Amon (Manga) Volume 5 Review

Plot: Returning to the Devilman timeline, Akira and the others struggle with trying to live in their post-apocalyptic society as more and more people are turning into devilmen. As the demon and devilman numbers increase, so do the numbers of people killed by the ADSC. Many allies fall, and Akira starts to have difficulties discerning between himself and Devilman.

Breakdown: It is so nice to be back in familiar territory. After four volumes of oddities and confusion, it’s a relief to finally have a good idea of what’s happening.

This volume returns us to the Devilman world we’re familiar with, but sticks us right in the part where the great war has already happened and humanity is starting to go extinct. I appreciate the volume starting at this point because this was one part of the manga I really wanted to see more of.

Trouble is, there’s not much they’re building on so far. Some of Miki’s friends die, we get some nice moments with Dosuroku and his gang buddies, but they ultimately die too, and we get more insight into Akira and Ryo’s relationship.

They introduce a new character named Cadney who is the personal secretary to Kouzou Rainuma, head of demon issues at the Department of Defense. But we don’t learn a whole lot about him in regards to who or what he really is. All we know is that he is firm in the belief that the concept of ‘devilmen’ is merely an illusion and that he has strength and abilities that not only rival devilmen, but also rival Akira quite easily. He seems to either be a devilman or a complete demon.

He says their department aims to eradicate demons and help innocent people who became devilmen. His first appearance is attempting to ‘help’ Miko, who, sadly, doesn’t get much time in this volume.

This volume also introduces us to some ways humanity has adapted to its situation. For example, there are obviously people benefiting from the devilman and demon outbreaks by gaining wealth and power, but there are also aspects such as cage matches between devilmen that rich people put on for sport and betting.

Akira is succumbing to an increasing feeling of bloodlust and is questioning who really has control over his body – him or Devilman/Amon. This is something they didn’t really address in Devilman as he always seemed to have a good degree over control over himself, even in the very end, so it’s an interesting aspect of his character to explore. It also seems to be the real reason behind why Ryo outs Akira over the news in Devilman, but that’s not made clear yet. All he keeps saying is that he wants to save him.

Miki is, sadly, no better than she usually is. She gushes over Akira, tries to get all up in that hotness and is ultimately useless. She is the point of some contention between Ryo and Akira because, despite them having a near romantic moment in the heat of Akira losing his sanity, Miki is shown to be able to reverse his transformations by merely touching him, which makes Ryo jealous.

But at least we get some quality time with Dosuroku. I can’t remember the last time a mostly minor character has been so missed to me, but dammit I love me some Dosuroku.

All in all, this was a pretty great volume that I hope is leading into a fantastic finale. I have to wonder how this will end considering we already know the grand ending of Devilman. What else is left to show? What’s left to tell?

Recommended Audience: Not better or worse than the other volumes. 15+

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Digimon Adventure V-Tamer (Manga) Volume 4 Review

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Plot: Taichi faces off against two of Neo’s aliases; Sigma and his Piemon and Mari and her Rosemon. Meanwhile, Neo takes his newly evolved Arkadimon and his army of evil Digimon to Holy Angemon’s castle to start a war.

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Tie ins with the anime include seeing Piemon (Piedmon), though he’s obviously not the same Piemon. We also have Igamon, who was a minor enemy in A02, and Rosemon, who is the Perfect/Mega level of Lilymon/Togemon/Palmon. We never see this evo in the first anime, but she is in Tri.

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This volume starts out very strong, but the second half is lackluster. The first half is the battle against Sigma, a masked boy who speaks through a computer voice, and his Piemon. This battle is incredibly interesting and intense. They cover all of their bases with this one by having it take place in a fascinating and threatening environment, making Piemon a huge threat and having Sigma end up being fairly relatable by the end.

Sigma’s a very shy boy who never had any friends, and he puts on a mask and talks through a computer in order to stay hidden and protect himself from others. Despite this, he commands a very powerful Digimon in Piemon. Not only that, but he also controls his own dimension in which he can read all of Taichi’s commands and instantly counter them by manipulating the space around them.

He’s definitely a tough opponent to beat, and his final resolution, in the battle anyway, was very good. I hope he decides to become an ally in the future, but that may not be possible considering something that happens to him in his last scene. I won’t spoil it, but it’s basically another show of Neo’s utterly heartless nature and leaves Sigma broken in his wake.

The second battle is against alias #2, Mari and her Rosemon. Mari is a Net Idol who is pretty airheaded, and the same can pretty much be said of Rosemon. In their initial attack on Taichi and Zero, they make all sorts of stupid mistakes, like Mari steps on the thorns Rosemon spread on the ground, then she takes off her shoes and steps on them again. Then she unleashes sleep gas on them and accidentally makes her and Rosemon fall asleep too. Really, she’s a complete joke for most of her debut until she reveals that she’s nearly killed a new ally, Igamon, in order to stop him from sending a message to Holy Angemon.

Then we, through a series of ridiculous events, find out that, surprise, she’s been faking being a weak idiot this whole time and is actually super evil and mean. Well, they make it out like that, but I don’t find her to be nearly as much of a threat as Sigma was. Rosemon has the ability to control Digimon with her Rose Whip, but it’s quickly broken through external pain. Through some help from Igamon, they take her down rather easily.

The only reason this battle is even worth paying attention to is because, when Mari’s faking being an idiot, she and Taichi actually make the scenes pretty entertaining and funny. The battle itself, however, was just extremely disappointing both on its own and as a follow up to Sigma’s battle. Nothing interesting or shocking happened, and the whole intention of it from the very beginning was, laid out in literal black and white, stalling tactics to keep Taichi away while Neo and his army approached Holy Angel Castle. When Mari’s not being an idiot, she also loses everything entertaining about her. She’s a bitch, sure, but she’s not a memorable or entertaining bitch.

And that’s volume 4…….Oh wait, we have a BONUS to go over!

There’s a side story included with this volume that melds with Adventure 02. The season two group is fighting a powerful Digimon called Parallelmon who has the power to shift between dimensions and absorbs tamers. Most attacks on it are useless since his abilities allow him to break apart and absorb them. Daisuke is sent to manga!Taichi’s Digital World and has to face Parallelmon together with him in order to send him back to his dimension.

Daisuke, however, is feeling like his friends aren’t really his friends since they don’t seem to listen to him and appear to like Takeru much better. I won’t spoil the whole thing since it’s a great side-story, but it was a fantastic Digimon concept, story and even character arc for Daisuke. This impresses me since Daisuke isn’t exactly my favorite Digimon character. Manga!Taichi’s personality meshes well with Daisuke’s and it was a great idea for them to meet up. They crammed a lot of connection and friendship development between them in a short amount of time, and it worked very well.

We also got Manga!Taichi explaining the significance of the goggles to Daisuke, stating that Anime!Taichi would only give those goggles to someone who is very dedicated to their friends. (I could nitpick that considering that that had nothing to do with Taichi giving him those goggles, in the anime anyway. But eh.)

All in all, the first half of this volume was really awesome and the second half was just meh. The side story was fantastic and the cliffhanger of Neo attacking Holy Angel Castle were also really great, but I can’t help but admit that the Mari parts, at least post-screwing around, were the weakest part of this volume.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Audience: This volume stays on the more violent end of the spectrum but still nothing really bad enough to earn anything above a 7+

Boku wa Imouto ni koi wo Suru (Manga) Volume 5 Review

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I would pay money to see Iku legit punch Yori.

Plot: The ‘war’ for Iku’s affections between Yano and Yori is on with Tomoka looking on from the shadows, waiting for her chance to strike.

Breakdown: The first chapter starts with Iku and Yori’s first official date in his town. They make an effort at making them cutesey and couple-y, but there is still a heavy vibe of creepiness and unease. Every time Iku responds to nearly everything Yori does, it makes it seem like she’s less full of love and excitement and more like she’s scared to death, embarrassed and about to throw up.

Iku shows off that she’s using the cell phone charm Yano bought for her. She believes she’s making him happy because Yano lied and said Yori bought it for her during his visit. He is trapped in the lie because he doesn’t want to make Iku upset for falling for Yano’s trickery, which is a double-edged sword because now Yori has to put up with her flaunting a gift from Yano in his face.

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Yori gets her ‘alone’ in a park and tells her to kiss him like he did to her before. He refuses to not kiss her despite her telling him to wait because rapey. She eventually does, but she is entirely focused on how embarrassed she is to kiss him instead of how much she loves Yori or how nice it is to kiss him. At this point, they should really be putting more effort into making this supposed romantic relationship seem more consensual. Rarely is there a moment when Iku actually seems like she’s in love with Yori or even likes him romantically.

Yori, being an ass, tells her that she did it wrong and that nobody would kiss like that. Then he has the nerve to immediately say they should go to a hotel to have sex.

