So last time, The Grudge was coming (you’ll find out how accurate this actually is).
This volume starts off with Himari dreaming about two people talking. She can’t really hear what they’re saying; only the words “unnecessary” and “severing” are caught. Someone says “you are unnecessary” before she jolts awake.
Himari feels a little dizzy upon waking up to which Aoi (when did he get there) asks her if she’s coming down with something and tries to feel her forehead. Of course, this prompts hilarious scolding from Himari about coming into her room and sleeping next to her (“it’s too soon for that!” she yells).
Aoi responds cutely and, I must say, very innocently: “Is it bad for two people in love to sleep next to each other?”
Considering the sheltered and limited upbringing he’s had, that’s not really surprising. Yukari sets him straight. Well, mostly.
We move on to Ise bringing up the fact that Hakka, the Guardian of the Gate is now Aoi’s new shikigami and nobody even told him! Hakka brazenly introduces himself as Aoi’s new shikigami and his ambition to become the next Nue.
Ise and Zushi are a little upset with the addition of Hakka but Yukari doesn’t put much value on Hakka, saying he’s open to welcoming more “pawns” lol!
Himari sees their interaction and later comments to Yukari that Aoi’s shikigami are like a family to him. Yukari says that the bond between a shikigami and their master is a strong one and mentions that Aoi promised him some kind of “payment” for his contract.
Yukari jokingly says Aoi promised him his soul when Himari asks but says that it is actually something quite simple. He doesn’t go into detail about what it is but he says that there’s nothing more important to an ayakashi than a promise.
Their conversation is interrupted when the lesser yokai come bursting in saying Momochi house is stained black!
The umbrella yokai motion to some other lesser yokai that came from the back of the house that look like somebody splashed black paint on them. One of them, a little doll-looking yokai says that Aoi has to come to the back of the house right away.
(Sorry for my lack of highlighting skills. I should probably get Photoshop or something). Hakka burst out of a cupboard (where they keep the sacred sake no less) so he can go check it out. Yukari gets ready to go inform Aoi when Ise shows up and says there’s no need, he’ll go check it out himself. He refuses Hakka’s offer to go along and follows the lesser yokai to the back of the house.
Meanwhile, the others go collect Aoi anyway and everyone heads toward the back of the house. So far, nothing out of the ordinary. Himari experiences a dizzy spell as she mentions how the lesser yokai said the house was stained black. Hakka says this is why he offered to accompany Ise since the yokai urged them to go into the deepest depths of the house.
Just as Aoi’s about to say something, a bloodied Ise falls from out of nowhere!
He’s not dead but he is severely injured and remains unconscious for the rest of this volume. The umbrella yokai, Karagasa, it looks like it’s called, and the other typical resident yokai are troubled by this and apologize to Aoi for making a fuss about the inner-resident yokai.
While they stay with Ise, Aoi tells them he will go deeper into the house. Yukari, Himari, and Hakka join him again to find out what the heck is going on.
They go back to where they found Ise. Himari doesn’t sense anything strange other than her head feeling a little heavy. Aoi tells her he doesn’t want to overdo things and that they’ll go further in without her. Just then, tons of hands break through the paper doors reaching for them!
Aoi using his seals does the trick and everyone goes on the alert as they’ve entered the culprit’s realm now. Hakka notices the culprit has appeared. Deep within the house a dark entity appears looking creepy as crap and just like the Nue.
Aoi tries to transform into the Nue but can’t! Yukari springs forth to protect them. The Dark Nue tells him that of course he can’t transform into Nue, as there can only be one Nue of Momochi House.
He (as I learn later it is a he) tells them that after being trapped for many years, he’s come to settle his “grudge” (see? there it is. The Grudge: Momochi House! Okay, I’ll stop).
Dark Nue goes on the attack but Hakka steps in and uses his powers as Guardian of the Gate to trap him in an infinite corridor. He does this by connecting two area together like having two mirrors face each other. It’s only temporary though.
Hakka deduces that the Dark Nue is the one who came before Aoi. But he’s not acting like the Nue should be acting. Where the Nue is suppose to protect Momochi house, he’s trying to destroy it and even attacked the current Nue and shikigami.
Himari wonders what happened to make him like this as Aoi is able to transform into Nue. He can transform, but only in areas where the Dark Nue doesn’t exist. This makes it difficult for Nue to try to purge or seal him away.
Himari is feeling faint again as she detects the house becoming corrupt and turning black. Nue promises Himari he’ll protect the house, even if it means taking out the other Nue. She tells him he mustn’t fight the Dark Nue, thinking something bad will happen just as she passes out.
She’s dreaming again. It looks like the same two people from her previous dream only this time it’s expanded. One of them says his role is coming to an end and then a figure that looks like the Nue is walking out the door. Another man, who looks like he’s wearing a mask is seen walking by the screen saying he still feels his presence in the house.
