Story: Hiroshi Takashige
Translation/Adaptation: Stephen Paul
What They Say
Protecting Haruka from Ex Solid has gotten Mamoru involved in an even more sinister plot, organized by the terrorist group known as the Plunderers. The swordsman’s reckless tactics generate results, but they have also attracted the attention of the terrorists’ leader, Edge Turus. Mamoru’s allies in the Wall and the very people who hired him begin to fear that Mamoru’s methods are too extreme and could endanger those around him, including Haruka herself. Meanwhile, the police are connecting the dots between Haruka’s abduction and the recent string of attacks. As they and Edge close in, it may only be a matter of time before Mamoru has nowhere to run!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Volume two of Until Death do us Part has arrived to provide another meaty chunk of guns, car chases, and technobabble filled science fiction for action loving fans. Personally, I could do with a little less action and a little more backstory.
That’s not to say the action is bad. The battle at the lab ends with Mamoru’s team recovering the biochip that they came for and leaving the lab director with a huge mess on his hands. Mamoru was furious at discovering the lab had been doing clandestine stem cell work with discarded fetuses, but leaves the lab to the police. The whole reaction comes off as a weirdly heavy handed for a guy who has no qualms cutting people up.
Things ramp up suddenly following the offensive, as Edge’s men locate Haruka and lead the group into a trap. The ensuing battle inside the ocean tanker proves to be one of the best confrontations yet in the story, although the conclusion and aftermath are too convenient for my taste. Edge turns out to be not nearly as badass as he looks, and he’s forced to hire out help in taking down Mamoru.
Team Alpha and the majority of Wall depart, leaving Sierra behind to look after Haruka and to keep her eye on Mamoru. No one in the network is willing to trust a man everyone keeps referring to as a murderer. It won’t surprise me to see the network turning against Mamoru in the future, but it’s also clear that he wouldn’t last long without the network’s technology. At this point it’s probably more of a question of when than if.
The next challenger to Haruka’s freedom comes from the assassin that Edge hired. He’s another person wielding some high-tech toys, ones that trace back to a scientist on the board which funds Mamoru’s activities. The assassin sends out drones which cancel out all sound, thus striking at the heart of our hero’s one weakness. It’s crazy that no one on the street notices the robots hovering above their heads. They’re quiet, but not invisible!
I was hoping for some more character development in this volume, but unfortunately we still don’t find out much of anything about the cast. Most of what we do learn is about Haruka, once Officer Genda takes up her missing person case. Her grandmother is still alive, and obviously very concerned about her missing family members. This puts Haruka in a bad situation where she’s likely to loose the last family she has. Those that would use Haruka for their own nefarious means plan to continue to hunt her for the rest of her life. Meanwhile, her self-appointed guardians try to give her a normal life while hiding her identity. She is reenrolled in school, with an altered appearance and name, although how she can even begin to concentrate on school work is beyond me.
Speaking of Office Genda, he’s ridiculously astute. Detectives are often written one of two ways, hopelessly incompetent or beyond amazing. Genda is leaning towards the smarter end of the spectrum, but at this point not to unbelievable levels. After all, it wouldn’t do to have him tracking down the leads just yet.
As usual, Yen’s presentation for this volume is respectable. There’s a handful of color pages to open the book and a page of translation notes in case you need them. The artist and his crew provide some color commentary between books, and a few quirky strip comics as well which prove that all the assistants are talented in their own right. It’s not surprising to see that with all of those detailed backgrounds and guns that yet another assistant has joined the crew for the artist to torment.
If action is what you’re looking for, Until Death will provide you with a overdose of it. Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of character development for Mamoru and the others. It’s still fun to watch the terrorists get trounced by a blind man and a twelve year old girl, and there’s some good intrigue building in the background. The criminals are finally starting to prove themselves as a real threat, as the bigger guns are called out to bring in Haruka. Still, the plot needs to hurry up and give me a reason to care what happens to Mamoru and what his stake in all this is.
Content Grade: B –
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 25th, 2012