We then get this line exchange:

Iku: “Yori, you really are a pervert!”

Yori: “That’s because I’m a man.”

Iku: “What kind of excuse is that!?”

Yori: “It’s a perfectly good reason. Iku, you’re still a child.”

It is incredibly difficult for me to tell when the characters in this series are legitimately joking, and it seems like Yori never is. Yori’s seriously excusing his perversion by saying he’s a man so it’s to be expected? I’m getting premonitions of him sexually assaulting Iku and him going ‘well, boys will be boys.’ And Iku’s a child for thinking him having a penis is a bad excuse for being a pervert? Iku is indeed immature, but if you want to get down to it, Yori seems like he’s more childish than Iku is.

Think about it. He’s incredibly possessive, and when he doesn’t get what he wants, he has a temper tantrum. He thinks being an adult is all about not expressing happy, healthy emotions and focusing a lot of energy on sex. When someone threatens to take something he wants, he either tries to physically fight them (Nakamura) or turn it into a competition (Yano). He’s a very childish person.

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Flawless transition.

Iku keeps trying to refuse Yori’s request to go have sex, and he grabs the collar of her shirt, revealing a bite mark. She says Yano bit her to prevent her and Yori from having sex.

Of course he did…

Of….course…he…did.

sigh

Of course he did.

It’s official now. No character in this series is likable at all. Yano BIT Iku against her will just so he could mark her in an effort to keep Iku from having sex with Yori. That’s incredibly creepy and flatout assault. He might edge out Yori in the creepiness tournament with this. Holy crap.

The chapter ends with Yori saying the mark isn’t enough to prevent them from having sex, and he’s not going to let her go home.

Aw, well, surely this creepy declaration and kidnapping will lead into a romantic ‘love will conquer all’ love-making scene, eh?

…..So the next chapter starts with Yori forcing Iku into the men’s bathroom to hide her since he can’t miss attendance and he still won’t let her go home…..Because no one will ever enter the men’s bathroom in a school, right?

Iku hears a bunch of guys talking about sex in a fairly graphic tone and she has to keep herself quiet and hidden for hours. She probably went in there in the late afternoon and it’s past 11 o’clock before Yori finally goes to get her. What…the…hell. If he has a job, wouldn’t it have been easier to just give her money for a hotel room? They were going to go to one anyway. He’d rather have her hidden away in a stinky school bathroom (the men’s room no less) for hours upon hours?

When Yori finally gets Iku they have a sweet-ish (?) moment, but they’re interrupted by a ringtone on Iku’s phone going “It’s me! Please pick up.” It’s Yano, who has changed Iku’s ringtone for his calls without her knowledge or consent. More creeps.

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Yori picks up the phone and Yano acts really creepy talking about him and Iku. He hated how she seemed annoyed when he gave her the cell phone charm and was forced to lie and say Yori got it for her. He was also upset that Iku thought he was making fun of her when he said he had feelings for her. He finishes off the conversation by telling Yori to treat Iku nicely because, and I quote, he can’t be sweet to her. He can only be mean. Well, at least the creepy prick admits it.

He says he doesn’t need to tell him that, because he’ll be treating her nicely anyw—pbbbbttthahahaha! Sure. I totally believe that, Yori. After he forcibly sniffs her hair again—Hey! We haven’t had one of those in while!

Update the tally!

Hair sniffs: 8

Iku and Yori go back to his dorm room to have sex, even though Yori has a roommate and he sleeps on the top bunk. Being fair, Iku suggested this and was willing to risk his roommate seeing them.

Sexual tension as they prepare themselves and the roommate is listening to everything they’re doing. Nothing kinkier or uncomfortable than that.

Yori and Iku start making out and preparing to release the hounds when we get this confusing page.

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On one hand, I commend Yori for controlling himself, and the reasons are pretty noble, but….also kinda sexist. “I’m a guy, so it’s fine if I’m seen porking a girl in my room. But Iku’s a girl. This would be awful for her.” Then again…..he has a point. That’s just a very sad fact about our culture. It’s high fives for the guy and the walk of shame for the girl.

And, yes, Yori, it’s so hard being a guy. Do you need a vacation after taming your dick for a minute?

Yori apologizes for his behavior, proclaiming his roommate won’t wake up either way. His roommate goes to get the dorm president, Takuma, to bust him, but Yori reveals that the only other being in his bed is Inu!Yori. Whamp whamp.

End chapter.

The next chapter starts almost immediately after the last one ended. Everyone’s still talking about Yori supposedly having a girl in his room, but they seem fine to just brush it off as being the dog. Iku sneaked away out the window or something with Yori promising to call her later to find out where she hid. Two other students find her sneaking around campus and bring her to where everyone’s talking.

Just when you think he might still get away with it by pretending he doesn’t know her, he can’t help but be insanely possessive and yanks Iku out of their grasp to say ‘Don’t you dare touch my stuff!’ Yup. He didn’t say ‘Don’t touch my Iku’ or ‘Don’t touch my girlfriend’ or even ‘Don’t touch my sister!’ He straight out calls her his property.

As if that’s not bad enough, look just a few pages later where they describe her as Yori’s loyal dog.

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Anyone want to make the female dog=bitch observation?

The boys want to investigate and kick her out, but Takuma says they’re just jealous that they don’t bring girls back to the dorms. He decides to show some leniency and heads to the girls’ dorm to discuss having Iku sleep there with their dorm president until she can leave in the morning. After Takuma has some sexual tension with the girls’ dorm president, Mayu, she reluctantly agrees.

The next morning after a surprisingly tender and sincere farewell, complete with goodbye kiss, Tomoka ambushes Yori to show that she’s taken pictures of them kissing. Even though he slaps the phone away from her, she states that she’s already sent them to her home computer.

And you know what that means. Bababababaaaaa-Blackmail!

Tomoka, now with Yori under her thumb, forces him to kiss her. Because Yori’s such a damn catch.

End chapter.

The next chapter has more followup with Tomoka’s blackmail before we cut back to Iku at school where we learn that she saw Tomoka and Yori kissing as she left. OoooooooOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooohhhh…….*sigh* I’m starting to remember why I don’t like romance manga and anime. The angst and drama just files my brain stem down.

After a heated phone call with Yano, Yori decides enough is enough and ominously asks Tomoka if he can come to her house. It’s so ominous, I sincerely think he’s planning on killing her, dismembering her body and burying her in her own backyard.

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Yano tries to cheer Iku up in a sweet but still kinda creepy and intimidating way. As they take a bike ride home, Yano decides he likes Iku too much to truly take this opportunity for everything it’s worth and tells her to keep believing in Yori. He loves her too much to do such a thing without a legitimate reason.

End chapter.

Our ‘final’ chapter starts with Yano enjoying himself at Iku’s house and chatting with her mom. He pretends that he’s her boyfriend because her mom just assumes the situation. She, surprisingly, admits that she thought Iku and Yori were getting so close that they might be in love with each other. But then Iku freaks out when her mom points out that not only does Iku ‘have’ Yano, but Yori ‘has’ Tomoka. I’m not sure if she somehow knows about him and Tomoka currently or if she’s saying this based on the fact that they used to date.

Iku goes to her room and Yano follows. Iku’s dad bursts into her room ranting about how he won’t let Yano date her. Yano wins him over incredibly easily through a quick and silver-tongued speech.

Meanwhile, back at Yori’s school, the dean has found out about Iku infiltrating the dorms and he’s pissed. So much so that not only is Yori set to be rightfully punished, but he also states that he wants to punish Iku. How that would ever work, I don’t know. She’s not a student at that school and she didn’t do anything illegal, so what punishment is he planning there? Mayu and Takuma are there as well, debating the situation, and when tensions run too high, Takuma keels over in some sort of attack.

In the nurse’s office, he tells Mayu that he faked it, but confesses to Yori that it was real since he was born with some sort of condition. He asks what sort of secret he keeps that forces him to put up such a cold and unfriendly exterior, especially since just smiling more and being more ‘normal’ would put focus away from him. He doesn’t have an answer.

Later, Yori goes to Tomoka’s house and instantly goes to her bedroom to find her computer. It’s password protected and Tomoka asks what he’d do to get the password from her as our volume cliffhanger.

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If she was smart, she’d have the pictures on an external hard drive or a flash drive or a CD or something too. Make him be always guessing if she has more copies. Don’t read too much into me knowing these things…..*cough*

This volume, we’re ‘treated’ to a bonus half-chapter. It’s literally just Yori blackmailing Iku into a morning kiss by saying he won’t let her cheat off of his homework if she doesn’t. Whoo. Roman…tic.

