Hinowa ga CRUSH! volume 4 introduces to almost all of Tenrou’s Ten Stars, has Hinowa and the gang fight some pirates, and then has Hisame battling for his beloved’s heart. In other words, more nutsos, an underwater battle, and turtle racing.
Yep, just another day in the world of Hinowa ga CRUSH!.
Yomihime arrives with Nahashu in Tenrou’s capital, and other members of the Ten Stars arrive shortly thereafter to meet with their king. Like most manga groups, each one has their own specialty and quirk. Moegi, another military commander, loves sleeping with guys, and Shamon the diplomat is a sweet talker of a priest…but only to men. One member is missing, so Takahiro isn’t laying all of his cards on the table just yet. As they talk about Wakoku and all of its nations, the king’s motivations are made clear: he wants to live a long, healthy life — and he’s got his eye on Soukai’s legendary mermaids whose flesh supposedly increase one’s lifespan if eaten.
Well, who knows if mermaids do live in Soukai’s seas, but the seas are very important to Soukai’s king. Which is why he ecstatically accepts Hisame’s proposal to take down pirates. With Hinowa and the gang’s power, it’s a relatively short clash. Four men riding turtles and trying to sabotage their opponents shouldn’t seem like a tougher challenge than two groups of warriors clashing — especially with a 1-on-1 battle underwater!
This results in Hinowa having to deal with her first death as a captain, but she gets over it faster than I thought. Yes, she had Akame and the others to encourage her (and she’s already had to deal with the death of her mother), but Hinowa needs to suffer a real setback in order for her to grow stronger. The manga’s narration reveals that this time of relative peace is going to be shattered soon, which isn’t a surprise with the Ten Stars’ introduction at the beginning of this volume.
But the Ten Stars may not be the first major hurdle for the gang, as Hisame angers a commander named Waniba as they face-off (along with a couple of others) to be eligible to be Princess Rinzu’s husband in a battle royale turtle race. Gotta give credit for creativity and not turning this into a multi-event storyline. The winner of the race is declared, but Takahiro writes in his notes that readers will want to come back to these chapters later. So we’ll have to see what other roles Hisame’s rivals are to play in this story.
While I haven’t been a big fan of strelka’s art, volume 4 actually looks good. The Ten Stars, being of different ages, don’t all suffer from the big eyes and/or babyfaces of the main cast. One, for example, has her eyes almost always closed, and another is in a kabuki-like mask. The sexual content is still rather explicit, and we see heads collected on skewers, but it’s tamer than other entries in this universe. At least Takahiro acknowledges there are a lot of, quote, “kinky guys” in Soukai, so if anybody out there gets isekai’d into this world…be careful.
Joking aside, I am surprised at how much Hinowa ga CRUSH! has improved since its debut, and with the series likely about to kick things into high gear, I am cautiously optimistic. Hinowa and her friends continue to dominate, but knowing Takahiro’s record, tragedy can’t be too far behind — and I doubt she’ll be able to bounce back or win over her opponents so easily.