes a hairy attack that’d make a certain half-genie hero jealous. Known as White Snake, this woman has stake in the delivery of the Cherry Leaf Blossom Hazakura. The controversial medicine added extra years to White Snake’s life, with Dr. Kawashita to thank for administering it to her. All of this is enough for Taiyo to fight her, but then another bombshell is dropped on him: she’s why his family’s dead.
White Snake’s backstory is one of tragic circumstances. Although she’s on the side of Tanpopo, one can’t help but feel terrible for her predicament. There’s a level of guilt that rests in her eyes all throughout her battle with Taiyo, as she never wanted anyone — much less his family — to die for the chance to see a few more birthdays. Thankfully, Taiyo doesn’t blame White Snake for the situation she was placed in. However, he still aims to put a stop to her plan.
This battle showcases Mission: Yozakura Family at its most creative. White Snake isn’t the first manga character to use hair as a weapon, but it’s certainly one of the more impressive showcases. Add in a couple other members and allies of the Yozakuras, and the fight results in a feast for one’s eyes. If there’s one section of this volume that’s firing on all its cylinders, it’s this one!
Comedy also plays a big role in this narrative, and we get that with the fight’s aftermath. A potion used to heal Taiyo turns him into a baby, with everyone in the family having no means to protect themselves from his cuteness. Not even Kyoichiro, who despises everything about Taiyo, can evade baby Taiyo’s charms, resulting in a defeat that no one could ever see coming! (More of this manga’s trademark humor can also be found in a chapter featuring new spies, all of whom were created for a special contest run by author Hiitsuji Gondaira.)
Action, humor, and storyline twists come in waves in the seventh volume of Mission: Yozakura Family. Although the majority of the cast takes a back seat for our main leads, it gives Taiyo and Mutsumi room to flesh out plans, feelings, and proper story beats. With a new plan set to go into action, it’s clear that what happens next will leave very little room for these characters to sit back and relax. But hey, maybe another hot springs trip should be in order after this plan’s been finished, preferably without Kyoichiro tagging along to mess up the mood!
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.