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I honestly don’t know what to make of this volume because the story doesn’t go forward that much. Yori and Yano both treat Iku like trash some more and Iku just takes it because she’s infuriating. Iku gets caught in Yori’s dorm and they never make it clear what the consequences of that will be, if there will be any. We get some kinda interesting development in two new characters of Takuma and Mayu, and that’s still way more interesting than any of the pairings we’ve been presented with so far. Tomoka blackmails Yori, but, being honest, I saw this coming way back when they showed that she was going to Yori’s school.

There’s not as many creepy moments, but there are still plenty to go around.

Plus, the ending cliffhanger is…uninteresting. Gee, will Yori sleep with Tomoka to get the password?….Who cares? Will he hurt her to get it?….Don’t care. What about Iku? Couldn’t care less.

Next time on ‘Healthy Romantic Relationships are for Pussies’ things between Tomoka and Yori happen. Stuff happens with Yano and Iku. Events occur between Iku and Yori. And everyone’s still horrible.

Anamorphosis no Meijuu (Manga) Review

Rating: 5/10

Plot: There’s a new game show that is supposedly causing real deaths. Contestants are invited to spend 48 hours in a building that is reported to be haunted by the spirit of an actor who died on set due to a tragic accident. His spirit appears to others in the form of a giant monster in the same design as a monster costume he was wearing at the time of his death. Is there really a spirit behind the scenes or is all just camera tricks?

…..Oh and the second half of the manga is pure mind-fuckery in the form of numerous short stories.

Breakdown: Warning – This manga’s content is extremely graphic. Thus, discussing it involves some more graphic language than usual. Reader discretion is advised.

…….I can’t remember what happiness feels like….I can taste my thoughts…..I can hear colors…….what the unholy hell….did I just read?

I started reading Anamorphosis no Meijuu around Halloween last year, but never got around to finishing it for Animating Halloween. Well, I picked it back up and…..read the words….and….looked at the pictures….and comprehended….some….things. Mostly I just feel dirty.

You might be thinking I’m overreacting a lot for a manga that I’m awarding a fairly decent score, but you have understand my reasoning with this.

This manga throws you for one hell of a loop. For one half of the manga, you’re reading a linear plotline about the above story. It’s intriguing, has a lot of great twists and ends on a confusing, but very creative and satisfactory note.

The second half of the manga is made up of short stories, which only take up about eight to ten pages each. Every short story is incredibly graphic in nearly every way. Sexual content, nudity, rape, bestiality, lots of gore, cannibalism, and just complete mind-fuckery.

To give you an idea, I will summarize each plot in one sentence. Spoilers.

Bishoujo Tentei Tentai Sagiri: A teenage detective tries to clear someone of murder charges by turning herself into an electromagnet by wrapping herself in electrical wiring and having someone put a metal dildo into her.

Rainy Girl: A girl who is cursed to bring rain wherever she goes, indoors or out, is kidnapped by a man who introduces her to a man with the same powers who rapes her over and over until they breed an army of rain producing babies.

Small Present: A couple keeps getting leftovers given to them by their neighbor, and they keep eating them until it’s revealed that the neighbor is a serial killer who targets children, chops them up, and cooks them into meals.

Hikikomori: A girl investigates why all of the students in her school are shut-ins, only to find that all of them are insanely fat monsters who are so large they can have sex with each other over their balconies without moving from their bedrooms.

Behind: A girl has a surgical instrument left in her, and after it’s removed everyone starts finding their lost junk in her stomach cavity.

Previous Life: A girl and a spiritualist make a business out of turning people into various animals and occupations by telling their past lives to overhunt the specified animal or person. This is an extra sentence, but the spiritualist rapes his dog for absolutely no reason in this story.

Salesman: A girl cannot seem to save anyone attempting to commit suicide by jumping since she has the spirit of a sumo wrestler with her that keeps pushing these people, resulting in their deaths.

Changes: A girl wakes up one day and finds her nipple has been replaced with a mouth.

Weightlessness: Why the fuck is there an easily accessible button to open a window on a space station?

If I lead you to believe any of these aren’t that crazy, I am sorry. It is…trippy. It’s certainly an experience. I’m not sure what kind of experience, but it is one.

There are several positives that I can lend this manga. Despite shading issues and some craggy lines, the artwork is disgustingly detailed and done in a more realistic style to up the gross-out factor. If you’re going to do this type of story, you really need the artwork to back it up. While I think it could be polished more, it definitely gets the job done.

If anything, these stories are all very creative…..fucked up beyond belief sometimes, but very creative. This manga will never steer you into tropes or leave you with a feeling of predictability. It’s wondering if the turns you took ripped a part of your soul away that pays for that luxury.

Finally, this manga is, admittedly, downright entertaining, purely because of how insane and ridiculous it is. There are many parts that are hard to sit through, certain pages that are damn near nauseating, but I found myself oddly intrigued by how bat-shit this manga kept proving to be. I’m almost disappointed in the ending because it’s by far the most benign story.

If you have a stomach for extreme content and are, for some reason, intrigued by this manga after everything I’ve told you, by all means, give it a shot. It will be a roller coaster ride that will leave you with some bruising and mental trauma, but it’s definitely a ride.

If you’re not ready to fully bite the bullet, though, just read the first half of the manga. The content in that story really isn’t too bad and the story is more toned down, but still well-written and interesting.

If you’re squeamish or have any of that stuff called ‘innocence’, please run far away.

Additional Information and Notes:

Anamorphosis no Meijuu was written and drawn by Shintaro Kago.

Volumes: 1

Chapters: 10

Year: 2008 – 2010

Recommended Audience: About as graphic as you can get. Very detailed depictions of sex (genitalia included), rape, possible statutory rape, bestiality, birth, cannibalism, extreme gore including children and babies, swearing – you name it, they probably have it. 18+

Boku wa Imouto Ni Koi wo Suru Volume 4 (Manga) Review

Rating: 4/10

Plot: Iku and Yori start high school apart, and that’s not all that’s changing. Tomoka has somehow managed to get accepted to Yori’s school, and she has every intention on winning Yori’s heart. Iku and Yano have started new jobs as wait staff at a restaurant, despite Iku’s inability to do anything without destroying everything. Iku is doing her best to save money for trips to see Yori, but a new problem has emerged. Yano has fallen in love with Iku and declares war on Yori for Iku’s heart.

Breakdown: I will admit that the first chapter starts out fairly well. In a sitcom manner, Iku goes to where Yori lives to visit him just as Yori goes back home to visit Iku for their birthday. The comedic back and forth between both Yori and Iku and Yano and Yori is nice, but it’s quickly ruined.

Iku, the easily lead dumbass she is, goes to a hotel room with Yano under the excuse of them getting something to eat, which they can’t do in a restaurant with Inu!Yori. She chows down then passes out in his bed because of course she does. I should mention that Yano was teasing Yori on the phone by saying if he didn’t get there soon he’d start doing perverted things with her. This seemed like innocent teasing between friends until he lead her to his room….where he proceeded to lick her ear as she was sleeping.

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“I’m not dumb!” *proceeds to be dumb*

 

Knowing this series, I can bet if Yori hadn’t burst into the room shortly after, he’d probably molest her much further. Looks like my predictions on his character being ruined from subtle hints in the OVA may have been correct. So far, he is the most likable character, though, outside of Nakamura. I don’t know what that says about the quality of this series.

When Yori arrives, he puts the ring on Iku, but they can’t even do that simple gesture without making Yori into a possessive creepy jackoff. The instant he puts it on her, he calls the ring a ‘collar’ and says he bought it so that other men would stay away from her. He even seems to state that Iku is so dense that she probably doesn’t realize their relationship is incestuous…..

Well, that was a chapter alright……oh, yeah, it ends with Yori pretending to start to rape Iku as she pretends to sleep. Aw, how romanticreepy.

The next chapter, thankfully, doesn’t go any further than him licking, sucking on and biting her finger. We’ve gotten to the point where that’s restraint…They have some nice banter again, this time about the gifts. She loves her ring, though feels guilty that all she got him were some miscellaneous items you could buy at a drug store like a shampoo hat and an ear cleaning kit….Though, again, they even have to make that creepy, because we then see Yori getting a hard on because Iku’s cleaning his ears. I know there are many fetishes out there, to each his own, have at it….but none of them, zero, should involve ear wax.

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I think you’re far too filthy to be cleaned at this point, Yori.

Surprisingly, again, though, despite the temptation, the chapter just ends with the two sleeping on the floor.

The next chapter opens with Yori and Iku showing each other how they look in their new school uniforms through email and Yori fumbles with trying to take a picture of himself with his phone. Ah, the good ol’ days when ‘selfies’ weren’t a thing.

Again, starting out cute and innocent enough. Iku is attending a high school with basically everyone else she was with in junior high such as Yano and Nakamura. Meanwhile, we get a twist in Yori’s story when Tomoka suddenly shows up stating her father transferred to the area recently and, using her connections to Yori, somehow (since he’s the only one who passed the entrance exams) she was accepted into the academy.

