Story/Art: Naoki Serizawa
Translation/Adaptation: Joe Yamazaki/Stan!
What They Say
Professor Wright and his nephew Ricky continue their investigation of the biohazard outbreak at Marhawa Academy. Upon entering an underground lab where the incident first occurred, they find evidence of the hooded woman, a prime suspect in bioterrorism events worldwide. As the number of victims grows, the hooded woman finally appears. The situation then takes a grim turn for the worse…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I’m having a tough time reviewing this volume, not because it’s complex in content (far from it, actually), but because there’s simply nothing interesting about “Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire” so far. I find it difficult to care about a series so geared towards the hardcore Resident Evil fan, chock full of cardboard characters and plot holes to boot. Once again, Chris Redfield’s team barely gets any presence, except for a moment of out-of-place, blatant Japanese nationalism when Merah eats champon from a school cafeteria and loves it. But in light of all of these complaints about the characters, the plot, and the dullness of both, I have to remind myself of what exactly I’m reading, because if you’re interested in this series, there’s only one thing to care about: zombies and action. Thankfully, this volume kicks it up a notch as opposed to the first, so there’s plenty of gore to be had.
Doug, Ricky, Bindi, and a couple other unimportant side characters descend into an underground lab to hunt out reported zombies. The bloody fight that ensues meets all expectations, in that while every development happens predictably according to the zombie action-thriller formula, just enough gore and surprise attacks occur to keep one satisfied. The fight extends to half of the volume, which is probably a good thing: “The Marhawa Desire’s” obvious strength lies in the action, not in the exposition and characters outside of it.
After the battle, another mystery gets added onto the pile: underground, Bindi claims to have seen her dead best friend, Nanan. Mother Gracia reveals to Doug and Ricky that both Bindi and Nanan attempted to escape the academy through the dense jungle, and during the struggle, Nanan slipped and hit her head open on a rock, killing her. I’m not sure what occurs at the end of the volume, and I can’t tell how much of that confusion comes from the mangaka’s choice or from simply lazy scene transitions. We get a jump from Gracia’s reveal to 2 hours later, in which one of the characters lies dead, and then a jump to Doug and Ricky confronting the hooded woman. I’m not sure what happened in-between there or where we even are time-wise in the story, but regardless, the hooded woman is revealed to be Nanan partially deformed into a zombie-like creature. The confrontation quickly results in Doug getting a lethal-looking wound, so we’ll see in the next volume whether the death of a major character might improve the stakes of the characters or not.
Once again, there’s an easy test for whether or not this series is worth reading to you: do you love Resident Evil? If yes, then “The Marhawa Desire” is worth a look, although don’t expect too much. If no, then avoid the series, as there are other manga titles significantly worthier of your time and money.
Content Grade: C+
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 18+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: January 20th, 2015