Himari wakes up and has the crap scared out of her when Hakka-who’s peeping at through a hole in the paper door-asks her what she saw. He tells her that her dizzy spells are probably being caused by the “Reverse Momochi house.”
The Nue is supposed to be a being without equal and yet here we have the previous Nue resurrected. Because the house is being corrupted by the Dark Nue, and her role as landlady, Himari is feeling the negative changes and it’s making her sick.
Himari tries to ask if Hakka knew what happened to the previous Nue but because Aoi considers this “unneeded” Hakka can’t say anything. Before he can too much more Aoi appears and sends him up into the ceiling.
Aoi reassures her that he’s investigating with Yukari and he’ll take car of the Dark Nue. Himari protests, saying her dreams are trying to tell her something and she mustn’t allow the two Nues to fight. She reels and passes out again.
Later on, Himari wakes up to find Aoi right beside her. He knows her dreams have been making her uneasy which is why he’s staying by her side. Happy but bashful, she starts to tell him about boundaries before he tells her he understands that if he doesn’t do anything, he can stay by her side.
She’s still feeling overwhelmed, having the person she likes so close. Himari gets up and opens the sliding doors under the pretense of cooling off after being in the stuffy room. When she opens the doors tons of lanterns are lighting up the porch outside. They both sit down to enjoy them.
Aoi puts his coat around her and she says he’s very kind. Aoi asks does she think so and says he’s not kind at all.
Earlier, he was scouring every text in the house trying to find clues to the Dark Nue while Yukari tries to get his attention. Yukari tells him to calm down but he’s worried about Himari’s condition and how the black tainting Momochi house reminds him of her parent’s diary. Aoi’s afraid Himari might suffer the same fate.
Yukari is also against Aoi fighting the other Nue but the alternative is Aoi could lose Himari. Aoi’s feeling guilty. The Dark Nue called him an impostor and he thinks maybe he’s being punished for being “selfish” and telling Himari he loved her. He goes back to the texts while Yukari tells him he’s losing sight of himself.
Aoi turns back to him with a smile and says that he already noticed that Aoi’s now pretty much halfway ayakashi.
Back to the present, Himari has fallen asleep while Aoi thinks that he’s not kind at all and that he couldn’t hold back from voicing his true feelings. As he’s standing in the doorway, he transforms in Nue and says goodbye as the doors close.
Himari jolts awake wondering if the figure she saw was Aoi or her dream. Suddenly, the little round yokai appears telling her she must go and that Aoi has gone to the back of the house by himself. It tells Himari Aoi mustn’t do that and they should go after him. Hesitant, Himari takes the little yokai along.
Himari and Yukari race towards the back of the house with the little yokai to guide them. They’re a little wary of whether they can trust the little yokai but the important thing is to stop Aoi.
The run into Hakka down the hall who says he had some business to attend to. Since Aoi went into the reverse realm, his command seals on his shikigami have weakened. Hakka tells Himari that when a Nue exhausts his powers, Momochi house devours him. The Dark Nue and the Nue before him both disappeared in the house.
Yukari thinks back to earlier when Aoi told him he was already half ayakashi. Even though Himari returned him to human form there are no boundaries between him and Nue. He realizes he will become a full ayakashi and be swallowed by the house. Aoi says he doesn’t think he will be able to stay with Himari.
Aoi has finally encountered the Dark Nue. They face off and Aoi manages to hold his own for a bit. Until he doesn’t. Dark Nue manages to get in close and stabs Aoi!
Dark Nue laughs as Hakka’s shikigami seal disappears from around his neck. Himari is utterly shocked as a new laugh rings out. A person wearing a mask comes out saying the impostor is dead and now there is only one Nue in this world.
Himari tries to go to Aoi but Yukari holds her back. She pleads with him to let her go save Aoi but Yukari tells her that’s just an empty shell. He pulls her close and tells her if anything happened to her he couldn’t face Aoi.
Hakka asks who the newcomer is. The guy has half of a long mask and tells Hakka he’s Nue’s first shikigami. Hakka’s pretty skeptical about the Dark Nue being the Omamori-sama but the mask guy interrupts him, saying who cares about the Omamori-sama or Momochi house and that it should be demolished.
The Dark Nue goes on the attack, destroying the house and attacking Himari and the shikigami. Yukari holds them off while Hakka escapes with Himari.
As the two go down a hall with many rooms, Himari sees different visions in each one. The two from her dream, one of which is the mask guy. One room shows him being made a shikigami, another shows the other man telling him he grateful to have mask guy serve him. The two enjoying sake and flower-viewing and finally the young man, the previous Omamori-sama, telling mask guy his role is at an end and he is severing their shikigami contract.
As Himari asks what happened to the previous Nue, mask guy watches them run away, saying he waited a long time for the Nue to return and that his master won’t be devoured by Momochi house. So obviously he didn’t take it well when his master told him he was severing their contract.
The reverse side is spreading, staining the house black (Rolling Stones, anyone? I like that song).