She quickly tries to get her mitts all over him, though Yori wants none of that. A blackened text bubble indicates that Tomoka’s not giving up so quickly, though…..

….Okay, Tomoka was a bit bitchy before and undoubtedly possessive….but this whole job transfer is fishy as all hell. If I wanted to be this paranoid, it sounds like Tomoka somehow coerced her parents to move there when she found out about Yori’s decision, somehow screwed with the exams to get her entrance, then she could take advantage of her close proximity to Yori to rip him from Iku.

If that’s even slightly true….holy shit….that is some soap opera level insanity.

 

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Yori in the top left has one of the most real and severe condescending expressions I’ve ever seen. It’s like he’s telling her through his eyes that’s she’s trash to him.

 

The rest of the chapter is pretty benign. Iku has conflicted feelings about Tomoka not going to her school, but she’s unaware Tomoka is at Yori’s. They meet a new girl named Mori, though I haven’t gotten a good hold on her as a character yet. They note her strong personality, but if anything she comes on a bit too strong for me. Finally, we get more indication that Yano is romantically interested in Iku.

Next chapter……You remember what I quoted in volume three? ‘Iku, who cannot do anything.’? I always thought, despite evidence to the contrary, that such a statement couldn’t be completely true. Iku has to be competent at something. She doesn’t get great grades, she’s needy and dependent to the point of a vague mental disorder, she’s clumsy, she’s incredibly naive, she has no backbone, she doesn’t seem to have any talents – but she has to be competent somehow.

No, no, not really.

The start of this chapter has Iku getting a job as a waitress at the restaurant Yano works at. I assume he pulled strings to get her hired because she….cannot do….a God. Damn. Thing. She can’t take orders, listing off tons of foods when the customer merely ordered one thing. She can’t carry a tray of food without dropping it because it’s heavy and hot. She can’t bus a table without breaking every dish on it. She can’t wash dishes without breaking them. She cannot complete a single waitressy task without a complete disaster.

She, rightfully, gets fired, but Yano saves her job since their boss is desperate for the girls that Yano is attracting to the place and he threatens to quit if she goes.

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She’s great at being terrible.

Despite getting her a job and saving her from getting fired, Iku treats Yano like crap just because he playfully teases her every now and then (She doesn’t know about his true creeper-ness at this point) She tells him to go away and says she’ll ignore him, except when he asks about Yori because Yori is the moon, sun, stars and earth beneath thine feet. You’re kinda lead to believe Yano’s being a bit pushy here, but apparently Yori actually asked him to escort her home because she’s just too much of a naive dunderhead to come home on her own too.

Iku has gotten this job because she’s trying to save money to pay for the train fare for her and Inu!Yori to visit Yori, despite him saying he’d pay her travel expenses.

The chapter actually goes fairly well for the most part. Yori longs for Iku, Iku tries her best to work hard to get to Yori on her own and Yano’s not being a creeper either….but of course we can’t end the chapter without something creepy and terrible happening.

Iku tries her best at her job when, of course, a fat, disgusting, sweaty pervert comes in. He purposely spills his water so Iku will lean over the table to clean it up, and, when she does, he gropes her boob. Iku freaks out, spilling food all over him. He pretends he didn’t do anything and becomes outraged that his supposedly expensive clothes are ruined. Yano tries to intimidate the man and defend Iku, but Iku’s boss believes the customer and demands Iku pay for his clothes and apologize or else she’ll get fired.

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Everything about this page makes me angry.

She gives in because she has to keep the job to visit Yori, and she ends up losing all of the money she saved, making her start all over again. Even though, again, Yori said he’d be more than happy to pay for her travel expenses. After the incident, Iku starts crying and calling herself an idiot, and Yano suddenly hugs her, much to Iku’s surprise.

End chapter.

Let me be clear and state that I don’t blame Iku for what happened nor am I mad that she didn’t stand up for herself and tell this pervert and her unsympathetic boss to fuck off. I am, however, annoyed at why she buckled.

Other than some sort of weird sense of pride or something, Iku has no reason to want to keep saving her own money to visit Yori if he’s financially capable of paying her way. Her paying the pervert and apologizing is basically her saying she’s fine with coping with the random groping pervert and doing horribly at this job to save money that she doesn’t really need just so she can snort a couple hits of Yori to get her fix.

The next chapter starts with the continuation of the hug, which is brushed off rather quickly as Yano cheers her up and then gives her some playful ribbing. Yori suspects that Iku is starting to like Yano since she brings him up in conversation more and more, which makes sense considering they both go to school and work together. Iku completely denies it, however. Yori is fed up with Iku trying to work and get the money to visit him, so he decides he’ll get a job and visit her instead….

Wait, I thought he had no money troubles, which is why he offered to pay for Iku’s travel fare whenever she wanted. He didn’t seem to have trouble buying that seemingly expensive ring or visiting home at the start of the volume. Now he needs a job?

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I do love the back and forth between Yano and Yori when they’re not being creepy assholes.

He tricks Iku into believing he’ll get a job as a host. When Yano visits him to see what’s up, he discovers Yori’s actually a gas station attendant. They spend the rest of the day on amusement park rides and teasing each other when, on the Ferris wheel, Yano drops the bomb on Yori that he likes Iku. The rest of the conversation is not shown, but Yori doesn’t seem to react much and the next page doesn’t show a newspaper headline of ‘Teenage Boy Viciously Murdered in Ferris Wheel’

The next day, Yano gives Iku a bracelet he got at the amusement park that has a little Inu!Yori-esque charm on it and tells her Yori got it for her, when that’s not true. He’s about to tell her what they talked about and the chapter ends.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……This volume has gone on way too long without something horribly creepy and borderline rapey happening. Oh whatever will I do if this volume ends without me feeling the pure darkness of hatred in my soul?

The final volume starts with a continuation of Yano and Yori’s conversation. Yori takes his confession extremely well. He doesn’t get mad, he doesn’t even react much at all. Yano says he’s not backing down and he’ll declare war on Yori for Iku’s heart, and Yori accepts his challenge with a non-threatening smile. Half of this scene is done in comedic chibi-style, by the way. Quite the contrast between this and how he acted around Nakamura.

Back with Yano and Iku, Yano drops the bomb on Iku that Yori told him that their relationship is incestuous. Iku flips out in panic, worried she won’t be able to be with Yori anymore, but Yano says he’ll keep her secret.

He’ll keep her secret……

Under one condition……….

She has to love Yano. She has to be his. She has to give all of her love to him.

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Why do so many guys want this girl so badly? I can’t wrap my head around it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally broken out into creepy sexual abuse blackmail!

Yano is completely serious about this threat, physically intimidates her and even licks her neck to get her to agree to it.

Do I need to replace the hair sniff counter with a lick counter?

To Iku’s credit, she does slap him, refuses his advances, says she hates him and storms off into the house without agreeing to his terms. It seems Iku does have a backbone if you threaten her Stockholm syndrome.

And that’s the end of volume four. Final thoughts?

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It’s actually the most tolerable volume so far, and that’s probably because Yori’s away from Iku for most of it so he can’t be a creepy pseudo-rapist. However, Yano, despite being the most fun character, is pushing the gas pedal on his creepiness, peaking with, of course, the blackmail.

Iku continues to be a huge ball of dependency issues, now compounded by an unwilling dependence on Yano since she literally cannot do a damn thing for herself, but she impressed me in the finale a tiny bit.

Story-wise, this volume doesn’t advance much. Iku and Yano get jobs, they all start high school, we get a brief glimpse at Tomoka who seems to have gone rogue, but the only important progressions are Yano admitting to Yori that he likes Iku and the blackmail. By the way, I know all’s fair in love and war and stuff, but blackmailing Iku into a relationship isn’t fair in this little competition they have going. If she ever does show affection for him or start dating him, it will be because of the blackmail not because she legit loves him.

Plus, having a competition for Iku’s heart just further trivializes this whole situation and turns Iku into a prized possession……and she is actually described as a possession in the final chapter. Lovely.

It’s a damn shame is all. Yano and Iku would actually make a fairly good couple if Yano didn’t devolve into this creepy son of a bitch. I almost feel like this competition is less for Iku’s heart and more to see who can be the creepiest asshole.

So, how will this blackmail go? Will Tomoka turn out to be an even bigger major bitch? With Yano out-Yori Yori? Will I ever figure out why anyone would be attracted to anyone in this story? Find out next time on the manga I wish I weren’t reading!

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer Volume 3 (Manga) Review

2

Plot: After Zero gets some much needed medical care at Hospitown, Taichi and Gabo meet the evolved versions of some of the Agumon that he met back at Holy Angemon’s castle. They are determined to help stop Neo and Demon from taking over the Digital World, but it’s an uphill task even for their newly evolved forms, and Holy Angemon’s army continues to suffer massive losses.

