REVIEW: ‘Queen’s Quality,’ Volume 9

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Queens Quality Volume 9 

As the sequel to QQ Sweeper, also from mangaka Kyousuke Motomi, Queen’s Quality Volume 9 marks the end to the series’ Byakko arc and finally gives us that sweet shojo romance fulfillment that fans have been waiting for. Published in English by VIZ Media through their Shojo Beat imprint, this romantic supernatural series is one of my favorite of the imprint’s offering. It offers dynamic and dark action with an emotional relationship between Fumi and Kyutaro.

The series itself is about a high school girl named Fumi Nishioka who is found sleeping homeless in the old school building by the school’s beautification member Kyoutaro. Later, she finds out he’s a Sweeper that works to clean the negative energy, in the form of bugs, within people’s minds. The Sweepers work as exorcists of sorts, saving people from what is essentially their inner demons which have morphed into something malice filled and too big to be contained. Their relationship is established in QQ Sweeper, and this series begins with Fumi as a resident helper learning to be a Sweeper herself at Kyutaro’s family’s mansion. Not that Fumi is Kyutaro’s apprentice, but she soon learns that cleaning isn’t as easy as it might seem. The more the two of them work together the more they fall in love.

But Fumi isn’t just a regular Sweeper, she is in fact the vessel for the Black Queen and the White Queen, powerful rare forces known for killing their hosts. In the first arc, we saw Fumi confront her own malice to kill the Black Queen and gain her power. Now, Queen’s Quality Volume 9 covers the end of Fumi’s confrontation with the White Queen. This volume deals with the aftermath of confronting the Silver Snake and saving Kyutaro’s father from his hold, which causes Fumi to call on the power of the White Queen. While I love this series for Motomi’s excellent skill in crafting action, it’s the romance that has completely consumed me, and in this arc, we finally see it all pay off.

Over the course of nine volumes, Fuyu, Kyutaro’s first love, has hung over their romance, keeping Fumi from exploring her feelings. However, Motomi clues readers into the truth: Fuyu is Fumi before she lost her memories. As a fan, its been hard to see Kyutaro hold in this truth to protect Fumi, especially as Fumi agonized over falling in love with him. But where the Black Queen forced Fumi to confront her malice and despair, the White Queen pushes Fumi to confront her happiness.

Following Kyutaro’s confession in volume 8 and the fight to save his father, Fumi knows her past now for the first time in the series. But in this sense of completeness, Fumi has realized that the White Queen is Fuyu, or rather her as a child from 10 years prior. And while finding herself is a good thing, it also forces her to make a choice: surrender to Fuyu and let her live by Kyutaro’s side or kill her, erasing her and her memories forever.

The beauty of Queen’s Quality Volume 9  is in the way Motomi highlights the complexity of emotions and showcases our heroine coming into her own agency. Instead of being focused on malice, Fumi is told to decide whose happiness she will choose. The way the White Queen presents it, one hand is Fumi’s happiness and the other is Kyutaro’s, even though we know Kyutaro loves her regardless of Fuyu. It’s here where we get to see Fumi confront her uncertainty and find her power in choosing herself. It’s a powerful moment and a beautiful end to a stellar arc.

Overall, Queen’s Quality Volume 9 gives me the romantic payoff that so few shojo romances of any genre do. But beyond that, Motomi has presented a dynamic female lead with Fumi. She has been allowed to feel; she has been allowed to confront her pain. But above all else, she was allowed to choose herself.

Queen’s Quality Volume 9 is available from booksellers now.

Queen's Quality Volume 9
5

TL;DR

Overall, Queen’s Quality Volume 9 gives me the romantic payoff that so few shojo romances of any genre do. But beyond that, Motomi has presented a dynamic female lead with Fumi. She has been allowed to feel; she has been allowed to confront her pain. But above all else, she was allowed to choose herself.