Because the Water Dragon God wants to interact with Asahi more, he descends to the village in the guise of a human. Asahi’s friend Subaru has mixed feelings about this, but he joins them in a journey to the capital. How will their adventures there change their fate?
The fourth volume of The Water Dragon’s Bride has the Water God inserting himself into her life in the village. But despite the fact that he now appears human, he is still a god essentially, something that Asahi is trying to understand. She thinks he is lonely, and doesn’t know anything about humans and wants to learn, but I feel she is just a curiosity to him. When this year’s ritual come around, she makes him take her and Subaru out for a trip for 3 days – they go to a bigger village, where a wildfire has her remembering never to depend on him, or trust his help. She resolves the situation by her own will, whether it is bringing down a wildfire, taking care of her villagers when they come down sick, or when faced with a child emperor who wants to use her power. Asahi basically embodies the lesson that you don’t need a divine power to do things, and in fact, it is foolish to depend on a god to listen to your pleas.
I liked the turn this book took, mainly because I was worried it was going to continue the ‘romance’. The gods are all cold by nature, and it is more evident when he talks about how even the seemingly kind Wood Goddess has a warped sense of kindness. In this world, the five gods are all callous beings, for whom humans only exist for amusement, and yet Asahi is stuck with these people who would continuously beseech them for help. As for Subaru, he is obviously in love with her, but also understands that she can only be truly happy when she will get to go back home. But he is also worried about the increasing presence of the god in her life, and whether he would take advantage of her. For the most part, though, Subaru still comes across as passive, except when Asahi is in danger. The other notable character is Tsukihiko, who is sort of like her retainer and I’m interested in what that other woman (who was a traveler like Asahi) meant to him, and how she died.
The artwork is as beautiful as ever, but is a little sparse on details. The story balances out the humor and good times with the serious moments in this one. I am interested in what more lies in wait for Asahi, and how she overcomes those challenges.