Taichi and Zero finally reach the tree where Neo stands with the final tag. While Taichi and Zero are more than ready to take him on, they haven’t seen every trick up his sleeve.

Later, Taichi and Zero meet another human in the Digital World – a girl named Rei, and while she seems normal enough, there may be more to her than meets the eye.

Breakdown: Really the only notes I have between the anime and manga are that Piyomon makes an appearance and needs a boost of bravery when faced with the trail of fallen allies Demon and Neo have left in their wake.

Also, the new human character, Rei, has a haircut that looks a lot like Sora’s, but eh.

=======================

This volume is where the stakes get amped up a hundred fold. The battle against Neo takes center stage in this volume, and it’s definitely the biggest and most nail-biting battle of the manga so far, but surprisingly that’s the ‘second act’, so to speak. A lot more happens in this volume than you’d first think, and we have quite a bit of ground to cover.

We start off learning where the other Digi-allies are in their fight against Demon and while there is some good news, such as the Agumon who were being trained in the first volume evolving and Leomon evolving, though his evolved form is never seen on-panel, there’s no denying that the battle against Neo and Demon has taken its toll on Holy Angemon’s army. Holy Angemon himself even catches some of the damage.

Piyomon’s reluctance to brave the frightening circumstances and continue to help the battle are a highlight to this, but the one who brings the shining light of hope back into her very skeptical eyes is Taichi…..and his goggles.

Yes, we get the backstory to Taichi’s goggles. You may faint now. And because I’m such a nice person, I’ll share it with you. A Piyomon is frozen with fear after surviving a massacre lead by Neo. She makes fun of Taichi’s goggles when explaining how ridiculous it is that he and Zero can do anything to help. Taichi explains that the goggles were given to him by his grandpa when he was a young kid.

When he was younger, he saw a kid getting bullied. He knew he should do something about it, but couldn’t find it within himself to do so. Taichi’s grandpa gave him the goggles, knowing he liked airplanes, and called them goggles of friendship and courage. The goggles belonged to a childhood friend of his who was known for being brave and a great friend. When he was older, he became a great pilot but later fell ill and passed away. He kept his friend’s goggles as a reminder of him and his old saying of ‘courage will give you wings to fly’ (which is actually kinda foreshadowing something that happens later.) Taichi received the goggles happily and knew at that point that he had to be brave in order to protect his friends – a lesson he has never forgotten.

Dammit, considering how important the aspect of the gogglehead is in this franchise, why the hell have we never gotten a backstory for them in the anime? Plus, considering the strong connection the goggles have to Taichi’s courage, his crest no less, you’d think they’d jump on that chance. This revelation, if it can be applied to the anime, makes me a little madder that he just handed his goggles to Daisuke in Adventure 02. That wasn’t a reminder of courage for Daisuke, he was just given a new pair since his broke and Taichi basically proclaimed him as the new leader with them.

Onto the main event, Taichi’s battle with Neo. As I mentioned, Neo has several tricks up his sleeve for combating Zero with his own two Digimon, now a Kuwagamon and Akatorimon that he can merge and separate as many times as he wants. Not only that, but he takes their Perfect form, Megadramon, and merges it with another Perfect, Jureimon to make an Ultimate level Digimon, Deathmon. And it looks about as disappointingly uncreative as the name is. It’s basically a cyclopic (or tricloptic, considering it has eyeballs on its hands) monster with bat wings.

Despite its bland look and uncreative name, it is a huge threat to Taichi and Zero considering that Zero is still merely an adult level, they are still at a disadvantage on the ground while the enemy can fly and they’ve never once faced an Ultimate level before. As you can guess, this results in Zero getting the ever-loving crap beat out of him to the point where, again, you’re seriously wondering if they’ll make it out alive. Even Taichi and Gabo have near-death experiences. This really was the perfect opportunity to spotlight Zero’s first evolution, and they took advantage of it. It’s probably one of the best evo events of the franchise, at least that I’ve seen. Granted, V-dramon doesn’t change very much when he evolves, but it’s a much needed change to his design and power structure that gives him plenty of edge in the fight.

I’ll also give them props for how Neo was handled in the end. They cop out at the end of the volume, but it was still pretty shocking when it happened. Neo did get a little too crazy and villain-like for my liking, though. Seriously, he’s basically surpassing Kaiba and Vegeta now for how obsessed his is with beating his rival.

After the events of the ‘second act’, we see that portals to the human world have opened and people are being sucked into the Digital World either because they’re being called there or they just happened to be sucked in on accident through their computers. In comes Rei, who comes off as very abrasive. She finds herself in a strange world filled with monsters and when she finally finds some friendly faces, a human one no less, she makes fun of them, insults them and leaves to find more ‘normal’ people to help her.

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When they save her life, she pulls a complete 180 and practically flatters them while agreeing to join their group and even asks them to take her to Demon’s castle, but Taichi is soon suspicious of her.

Meanwhile, the egg of the Super Ultimate Digimon has hatched and Neo has to start training it. He sends out a new team of tamers who recently came to the Digital World through the portals, a group called Alias III, to take care of other matters in the battle against Holy Angemon’s army.

—————————-

But that’s not all, we also have our first mini-chapter in which Taichi and Zero run into a Sukamon while training. He takes advantage of the fact that his special ability is to emit pheromones that induce the need to poop to completely distract Zero and Taichi from the battle. It’s only made worse by the fact that Zero doesn’t want to fight a pile of crap because that’s gross. They can’t even fight from a safe distance with his V Breath Arrow because it will probably redefine explosive diarrhea.

Zero then can’t fight the need to crap anymore and dumps a load so large that it takes up 80% of the page, he can sit on it like a hill, and it intimidates Sukamon into leaving.

Yeah……that just happened.

And I thought that one Naruto OVA where he craps his pants was ridiculously stupid. I will admit, this mini-chapter is a little tiny itty bitty bit funny, though.

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All in all, this is the best volume yet. This series really just seems to get better and better as the ball keeps rolling. We got to start off fairly calmly while also getting some info on where Holy Angemon’s efforts stand, we got a huge battle, some more strengthening of Taichi and Zero’s friendship and we ended on plenty of interesting details for the next volume, such as the Super Ultimate hatching, Rei’s true intentions, who exactly the guys in Alias III are and what they can do, if any more humans came through the portals and even if we’ll see even more evolutions from Zero. Deathmon was a disappointment in regards to design, and I would’ve liked to see some real character development from Neo in this volume, but still a very solid vol—oh yeah the mini-chapter……

*sigh* That really does tarnish this whole volume quite a bit, doesn’t it? Like I said, it’s a little funny, but it’s an entire nine pages dedicated to fighting poop, talking about poop and actually pooping – a house-sized poop, mind you. So, yeah, I’m gonna take off at least half a point for that, but we’re still standing really strong with this one.

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Audience: Zero gets even more badly beaten in this volume, and there’s one instance where a character kinda sorta commits suicide by falling. You don’t see anything, and it’s later revealed that his life was saved so I guess we’ll stay with 7+

.Hack Alcor (Manga) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: A twin blade named Nanase is a new member of the newbie-assisting guild Canard. She joined to get closer to Canard’s guild leader, Silabus, but ends up being overshadowed by the powerful Alkaid. In an effort to win Silabus’ attention, Nanase sets out to be stronger than Alkaid. A PK named Bordeaux knows Nanase and has a grudge against her, so she targets Silabus to break up their friendship. Nanase has to work through her own shortcomings and lack of self-confidence to become strong in her own right.

Breakdown: I really didn’t think much of this manga for the first few chapters. While this character is technically someone canon in the games (though this PC is not) she’s completely new to the series, and their starting chapters with her simply aren’t very interesting. She has a crush on Silabus and is very jealous of Alkaid. Since Alkaid is so powerful, Silabus frequently admires her abilities and talks to and about her often. However, this does not mean that he ignores Nanase. He includes her in things all the time and never forgets that she’s with them, but she still feels ignored because of Alkaid.

Nanase herself isn’t powerful at all, in fact, I don’t know her level, but she really doesn’t look like she even knows what she’s doing. Which just makes it even more confusing that she was a member of Kestral. Frickin’ Kestral. She doesn’t look like she could or would PK a fly, yet basically the biggest PK crew in The World: R2 recruited her? Was it a quota thing?

The game character that Nanase’s player, Yuasa, makes is Sophora, which makes even less sense to me. It just doesn’t seem like it fits. I know Nanase eventually finds her own inner strength, but Sophora’s personality just doesn’t seem like that would be the logical next step.

I did eventually start liking this manga because it addresses her situation in a way that isn’t very preachy. You’d think she’d try and again to beat Alkaid and eventually best her at something, but it doesn’t win Silabus’ attention and may even push him away, she learns to not be jealous, hugs, the end.

