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Black Torch Vol. #05 Manga Review (Final Volume)

4 min read
Jiro completes his training under Ibuki, but is it enough to take out Amagi?
Black Torch Vol. #05

Together as one.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Tsuyoshi Takaki
Translation/Adaptation: Adrienne Beck

What They Say
With Jiro able to fully awaken and use Rago’s power, the final battle with Amagi is about to begin. Will Jiro and his friends be able to stop the rampaging demon Amagi in time? Don’t miss the thrilling conclusion!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

Jiro completes his training under Ibuki, but is it enough to take out Amagi?

This final volume opens with Amagi gathering together his followers, only for a mass slaughter to begin. If it feels sudden and impatient, that’s because it is. At this point, the author was probably aware that interest in serialization was waning and that he had to wrap things up.

With Amagi turning on his followers he still has his eyes on Rago’s power. Rago has to put his faith in Jiro, and Jiro likewise has to put his faith in his new friends. He’s been standoffish at the Bureau for forcing him to join, but now he has to embrace the fact that at least some of those folks are looking out for him. So with the team reunited and an open invitation from Amagi for a showdown, the final fight begins.

The other two student shinobi get a few moments to show off what they can do against mindless insect mononoke, but ultimately they are sidelined. There isn’t much time for a grand show for the side characters, and focus is shifted to Jiro. 

We do get Amagi’s backstory and motivation for why he’s doing what he’s doing. His hatred toward humans isn’t even born of malice, but of a sense that the strong should rule the weak. We also get an explanation of where mononoke come from and how they fit into the world. 

Amagi always felt like the big bad in this conflict and the series as a whole, but the author’s notes frame the situation a bit differently. Amagi’s meteoric rise and fall may have always been planned as nothing more than an opening act. It appears the real challenges were to come later.

The final fight goes about as I expected. Jiro uses his power, ultimately can’t win under his own abilities, remerges with Rago and the two finish off Amagi. The pair escape and recover, and the cast looks towards the future as a fighting team.

The author has time to wrap up the current conflict, but many plot threads remain incomplete. Unlike many canceled series, he takes the time to write up a series of character profiles detailing the immediate future of everyone in the cast. It reads like the author’s plot notes for the next major character arcs and provides a large amount of backstory for nearly every cast member. Combined with the multiple thank-you paragraphs from the author to his readers, this is probably one of the few canceled series where I feel like the author actually cared about his readers enough to tell them what else he had planned. 

The extras in this volume are as stated above, with the final color illustration being a group shot of everyone moving forward.

In Conclusion:
i>Black Torch tried to carve out a niche in the overpopulated monster and ninja category of manga. Where it succeeded in delivering lively, dynamic art with an excellent style and well-paneled and blocked action, it struggled with originality in the setting, characters, and the scenario. Rago was the standout star, because that cat has charisma, but if you’ve read one modern-day ninja epic you’ve read them all. It’s a shame there wasn’t enough time for the other two leads to block out their own place in the narrative, and in a smaller pub this series might have survived past five volumes… but even Jump sister publications take no prisoners. I’ll miss the grumpy demon cat though.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Teen +
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 6, 2019
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CN / £6.99 UK

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