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Volume 2 of Mayumi Azuma’s Erementar Gerade keeps up the intrigue introduced in her first installment. The mystery behind Ren’s scheme in the first volume is unraveled, and will bring readers a sigh of relief. Also, more details are discovered about the particular power behind Ren and the relationship between a human and their edel raid.
Although this volume still has a lot of action, more humor is threaded throughout the many incidents in a hot spring, and in the antics of a small but daring little villain. At first, the motives of this determined young girl are unknown, and she continues to insert herself into roles that allow her to collide with the edel raids. While she brings a bit of comedy to these scenes, the reader is steered towards a different view of her once other characters are introduced.
These characters range from the wicked and heartbreaking to the downright pitiable and forlorn. The respect and loyalty of edel raids to their masters- considered by many to be only human weapons- is shown through multiple pairings. The villains throughout the manga show that the edel raids are far more loyal to their masters than the masters are to them.
The extremes to which an edel raid will go to in order to impress its master is agonizing, because of its treatment as a disposable tool by some masters. Part of the main goal of the Erementar Gerade‘s story line is to show that these “tools” are human. The main hero in this manga, Cou, is driven to prove that edel raids are human, not just weapons.
As his relationship with Ren- the edel raid he has formed a pact with- grows, readers can see an example of an idealistic relationship with these “weapons”. Deeper aspects of the relationships between humans and their edel raids is seen through the kidnapping of Kuea. She is also not the only edel raid to be stolen with the help of another human weapon. Each edel raid is willing to risk its life for its master, and even to tear others from their humans, despite knowing the emotional attachment they have for them.
Cisqua, the leader of the Arc Aile team, is the main narrator in this volume. She continues to follow around Cou, the main character. This turns out to be a blessing because, as an active character, she is at once determined and analytical, as well as humorous. Hearing her insights and details behind a situation of the workings of edel raids, and the events surrounding them, is invaluable. Also, readers are continually reminded of her ulterior motives in aiding Cou and Ren in their various mishaps.
Azumi attributes more humanizing qualities to the edel raids, that makes them all the more thought-provoking. In this second installment readers find out that each edel raid has a particular object that covers a jewel on some part of their body. This jewel serves as a marking that distinguishes an edel raid from a human, but it is almost always covered, so they can remain undetected.
The items that cover these jewels, in Ren’s case a ribbon, and in Kuea’s case a pair of gloves, serve as a sort of security blanket for the edel raids. If they have such human qualities, why are they treated as objects? In a few circumstances, readers are shown the devastating effects a master’s words can have on their edel raids.
The most distressing thought to an edel raid seems to be the idea of his or her master’s betrayal. The idea of buying and selling these human weapons, along with the emotions involved, invokes the image of human trafficking. The more Azuma humanizes the edel raid, the harder this idea hits home. But unlike the fight against human trafficking in the real world, she is able to allow the heroes to overpower the villains who constantly want to market the edel raids. Cou sticks to his beliefs and resiliently puts forth the idea that the edel raids are not objects, but humans.
This volume of Erementar Gerade was even more entertaining than the last, because of the intricate details readers find out about Ren and other edel raids. The development of the characters’ relationships with each other is utterly absorbing and will keep readers thirsting for more information behind the private minds of the edel raids and their humans. As before, the artwork deserves a 4 and the story a 3.75.
Overall rating: 3.9