But nope. She complains about not getting praised, Alkaid asks her what she’s done to be praised for, and with no answer Nanase pretty much has to figure out her own brand of strength. There are hardships to overcome, mistakes made, and she has to surmount them and find her own path without blaming Alkaid for everything.

In that respect I liked how the story went once I got into it, but the storytelling itself feels a little disjointed as I had a hard time figuring out where we were in the story.

This manga also does something a little different from many incarnations of the Dot Hack franchise and that’s focusing a little more on player behind the character. A lot of times in Dot Hack games, manga and shows, the focus is 99.9% on the game with only mentions of what’s happening in the real world, mostly someone falling into a coma and CC Corp being weasels. This manga, while not stressing the real world aspect too much, does incorporate it throughout the story, which I found to be a welcome change of pace and a slight fix to a problem that is present in the other shows, games and manga.

Without much focus on the real world counterparts of the characters, it’s hard to really care that much that they’re in comas or are having other bad things happening to them. Sure, you grow to like or even love the characters, but considering that the players behind the characters, like in real life games, are sometimes drastically different from their players.

For example, Sora in .Hack//Sign is actually a ten year old boy in real life. It creates a bit of a disconnect that is hard to get over. Then again, it’s also weird when people make characters who look a lot like their real selves. I get both situations, drastically different for a more disconnecting role playing experience, closer for a more personal one, but it’s a little weird seeing it as a third-party.

…….What was I talking about?

Oh yeah.

I actually believe that Nanase and Yuasa looks just enough alike to create a connection between the two without feeling odd. However, this is ruined again when Yuasa becomes Sophora, but here Sophora only appears once or twice.

The dynamic between Nanase, Silabus and Alkaid feels very real, and I’m glad they didn’t go too far into drama territory to mess that up. There is a situation in which the sanctity of the group is called into question, and it does present a realistic problem where their ability to truly trust someone is tested.

Nanase, while being a little immature and mopey is likable enough, at least past chapter one. She’s meant to be a little annoying to begin with so we can see her own personal growth and discovery of her actual strength. However, this is muddled a little bit considering she’s Sophora….I really can’t grasp that.

Silabus is as nice, helpful and friendly as ever. He’s always been one of my favorite R:2 characters. Despite still being clueless with girls, he’s just as friendly with Nanase as he is with Alkaid and really anyone else. He treasures his friendship with Nanase and always avoids thinking the worst of people, even if that gets him into serious trouble.

Alkaid is still likable, though slightly abrasive sometimes. I wouldn’t say she’s a mentor to Nanase, nor would I even say she’s established as a hurdle to jump, but she and Nanase hold a good relationship when Nanase’s jealousy isn’t getting in the way. Alkaid is not as trusting as Silabus in the least, but she’s not afraid to admit when she’s wrong, and despite losing to Endrance time and again she keeps on truckin’.

The art here is chibi-fied a little bit. I’d say it’s mid-chibi. Not small enough or cartoony enough to warrant calling it chibi, but still seems like the characters are shorter and more cartoony than the average art of this franchise. I liked the art, though nothing particularly blew me away.

Bottomline: Alcor is slightly confusing in its place in the franchise as a whole especially since Nanase and her connection to the group is all but forgotten in the games. Sophora never talks about her Nanase days, never states that she used to be someone named Nanase and she never contacts Alkaid or Silabus or anyone else that she used to play with as Nanase. The connection with Sophora still confuses me a bit as I just don’t feel the connection between the three.

However, on its own it’s a fine addition to the Dot Hack world and actually does some things better than this franchise usually does. It even adds more aspects of MMORPG activities. Not as much as Dusk, but still adds to the ambiance.

It’s a good story of a seemingly weak and shy person finding her confidence and strength both in game and in real life, and while I may not feel much for the final ending I feel the ending of Nanase as a character was a good one.

It’s a short, nice story that anyone, even people who aren’t fans of Dot Hack would enjoy. Non-fans might be a little thrown by certain cameos like Pi and Kuhn, though. They don’t even explain Kestral or Endrance very well. Not explaining Kestral well is especially baffling. They keep saying ‘Oh she was a member of Kestral’ and it’s obviously a bad thing yet you’d never know why if you didn’t know the games or .Hack//Roots.

Recommended Audience: Nothing really questionable. We don’t even get any comas or heavy tones outside of some in-game drama. E for everyone!

Amon Volume 4 (Manga) Review

Plot: Satan has gone missing, and while Amon has saved many of the demons, he’s also not making himself known. A new greatly powerful demon named Asura arrives and offers the demons a chance to become as powerful as Amon. All they have to do is merge together over and over. Most of the demons are more than willing to go through with her plan and see her as leader, especially the demon who wishes for nothing more than be beautiful. However, Silene’s not giving into her claims. Asura has more going on behind the scenes than just a lush future filled with demon gods.

Breakdown: Our first chapter title page is a butt shot. Starting out well, Amon.

This whole volume was just very uninteresting. It focuses mostly on Silene, Demiko (still given no name) and a new enemy named Asura, who seems like a half-human, half-demon crazy person who is trying to take over as leader of the demons since Satan mysteriously disappeared. She’s trying to convince all of the demons that they can be like Amon if they agree to merge together over and over. However, her true intentions are to use the demons in their merged state to find Satan and kill him for revenge on how her body looks and acts.

Asura is two beings, Earth and Terra, merged into one. She used to be angelic-like with beautiful white wings, but when Satan fucked up in the last volume, the two were merged into one crazy being with two personalities, a weird body and small black wings that couldn’t handle flight.

In the end, Demiko gets killed by Kaim who kills her after she tries to steal Silene’s wings for Asura, under a semi-brainwashed delusion that she could be made beautiful if she helped Asura.

Silene’s part is almost entirely stagnant through this whole volume. She meanders and mopes, longing for her precious Satan to return. She’s not buying into Asura’s lies, especially in her statement that they can surpass Satan, but she mostly whines and mopes and cries out for Satan.

The very last chapter is where the only thing of interest happens, though it’s a bit confusing. We find out why there seem to be contradictions between Devilman and Amon. The events of Devilman did happen, but they’re also in the future. God, as punishment for the events of Devilman, apparently put Satan in a time loop so he’ll constantly be tormented by losing his love (Amon, or moreso Devilman, though I thought Akira was a bigger part of that) He’s destined for the events long passed, and he’s damned to start all over again when it’s over with no memory of what happened.

It’s still not entirely clear in some respects, but it’s an explanation at least.

Amon’s role is mostly just to escort Silene to Satan as Asura goes to him with her new pile of merged demon goo to take him on, but she’s ironically defeated by the demons she gathered, granted powers or abilities by the sleeping Satan, who all turn into little Saiyaman angel things that range in size from a few inches to a few stories tall. The little ones stab her over and over with a bunch of tiny needles and they mutate her into some glob. She tries to assimilate with Silene, but gets stopped by Amon who’s again mostly just annoyed by everything around him. He rips off Silene’s wing as it’s trying to be merged with Asura and kills her.

Then the weirdest part of the volume…No….weirdest part of the manga happens. A gravely wounded Silene rides on Kaim back to their nest and quickly becomes pregnant. She reveals that silene continue to grow larger and larger in preparation for childbirth. However, if a silene’s life is put in mortal danger before then, they can basically force asexual pregnancy and give birth to one child very quickly before they die. She does indeed give birth to a young child (not a baby) that Kaim names Silene and starts to raise.

So….does that mean the Silene we see in Devilman is actually this Silene?

The very end has some nice action, answers some questions and ends….interestingly, but it didn’t hold my attention very well through the read. It was either boring or confusing. I don’t know what the next volume holds, but hopefully it will at least make more sense and be more interesting.

Oh and fewer butt shots, yeah that would be nice. Seriously, what is with all of the lone panels with pure butt shots? What is the point, Mr. Nagai?

Recommended Audience: Still lots of gross imagery, gore, and damn near full frontal nudity. 16+

AniManga Clash! Boku wa Imouto Ni Koi o Suru Volume 3 (Finale)

Boku wa vol 3 clash banner

Plot: Iku and Yori arrive at a love hotel and after much preparation, the two have sex. Despite this, Yori still decides to go to the school in another prefecture.

Breakdown: I’d like to start out this part by quoting something on the cover;

“Yori, who can do anything, and Iku, who can’t do anything.”

I know it wasn’t the intention of the writer to interpret that like this, especially seeing as how later on in the synopsis she says that they both feel the same way about each other, but, to me, that line just reinforces everything that I’ve suspected about this relationship. Iku is a dependent and submissive little baby deer and Yori is independent and dominant. Iku “can’t do anything” without her big brother who “can do anything” there to prop her up. Without him, Iku feels like she’d be helpless.

Now onto the story. We’re finally here; the actual sex scene. This scene in the anime was pretty uncomfortable, but not horribly so, mostly because it was done and over with in a fairly short amount of time. Iku was very much scared, uncomfortable and embarrassed in it, but at the very least it didn’t seem too rapey like many of their other encounters.

