Story and Art: Yoshinori Natsume
Translation/Adaptation: Camellia Nieh
What They Say
Mikito and Kugai encounter a powerful being called Suguri, who has been spreading ogre seeds and killing monsters wherever he goes. He wants to destroy Mikito, but he must battle Kugai and a special hunter named Gogyo first. Will Mikito unleash his awesome ogre powers?
Content: (Please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers.)
The encounter with Suguri is brief. Kugai sustains massive injuries from just one attack, Mikito is left unscathed, despite Zakuro’s warning that he would die once the “unripe” ogre was discovered. But Zakuro is no less worried, certain they will come for Mikito again – after all, these beings have Zakuro imprisoned, and they will stop anything that might free him.
Before they can recover the manga lurches into another dilemma. Kugai and Mikito have to run from another threat – other hunters. Kugai hadn’t gained permission to go into this area, and disobedient hunters are punished. Plus when they realize Mikito is an ogre Kugai’s sure they’ll both die. After a useless race through the forest the hunters cut them off. One is Gogyo, an old acquaintance of Kugai, but it only makes Kugai more worried. With is special enhancement, a Serpesynth Eye, it was no trouble for Gogyo to track them down, and it takes him only a moment to see what Mikito is.
What follows can hardly be called a battle. A whip-wielding hunter immediately crushes the injured Kugai, and a freakishly strong hunter grabs Mikito before he can do anything. Packed up in a truck, Mikito is plagued by gruesome daydreams of being vivisected, while Kugai questions just how much the higher-ups know about the ogre-eating creatures.
The plot takes another jolting turn as Suguri returns, suddenly aggressive and hell-bent on killing Mikito. Two entire chapters race by before it’s revealed that others of Suguri’s group, who already don’t think highly of him, urged him to go back and destroy Zakuro’s last hope – Mikito. Two of the hunters make an odd disappearance during this fight – the battle starts up, and all we can assume is that they simply walk off. But Kugai and Gogyo put up a fight, managing to damage Suguri before taking powerful hits themselves. Seeing his protectors hurt is enough to finally set Mikito off as he turns into his powerful ogre form. Mikito holds his own at first, as Suguri tries to recover from his injuries, but as Suguri lashes back his power overwhelms Mikito
The lack of female characters continues to disappoint, and Natsume seems aware of the problem in the bonus pages, where a character states “Isn’t that lethal in a modern shonen manga?” It is, and Natsume needs to find a way to bring some of the original ladies back, if only to spice up the story.
This volume is even more action-packed than the previous one, but the jerky story-telling and confusing battles also makes it more difficult to follow. Add to that new characters that get no development and then disappear, and the whole volume feels like it was created in a mad rush. We’re given a sense of intrigue as the bigger picture of the hunters and Zakuro’s imprisonment is hinted at, but even that gets brushed aside as the plot tumbles over itself. I still have hopes for the direction the story is taking, but Natsume has to figure out the pacing to make up for this messy volume.
Age Rating: T+
Released By: VIZ Media, LLC
Release Date: March 8, 2011
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN