30 May / Thermae Romae III by Mari Yamazaki, translated by Stephen Paul
Before you can fully appreciate the final volume of the adventures of our favorite time-traveling hunky bathing beauty, you’ll need to dive into the two previous volumes to catch up. If nothing else, aren’t you curious why our ancient stoner is holding that bottle of Yakult? You won’t find out here … that’s a carryover nod from Volume I.
By now I’ve made peace-enough with references to the “flat-faces” whenever our good Roman plunges into the future. Which is where we find him as Volume III opens, taming a wild horse bareback in the hot springs town of Ito, Japan. Lucius has readily settled into the 21st century, learning as much as he can about the different types of hot springs and the mechanical operations of the traditional Japanese bath houses. Satsuki, the Latin-fluent scholar-in-training whose appearance happened to end Volume II, is now Lucius’ translator. Her grandfather soon enough realizes that Satsuki is far more than that to the enigmatic foreigner.
Meanwhile, the town of Ito is under threat, as shady developers are eager to build a sleek new resort. Our righteous Roman might not understand the threatening conversations, but he knows well how to quell any violence. As much as he’s saving the locals, he’s getting worried about what might be happening back home with his ailing Emperor. He’s got to get back … but this time, let’s just say he’s got company coming. Love knows no (temporal) bounds indeed.
If, like me, you’re left a bit disbelieving that “the story of the bath-time-traveling ancient Roman [is at] a close,” creator Mari Yamazaki offers quite the (hopeful) teaser on the final page. “To any upset readers,” she assuages, “wondering, ‘What about Satsuki’s grandpa? What about Hanako? What about the other people of Ito?’ I hope to wrap up their stories as well when the timing is right. Please bear with me until that time comes.” Seems like our award-winning artiste hasn’t soaked long enough just yet … certainly soothing news for the rest of us!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2014 (United States)