Manga’s version? It feels like it’s quite a bit longer, and it technically is because there’s more here to go over. In the manga, the two have a bath together after a very very long scene of an incredibly embarrassed and nervous Iku trying to undress. Yori tries to do it for her, but she takes forever and a day to take off her panties and bra by herself, at first letting Yori watch and then forcing him to shut his eyes.

When they’re in the bathtub, a scene not present in the OVA, we get this unbelievably creepy exchange.

Iku: “Yori, when was the last time we ever took a bath together?”

Yori: “Around fifth grade, right?”

Iku: “Ah, really?”

Yori: “Cause that’s when you got your first period.”

Iku: “!!!!! Re-re-re-really?!” “I don’t remember that.”

..Yori remembers when Iku got her first period better than Iku…….ughghghghghghghghghgqqoeooierigqehiodiosdjklldsklpbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt. Ya know, it’s not even so much that he knew that and moreso….considering how creepy we know he is in all things related to Iku…..and the creepy things he tends to do….……the creepy things he could’ve done….with…her….feminine….hygiene…..prod – NopenopenopenopenopenopeNOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPE NOPE.

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They start making out and as we get into the next chapter, we start off with Iku remembering when she first got her special monthly friend….ya know, the friend who punches you in the gut, eats all your food and passively-aggressively rips at you for a week before leaving. Iku asks her mom why this is happening to her and not Yori and she explains that such a thing can’t happen because she’s a girl and he’s a boy. And immediately after that flashback comes this weird stupidity.

Iku: “For the two of us who always did everything together, this was the first change to happen. I understand. That everything, everything….was for the sake of falling in love. Because Yori is a boy. And I am a girl.”

…………….This manga is giving me a headache. I must be missing something. I have to be missing something. Is she seriously saying that, biologically, her period was the tipping point of their love for each other because it forced her to understand that she and Yori were different? And on top of all of that….is she saying that they were destined to fall in love purely because one of them is a boy and the other is a girl? Boy, it sure is a good thing homosexuality doesn’t exist or no twin pairing or close in age siblings would be able to get through life without porking each other.

So, again, despite Iku asking him to stop a few times, Yori continues on with the kissing and the heavy petting and the other stuff you learned in that 1950’s film reel in health class. The sex goes on and….it’s fairly consensual barring the inner monologue from the two with Yori saying he’s fooling Iku and Iku supposedly saying she’s easily fooled. I think so anyway. They don’t do anything to the font of the inner monologue to know when one or the other is thinking.

Yori: “We committed a taboo.” Since I used up all my sarcasm in the anime version of this line, I’ll just give you a cut and dry ‘Well, no shit.’

As Yori wakes up, he finds Iku’s sleeping face all pure and seemingly oblivious to the weight of what they just did. Yori is struck with intense guilt, determined to beg God for all of the weight to be on his shoulders and for Iku to be free of any of it. He then apologizes for falling in love with her………MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…..Mmmmmm No.

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Look, if they had handled this romance A LOT better, this would be a very touching scene. I’m happy that Yori is understanding, at least to some degree, what a huge piece of fecal matter he’s been as of late…..but Yori has been almost nothing but an incredibly creepy sexual predator. This is really too little much too late. Hindsight may be 20/20, but I’m not going to act like him being sexually frustrated, especially when he had an outlet, was his excuse for being like that. Never have I looked at this story so far and thought, “Aw, what a tragic romance.” I have, however, thought, “Yori needs a serious intervention before he rapes his sister.”

Iku wakes up in pain from being de-virginized, and then we get kinda awkwardness because Iku and Yori instantly revert to just acting like brother and sister again.

Some time passes and we get to Yori and Iku’s graduation ceremony where we get the most despicable fact about Yori so far; He SMOKES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lXdyD2Yzls

After his graduation ceremony, he talks to his friend, Yano, on the roof and explains that he’s in an incestuous relationship with his sister. And, like before, Yano doesn’t really react much at all. He asks him why he told him his secret, though, an–

Yori: “There are times…..When I feel that my wanting to protect everything about me, and my feelings of wanting to destroy everything…have crossed paths.” Well, nice to know yet another insanely creepy red flag line crosses between manga to OVA.

Iku rushes in and we learn that Yori is still planning to go to the fancy boarding school in the other prefecture, despite his new relationship to Iku. After Iku has a temper tantrum at home, Yori gets her to calm down a bit by showing that he convinced their parents to buy her a puppy so she won’t be lonely when he’s gone. I will give him points for that; it’s a very nice gesture.

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As Iku and Yori talk, he explains that he still plans on leaving because he can’t be a couple with Iku where they live now. Too many people know them and recognize them. They can’t do anything couple-related in public for fear of being judged and persecuted. In this new prefecture, however, fewer, if any, people know who they are. They can eventually start over and be a real couple.

That still doesn’t make much sense. So, what, they move to this new place after a few years, become a real couple and somehow no one will ever discover that they’re twins? They’ll never visit their parents or friends? They’ll never get married? Have kids? They’ll change their last names?

He could stay where he is now, keep up this charade, and then when they’re college age they can run away and get new identities and leave everything behind to really be a true couple…Oh yeah, I forgot, he can’t control himself….

Iku suddenly decides that the dog’s name will be Yori. Because what else would it be? As she tries to get the dog to do some tricks, Yori grabs her by the hair and commands her to come see him…..well, that was a record of about eight pages without Yori being a creepy fuck. Congratulations.

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Also, doesn’t her visiting there kinda make this whole move moot? Are you going to introduce her to the people at school as your girlfriend? Are your parents never going to come see you at school?

They make out on the park bench as the puppy watches…..because….yeah, do that in public. It’s a great way to cap off a conversation that was explaining why Yori has to move because they can’t safely do any PDA in the area they currently live in. Make sure you’re under that street light so if anyone you know walks by they can see you clearly.

The next chapter skips ahead to Yori leaving for high school. Iku does her best to keep him from leaving and Yori’s thoughts also state that he lied to her before about the real reason for his leaving; making my previous rant somewhat pointless…..*cough* He brushes her off when she tries to hug his arm because he believes their parents will think there’s something weird about it, something I still don’t understand.

As Yori is about to leave, Iku struggles internally with watching him go, knowing there’s nothing she can do to stop him. Just as she’s about to try and tell Yori to stay, Tomoka comes out of nowhere and runs into his arms begging him to stay, all the while lightly smirking at Iku. As she paws at him trying to get him to stay, Iku starts to suffer greatly over the fact that she can’t say or do the things Tomoka is doing to try and get him to stay since it would be odd coming from her.

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Knowing that Iku is suffering, Yori decides that the only thing he can do to resolve the situation is to push Tomoka away and tell her to not get in the way of his last day with his family. In order to create a cover up, Yori hugs his dad, then gives his mom a hug and a kiss on the cheek and finally he hugs Iku and kisses her on the cheek. Despite Iku’s happiness at being able to hold him one more time, she recoils at the fact that this isn’t enough to really make her happy.

Yori leaves, and Iku sits in her room alone with only Inu-Yori keeping her company. She starts sobbing into her pillow and finds a note from Yori begging her not to cry.

Back with Yori, he slightly laughs at the fact that, despite him telling her not to cry, she probably will anyway. She’ll also probably say she’ll die of loneliness, which she does indeed say. Then he says he’s spoiled Iku a lot……uh….huh. He knows that they will meet again, so he tells himself again and again that he won’t be lonely like Iku. However, he starts crying realizing how much pain Iku must be in to be crying as much as she probably is.

———————————-

I don’t have much to note about this chapter, because it’s probably the best chapter so far. Yori’s being a bit bastardly in his telling Iku not to hug his arm and laughing at the thought of her crying and saying she’ll die, but both instances were made up for when Yori went out of his way to finally give her a hug and kiss and cries at the thought of her crying.

This might be too little too late, but this was the first chapter when I legitimately thought that they may actually be in love. I still think Iku’s just a bit confused, but there might be something within both of them that is legitimate love.

Tomoka’s scene was good but just seemed a little….OOC. Well, I have to assume anyway. I’ve never seen Tomoka possessive up until this point and her giving Iku smirks as she cuddled Yori and begged him not to leave, seemingly knowing that Iku was the one he was in love with, was a complete bitch move. I mean, she is a little too preoccupied with Yori, but if you offer yourself up to someone as a replacement for someone they love, how can you really be such a petty and possessive bitch?

What did she expect would happen anyway? Yori broke up with her ages ago and was never romantically interested anyway. Plus, like she knows, Yori already loves someone else. Did she expect him to just start shoving his tongue down her throat and agreeing to stay?