Hakka tells Himari that since Aoi is dead and the only way to fight back is for Himari to appoint him as the new Nue. As the landlady this is something she could do and it’s the only way to save the house and avenge Aoi.
Hakka leans in close to exchange vows with Himari when the little yokai breaks them up, telling Hakka to look out. Dark arms come flying out, surrounding them and attacking Hakka. Before they can get to Himari, Aoi comes and saves her!!
Himari is absolutely relieved while Hakka’s unhappy at being interrupted. His shikigami seal reappears as the two seem to be in on something. Himari is confused while Yukari appears, having guessed the Aoi they saw was a substitution charm. Through their shikigami bond, Yukari sensed Aoi had something planned.
Aoi apologizes to Himari and Yukari for keeping them out of the loop as he had to draw out mask guy from wherever he was hiding. Mask guy is not happy to see Aoi alive but he’s confident his master will kill him for real this time.
Aoi has Hakka connect the dark Momochi house and true house so Aoi can transform into Nue. Using Hakka’s power as Guardian of the Gate, Nue can finally attack.
Mask guy blocks an attack on the Dark Nue, saying he won’t let them put a scratch on his master. Mask guy is immortal and his injuries quickly heal. Nue figures out that he’s immortal because his mask is his real body. He tells him he’s aiming for that next.
Mask guy doesn’t care. Even if his body crumbles his goal of reviving his Nue and having revenge on Momochi house will be achieved. Nue tells him enough, and that the Dark Nue is just a puppet with no soul. He’s a product of mask guy’s remorse and hatred.
Nue says that since Dark Nue is a vessel that recognizes him as Nue and responds accordingly, but he’s just a body with no soul. Mask guy denies everything and has Dark Nue attack. It doesn’t effect Nue and he has Hakka make a connection to the back side of the reverse house.
He connects it and there are two doors where the Dark Nue came from. Hakka asks mask guy what he did to the previous Nue to which mask guy responds that Momochi house did this to him.
The little yokai pops out and tells Himari to open the doors. She races towards the doors, the attacks not being able to hit her and pulls them open.
Inside is a lot of blood stains, seals, a big knife, and an incense jar. Reverse soul incense to be exact. It can revive the souls of the dead according to legend. But apparently it wasn’t powerful enough to bring back his master so mask guy used a forbidden technique and offer parts of his body as sacrifices.
He recalls that his master disappeared suddenly right after telling him he was severing their contract and walks out the sliding doors. When he goes after him, his master is nowhere to be seen.
He wanders the house and eventually learns of the Nue’s fate when he exhausts his powers. Mask guy is devastated at this but refuses to accept it as he can still sense his master’s presence in the house. So he wanders the house again in search until he can’t remember what it was he was searching for.
And then one day, it’s there: the reverse soul incense. Mask guy makes offerings until his grudge take the form of the Dark Nue.
Mask guy knows that puppet isn’t really his master but he can’t admit it. He starts talking about how weak his master was without him there to protect him and other little things even as he questions if his master really looked like that or sounded like that. He tells the others that his master was only the Nue for a year before the house devoured him.
Himari can feel the sadness corrupting the house and wants to protect her home. Behind her, a young man walks by one of the sliding doors and tells her to destroy the incense jar.
The Dark Nue is tainting the house while mask guy realizes he can’t remember what his master looked or sounded like. He realizes the puppet is just a corruption of his thoughts and tries to kill him but the Dark Nue fights back. Before the Dark Nue can inflict any more damage, Himari tells the mask guy to wake up as she smashes the incense jar.
The Dark Nue is rendered useless while Himari encourages mask guy to remember his master’s voice as she’s heard it before, in her dreams. Mask guy is angry, thinking she’s pitying him, but Himari realizes his master has been by his side the whole time and tells him to come out.
The little yokai comes forward, apologizing to her and stands before mask guy, whose name is Kagura, and tells him that puppet is not him.
The little yokai is the previous Nue, the real one. He apologizes to Kagura but also admonishes him too. Seeing no other choice, the previous Nue’s spirit exits that of the little yokai doll and enters the puppet vessel, telling him it’s not very well made.
The Dark Nue puppet comes to life and he touches Kagura’s face asking him why he couldn’t let him rest in peace. Kagura looks stunned and asks if he’s really his master, Amane, to which Amane just smiles and says who knows, maybe he’s just Kagura’s lingering attachment. Himari watches them and wonders what happened between the two.
Holy cow. That was a long one. This volume was cute and sweet but creepy and also sad. That Dark Nue was creepy-looking!! But seeing bits of Amane and Kagura’s past was also a little sad and tragic. Kagura seems like the serious servant who has to worry about stuff because his boss doesn’t worry about anything. But now that there’s two Nues, what going to happen?? Where did the reverse soul incense come from? Does it matter? I’m guessing Kasha; he’s always pulling shady stuff.
There’s a little short at the end about Valentine’s Day, it’s pretty funny.
The next volume of Momochi House is out today, so I’m posting this and then I’m reading the next volume! Until next time!!