Call of the Night Volume 15: This Is For You



At this point, is there really any fresh form of praise to offer Kotoyama and this series? Call of the Night volume 15 is simply an extension of Kotoyama’s exploration of the medium, and a paper trail of their startling development and progression within it. Each page you turn, you find yourself marvelling at the creativity of Kotoyama’s panelling, or the very creative and unique layouts, or the overall flow of the series. In some cases, I really do think it usurps the story as my favorite aspect with this series- though, I think some of that comes from the content we’re forced to face as we build tension and understanding for our final face-off of the series.

That’s to say, Call of The Night volume 15 is a lot of setup. It’s incredibly valuable because of that, and offers a lot of great insights, but it can be a little… sluggish, after a lot of the electric pacing we’ve seen in recent volumes. So, let me explain how valuable that slower pace can be as we begin the climb to the peak of Call of The Night.

I think the first thing you’ll really pick up on is Ko’s integration with the people around him. Despite being away for so long, and the sort of bad blood that existed beforehand, he’s found common ground with guy and girl alike and is able to meaningfully interact and engage with the people around him. Considering the alienation he felt at the beginning of the story, it’s pretty easy to see that Kotoyama’s trying hard to show how Ko’s time with Nazuna and the others was more about rehabilitation than anything else.

Conversely, the time we spend with Mahiru is far more interesting. Where he was “better” integrated, we really begin to see both sides of his facade slip. Despite wanting to be a vampire, and to be in love with Kiku, he finds himself unable to live during the night. That’s really wonderfully displayed by his isolated wanderings of Hokkaido in the morning, as Mahiru himself says he “wakes up early no matter what”. For how little Mahiru’s ended up talking lately, Call of The Night Volume 15 really puts his character on blast. He’s someone that straddles two worlds- always has, and he feels like he always will. I think it’s a really interesting way to sort of visualize the trauma of losing his brother, both in terms of his own experience, but also because of how his mother treated him. Then you add on top his whole thing of hesitation with Ko? I think it’s incredible. When Mahiru was throwing out everything that tied him to human life, the one thing that brought it all together was Ko. Everything in the end is a mimicry of Ko’s life, and it’s basically showing off to readers that Mahiru’s weakness will be Ko. Which I think is incredibly poetic. Ko is the one person that Mahiru just can’t live without. Even when disappearing into thin air, he left a trail for Ko to follow.

And of course, Ko found it. To that end, I really like how Akira is being used as a middle man to their relationship. Not that it’s meant to put her down or anything like that, but it sort of isolates her in the friendship dynamic and forces her to look inwards and consider her self and what she wants. Though getting back on track, I really like Kotoyama’s idea for Ko vs Mahiru in this volume. Where their last fight was one-sided with Ko partially turning, Ko is stubbornly sticking to his humanity for Mahiru and opting to fight on even terms. It’s not really anything grand, but it’s an amicable effort that shows how much Ko’s considered Mahiru’s life, and Ko’s role in it, up until this point.

Though, Ko isn’t the only part of Mahiru’s life in Call of the Night Volume 15. You might even argue that Kiku is the bigger focus, which makes sense given her central role to the plot (and her relation to a certain vampire). Her whole shtick has been true love, and we see that get exposed as “becoming human” in this volume. It’s really not that subtle, because alongside that underlying connection, Kiku’s facade comes loose as well. I really like how Kotoyama portrayed it, for quite a few reasons. First of all, it comes from a moment where she believes she feels true love for Mahiru, but the panel solely focuses on herself. She doesn’t reach a hand out for Mahiru, she doesn’t grow closer to him in the theater- the only thing she is capable of is selfish thought. Similarly, Kotoyama forces Kiku’s vampiric traits down the throat of readers, firmly separating her from ever achieving humanity again.

It’s really really standout work because Kotoyama is very effectively relating love to being an exclusively human emotion, and that regardless of whether you’re a vampire or not, you can still be human. It’s something that they’ve strongly related to Nazuna, and her mother Haru, within this volume. And I really mean it. Call of The Night Volume 15 dives deep into the relationship between mother and daughter.

Okay, so maybe not that deep a dive, but it does well to really force the reader to question why Nazuna was born. I think many will have the initial thought that Haru came to the conclusion that she’d be reborn “as” Nazuna, but I think I have a far more satisfying explanation. You can never “return” to humanity in the way that Haru and Kiku were initially trying to do. Instead, I think Haru stumbled upon a new avenue, one that allows humanity to exist in the context she desired: love. It really presents as the antithesis to Kiku’s selfish pursuit of love, where Haru’s love was truly directed towards her daughter, Nazuna. In that sense, Haru’s idea of humanity was much more conceptual and subjective than the literal stance that Kiku has taken on it, and ultimately makes the most sense. Though, that’s just speculation.

What isn’t speculation though is that Call of The Night Volume 15 is yet another incredible addition to the series. Kotoyama has continued to see almost inhuman levels of growth and development within this manga, and the story grows deeper and wider alongside it. It feels impossible to truly believe that they’ve been flying by the seat of their pants for a while with this manga. All the same, planning or not, Kotoyama cements Call of the Night as a manga for the ages, and there’s still a few volumes to go.

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