It’s always a good sign when a collection begins with the potential execution of a main character.
It’s not so good when you then remember there’s about another hundred volumes of the story to go, so chances that they’ll be successfully poleaxed are probably slim.
That disappointment aside, volume proceeds as you’d imagine it would: plans have stumbling blocks and then come together – and then have further stumbling blocks. Friendship and honouring the bond with one’s comrades is highlighted. People attempt to kill other people using weapons made of blood. And there’s gratuitous panty-flashes.
We learn more about the conspiracies inside the prison, and about particular characters’ foetus-related backstories. There’s snippets of Undertaker history dispensed, all covered with a mixture of sympathy and SWEET JESUS ARE THEY HUMAN HEADS?
It’s exactly what I expect from this thing.
Of course, the main thrust of the story here – despite all the focus on getting the outside world to know the score about what’s happening inside the prison – is about Ganta’s development. He will (I expect) go through the Hero’s journey over what remains of the story. It can’t come soon enough, as his two-note emotion – pissed off or crybaby – are wearing a bit thin, so I’m hoping the influence of some more hard-arse characters will liven things up a bit.
I expect that as this series continues, my reviews will become shorter and shorter. This isn’t a reflection so much on the quality of the work, but a reflection of the fact that the pace is (despite bursts of well-conducted action) quite slow. Still, I’m in five deep now: better push on.