- Mangaka : Shouoto, Aya
- Publisher : VIZ
- Genre : Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo, Harem, Supernatural
- Published : April 2016
Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji (The Demon Prince of Momochi House) Vol. 4 Introduction
After a strange student accosts Himari at school about her ring, Himari suspects Aoi knows him. Without revealing much, he admits the boy, Hidaka, was a childhood friend. Himari tries to figure out just how the two are related and what Hidaka’s connection is with the fox shape-shifters rumored to be connected with his family. When Himari gets involved with the cursed family, there are lasting consequences for the residents of Momochi House.
A classmate explains to Himari that the anti-social guy who demanded to know who made her special ring is named Hidaka. Hidaka and his family are rumored to be descended from fox shape-shifters and those who come in contact with them will be cursed. Himari figures that he has to be connected to Aoi for him to react so strongly to the ring, so she decides to ask Aoi about it. On the way home from school, a masked ayakashi attacks Himari and transports her to a strange world. It demands the ring Aoi made for her, the same ring that incited Hidaka. Thankfully, Zushi interferes and her small attacker backs off. Worried that Hidaka is being cursed by this spirit, Himari asks Aoi about both of them. He admits easily that Hidaka was an old friend when Aoi was still completely human and acts as if he has no lingering feelings. Himari can tell there’s more to the story and makes it her goal to get closer to Hidaka.
At first, Hidaka is cold to her, but his overflowing emotions spill out at the sight of her earnest smile. Himari often seems incompetent or naïve, but she seems to have a knack for getting the most stand-offish characters to open up. Hearing him talk about his precious childhood friend whose name and face he can’t remember is painful and you can’t help but mirror Himari’s desire to reunite Aoi with someone from his past. Himari carries on in her usual headstrong manner and convinces Hidaka to help clean his family shrine to appease the restless fox spirits. While some of the spirits give up their animosity easily, their ‘older brother’, the masked ayakashi, won’t let go of his grudge so easily.
Himari and Hidaka are forced to run towards Momochi House to escape the masked ayakashi but he keeps cutting them off. In an astonishing breakthrough, Hidaka calls out to the ayakashi, finally understanding his feelings. He has always been by Hidaka’s side, but unseen and unheard. Seeing how Hidaka was hurt by those that couldn’t remember Aoi after he vanished, the masked ayakashi would hurt them to prove something spiritual had happened. Warped by loneliness, he had come to despise Hidaka, and his words couldn’t reach the young fox spirit. Thankfully, the two students make their way back to Momochi House and the Nue calms his restless spirit. Himari’s relieved when Hidaka and Aoi can be reunited but the Nue removes all lingering memories of Aoi.
In order to keep Hidaka’s family safe and appease the restless fox spirits, the spirits are invited to stay at Momochi House. The transition is pretty easy except for the older brother spirit who Himari names Kon. Despite the fact that his soul has been appeased, Kon continues to fight with Aoi and threatens to curse him. A mysterious box left by Kasha has the effect of making our characters reveal their secrets, such as Kon at first thinking the Nue was his mother and then being so overcome with embarrassment he couldn’t talk to the Nue or Aoi. This also causes Himari to reveal that she loves Aoi. This wonderful moment where we think their mutual feelings may finally be revealed is squandered when she’s no longer under the box’s influence and says the love she feels is familial. Aoi hides his disappointment just long enough for Himari to leave but it’s clear the news hurts him. After everyone has settled down, the ayakashi and Himari chat about their respective families. It’s at this time Yukari reveals his startling origins… that he was a human turned into an ayakashi for consuming human flesh.
1. You Want More Connected Stories Than the Previous Volumes
Previously, the chapters were rather disjointed. They had loose connections either through recurring minor characters or the cliffhanger of one volume being answered in the first chapter of the next volume. In this volume, almost every chapter is a connected story. We get to learn about Hidaka, who we can assume will return as he grows closer to Himari, and we also get to learn more about Aoi before he became the Nue of Momochi House. It does a good job of telling one concise story that still manages to shed more light on the world of ayakashi.
1. You’re Frustrated By Miscommunication
It’s painful to know how much Aoi and Himari like each other. We see Himari admit it freely to herself and we see it in all of Aoi’s actions towards Himari. When she finally says “I love you” and Aoi knows the box causes people to say their secrets, it seems like there’s no choice but for them to come to terms with their feelings for each other. But Himari’s deceptive ‘I love you like family’ ruins everything. Seeing Aoi’s pained face after is heart-wrenching and we don’t know how far back that will set this adorable would-be couple.
Yet again, we have a wasted opportunity for Himari and Aoi to get closer. When Himari hugs Aoi even as she’s pushing him out of her room, we think they’re on the path to realization. But just as Himari seems determined to keep Aoi at a distance, Aoi spurns Himari’s attempts to connect him to the outside world. It’s pretty painful to see both Aoi and Hidaka and Aoi and Himari who could be happy together but one’s reluctance keeps it from happening. We’ll have to see if the future holds something happier for our friends.