It has been a long held saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Now, whilst this is true enough in most scenarios, the waters are noticeably muddied in conflicts containing an ever increasing number of factions. Wherein one moment you may find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with necessitous allies, the next you may notice a blade placed firmly between your shoulder blades. Such is war in an ever crumbling society I’m afraid although, if you are particularly fortunate, you may just happen upon a few who are allies in the truest sense of the word, and ones who will leave your back remarkably un-stabbed.
With vampires being the apparent jerk bags that they are, humanity is in rather swift need of a truly powerful strike force, capable of relieving a certain blood sucking sect of the world of their metaphorically big heads and well over inflated senses of ego. Luckily for this particular fictitious, apocalyptic world, Shinoa Company are here and, by way of protagonistic power, are just the ragtag team the world has been looking for. With a less than controlled outburst during his last foray to the front line, we find Yu delving deep into his own mind to face his literal inner demon. Now for those who have read the preceding five volumes, which I assume all reading this have, we know that Asuramaru is an odd little ball of malevolence. Longing to hijack Yu’s body for all deeds evil and twisted, this innocent looking being has aided Yu more than once in the past. Sure Yu has the iron will of a main character, but there has alway been just a little more dwelling beneath Asuramaru’s temporary adherence to his strength. Interesting to be sure, yet I find Seraph slipping back into a complaint I possessed about earlier volumes, in that pacing seems to ramp up in moments that could require a little more meat on their bones, so to speak. In Yu’s latest example of internal heroism, it feels as if Asuramaru all too readily accepts Yu’s offer of simple friendship. Whilst this could hint at Asuramaru’s true nature being much more compassionate than he lets on, the sequence played out almost dismissively as the demon’s rant was shot down by the suggestion of caring for each other. Though not tragically detrimental to the flow of the narrative, it was just missing that little bit extra to truly drive the moment, and the emotions contained within, home.
In a sense of external plot development, this volume contained a large amount of information that, despite begining to answer some of the series lingering questions, existed for the purpose of kicking off the next arc in the story. With numerous references to the still mysterious experiments performed on children via the methods of the “evil” humans, we come to find that there may be more to a number of familiar faces. To that same point, it is rather flippantly stated how demons come to exist into this world, at least those who inhabit the Cursed Gear. Whether this applies to the menageries of horrors that dwell across Japan is yet to be seen, as does any hint towards what made vampires launch their attack so recently in their apparently prolonged history, if the occasional vampiric age check is anything to go by. That being said, it is nice to see the manga continue on this path of cohesion as it tethers the various floating plot masses together, though this is still a process very much in motion.
Ultimately, Volume Six is the calm before the storm. With glimpses of potential fights, declarations of intents and two fifths of the main cast reaching new heights of power, the events that follow will surely feature their fair share of blood, in one way or another. That being said, the aforementioned set-up made this a rather dialogue heavy volume. Don”t get me wrong, I am a fan of the written word, but perhaps a little more action, or action centered panels, would’ve keep things a little bit more engaging. Just a fair warning for those looking for some more human on vampire murder action, or vice versa. Regardless, I am glad that we are most certainly progressing forward in this plot, mired in a criss-cross of factions who each want somebody dead and are willing to form tumultuous allegiances to that end. Though if the series’ throughline is anything to bet on, you have to have hope that family will win in the end. Now, what family means exactly is open to interpretation, at least it is if you care enough to question it.
Face your inner demons over at Madman…or just buy stuff, up to you