Some happy endings are undeserved and underserved, this might be one of them.
Story/Art: Kaori Yuki
Translation/Adaptation: Camellia Nieh
What They Say
At long last………the final showdown is nigh……
When he realizes that his erstwhile friend has become warped enough to use his own daughter as a pawn to further his own aims, Sorath resolves to fight Garan. From Kiyora, the tortured living sacrifice of the great Lord of Terror’s seal to the traitorous Leice to the imprisoned Nonoha–many fates hang in the balance as a century of resentment and intrigue comes to a head in the climactic battle at the Ziggurat, the gateway to the netherworld!
The black-magic fantasy peaks with explosive intensity in its final volume!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This is the final volume of Demon From Afar. It’s time for the final confrontation between good and evil, and it very much appears that evil is winning.
Sorath has been always a step or seven behind the demons that he is dealing with. In this volume he eventually learns what he really was, who Noella actually was, and what he must do to save everyone. Yes, everyone, even those that probably deserve to be dragged back to hell. At least the explanations make a certain level of logical internal sense. They don’t exactly explain why Sorath was considered a being strong enough to destroy the world. His true nature was destructive, but not that destructive! Likewise, the secret to Garan’s longevity is also explained satisfactorily.
There’s a portion of this story which will no doubt be too much for some readers. This is a dark fantasy and the author isn’t shying away from the squick. There’s a scene which sets up an incest rape of a child which, while not showing anything, outright tells you that the worst happened behind closed doors. The story eventually attempts to make this all better for the reader because it was actually a huge ruse which took place to trick both Garan and Sorath, and the devil himself, into believing that’s what happened. However, Garan is eventually shown as being not completely vile and evil, and Leice tries to hand wave away the fact that he must have realized it was her and not Nonoha he was raping. Yeah, no. I don’t buy that and Garan didn’t deserve his five seconds of redemption in the closing confrontation. That last final battle? We don’t see, at all. The scene cuts away.
Just like that, the story comes to an end. The ending is strangely ambiguous on the fate of several characters, to the point where the author has to tell us in the afterword the fate of one of them. Did Sorath find his way back to Nonoha, and in what form? I can almost hear the magazine editor in the background of the final few chapters telling Yuki to wrap it up. Yet the story seemed oddly rushed and poorly paced from a very early on. Even the lead’s fate is confusingly open-ended.
I’m still completely confused as to why Yen Press published this series in hardcover. I’m guessing it was part of the deal for Yuki’s new series which they also licensed.
Demon From Afar couldn’t seem to determine if it wanted to be an episodic action series or a gothic horror before circling around to quickly wrap itself up. There are some interesting ideas here, especially with how vicious the demons are and the melding of ancient evil and modern times, but the execution is all over the place. Some of the characters get undeserved happy endings, especially after the heinous acts they participate in. The rushed pacing did this story no favors, and yet some of the tangents it went off on were completely unnecessary. It felt as if this was originally aiming to be a longer series than it ended up becoming. Kaori Yuki completionists will no doubt pick up this series regardless of the narrative quality because the packaging in impressive. It’s just not Kaori Yuki’s strongest work by far.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 22nd, 2016