It’s at this point where the OVA ends. It only covers volumes 1-3 and technically it only covers half of three since there are still two chapters left in this volume. I’ll finish off volume three here since, well, might as well. However, the other seven volumes, yes, there are seven more volumes of this to go, will be regular manga reviews.

——————————————–

At the start of the next chapter, we see that Yori is settling in to his new abode at his new school. Everyone’s clamoring over the new kid, praising him for being the only out-of-prefecture student to make it into their prestigious school. Tons of people are trying to be friendly to him, but Yori being Yori results in him being a dick to everyone, including his new roommate.

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As everyone quickly recoils away from this asshole, Yori gets a call in the lobby. It’s Iku, and she’s jonesin’ for her Yori fix. Not just to hear his voice but also to get a kiss on the lips through the phone, which is really just making kissing faces and pretending they’re kissing. This would be kinda sweet if not for the fact that Yori yells at her that she’s doing it wrong, especially with no way of seeing her.

After they play that stupid ‘I won’t hang up, you hang up’ crap, they finally end the call. However, Iku decides that she wants to keep talking to Yori so she calls him incessantly until Yori tells her to give the phone to their dad. He asks his dad to buy him a cell phone for his birthday since he can’t be running to the lobby every five seconds to answer her calls. Plus, that has to be insanely annoying for the other students to listen to since every call is announced over the PA system. He tells him to buy one for Iku as well and they finally end the call barrage.

As he hangs up, he looks behind him to see his dorm manager teasing him about his phone calls asking if he’s talking to his girlfriend then revising this to knowing he’s talking to his sister since he called her by name and apparently her information is in his file, which also makes this moving thing moot again. I’m not sure if this means he knows that Yori’s dating Iku, but it’s possible.

Later, Yori decides to call Iku despite the dorm manager telling him he’s not allowed to receive anymore calls unless it’s an emergency.

The final chapter of the volume starts Yori and Iku’s birthday. We get some kinda cute flashbacks of Yori being really caring and over protective of his sister, all leading up to a birthday picture where it seems like Yori and Iku started to not get along as well as they used to as children….and the reason why is….oh god.

Iku got her first period on their 11th birthday. And I’m really disturbed that I have to keep talking about Iku’s first departure into the red sea. This prompted their mother to not only announce that Iku’s now a woman, but that she’s ready for marriage. This makes Yori incredibly angry. When Iku walks out of the bathroom after having that special talk of ultimate awkwardness with her mother, Yori blows the fuck up at her asking how she could do such a thing and yelling that he doesn’t like Iku like this.

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After that, Yori started treating her differently, more coldly, picking on her more often and basically seeming to carry a grudge over simple biology that is entirely outside of her control. I guess because she ‘became a woman’ Yori started looking at her differently, though in such a way that made him angry for some reason. Maybe because this may seem like the start of her pursuing romantic relationships with guys that don’t share her DNA? After this, 11 year old Yori internally proclaims that once he turns 16 he’ll be able to ‘take Iku with (him)” whatever that’s supposed to insinuate.

I get that he’s an 11 year old boy who doesn’t understand what’s happening to her, but Iku is clearly freaked the hell out by this event and all Yori can think about is a completely irrational fear or betrayal or whatever is going on in his screwed up brain that feels like Iku is doing this on purpose to hurt his feelings. I’m sure the one thing every girl wants to hear from their close-knit brother when they’re going through the confusing time of getting their first visit from that special friend from hell is “HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN!? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! I DON’T LIKE YOU LIKE THIS!” *proceeds to be a putrid dickwad for five years*

Ya know….this might actually be telling. Maybe it was this insane reaction and Yori’s subsequent emotional separation from Iku after this that made her not want to explore anything romantic or sexual, essentially making her ripe for the picking when Yori started to do those things with her. Iku, subconsciously or not, took her ‘becoming a woman’ as a bad event that happened in her life since it caused her to basically lose Yori more or less. Now, with him caught up physically, he actually likes the woman aspect of her and has accepted her with open arms (and more). So she might be using that to her advantage in keeping her brother with her as much as possible since she’s so scared to death of losing him…..

Don’t mind me, just trying to get some mileage out of my psych degree…..

Anyway, Iku is awoken to birthday wishes from her family and they present her with the phone that Yori told them to get. Jeez, he tells them to her a puppy, they do so without question. He tells them to get her and him cell phones for their birthday and they do so without question. Do they just do whatever Yori wants or do they have so much money that they just don’t care?

She’s unable to reach Yori’s cell phone, however, since he probably hasn’t gotten it through the mail yet. Her parents leave for work and she instantly decides to take all of her savings and go to visit Yori, through her paltry piggy bank money….and yes, she used legit piggy bank money. There’s just barely enough to take the long way with Inu-Yori. As she’s on her way, she bumps into Yano who buys her some chocolate to give to Yori as a birthday present since she spent too much of her money to get one herself. He decides that he’s going to tag along to visit Yori as well.

Meanwhile, Yori, after buying his dorm manager cigarettes and teaching him how to smoke (Yori, you’re a big enough douche without creating more smokers in the world) buys a diamond ring with clover designs as Iku’s birthday present since diamonds are the gemstones of Aries and clovers because of that stupid wordplay Yori mentioned in volume two. Though I’m more certain he bought this diamond ring because such rings are, you guessed it, meant for marriage. He buys it and puts it in a special box that reads “Only heart”.

Meanwhile, with Yori and Iku’s dad, his colleagues are clamoring over pictures of the twins stating that they seem nothing alike, which is odd for two people born under the same astrological sign. As our big cliffhanger of the volume, their dad reveals that the reason for their differences is because they don’t share the same astrological sign. They were born on different dates.

Dun….dun….dunn?

Ya know, technically, twins can be born on separate dates. Labor takes a long time. It’s possible for Yori to be born one day and Iku the next, especially if the delivery took place late at night. I know the real reason behind this revelation, but the reader wouldn’t know at this point.

Overall:

ROUND THREE AND OVERALL ANIMANGA CLASH WINNER: ANIME

Yup, the anime managed to knock out the manga in all three rounds. Congrats, OVA! You’re not quite as creepy and “get my rape-whistle”-y as the manga.

In regards to this volume in particular, the sex scene was much less uncomfortable in the OVA. They don’t include the bath scene or the talks about Iku’s bloody Sunday, thank you very much, and the scenes of Iku scared out of her mind while preparing for the act also seem much shorter in the OVA.

This is the tipping point because almost everything else that the OVA included was the same. I will admit that Iku’s inner turmoil at Tomoka’s teasing BS was better in the manga and the comedic reactions to Yori leaving weren’t so far out of left field in the manga since comedic moments have been long since established here when they never were in the anime. However, that doesn’t make up for much.

Final tally:

What the manga does better:

Establishes comedy as a facet of the series instead of chucking it in at the very end.

……Uhhhh….wow, is that it?

I guess the manga also includes more in regards to story and development, but almost all of these scenes should be taken as negatives because they either make Yori look like a creepy as hell near-rapist even more than he already did in the anime, or they simply don’t add anything of worth to the overall story.

What the anime does better:

Yori’s much less creepy and frightening (he still is as such, but not as much).

The uncomfortable scenes feel much shorter than the manga’s.

The arrangement of the timeline is much better (we’re not suddenly thrown into bro on sis tongue battle)

In the art department, the art is damn near identical, and the OVA has many scenes that are basically taken beat by beat from the manga. I guess we can call this a plus for the OVA, though there are some glaring animation errors that nearly cost it this mention.

Boku wa vol 3 clash banner WINNER

In the end, the OVA may still be an awful sewage smoothie, but I’d gladly watch that five times over than read these three volumes of manga ever again. I am just amazed at how horrible of a person Yori is and just how creepy and unhealthy this relationship really is. It’s like it’s nearly impossible for writers to write an incestuous relationship without one or the other being a complete asshole who is obviously toxic.

Then again, I can’t take a sigh of relief. I still have seven volumes of this crap to review.

Next volume, Iku and Yano arrive at Yori’s place. And what is the true impact behind Yori and Iku not sharing the same birthday? Why do their parents pretend like they do?

Amon (Manga) Volume 3 Review

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Plot: Satan is missing, Silene is captured and Amon is on a mission to find Satan and kill him. What is the true story behind the strange man who merged with Amon?

Breakdown: Not gonna lie here, guys. I wasn’t feeling this volume very much.

It starts off in a very odd place, I suppose quite a bit of time after the events of volume two. Silene has been captured, off panel, by a bunch of demons who seem in awe of her beauty, especially an unnamed demon whose body looks strikingly similar to Miko’s. In fact, this demon, who I guess I’ll just refer to as Demiko (demon Miko; I’m so clever) since she’s not given a name, wants to do everything in her power to be as beautiful as Silene since the whole reason she looks the way that she does is because she was merged against her will.

Amon telepathically frees Silene before the angels can purify them, at least I think that’s what’s going on, and while Silene stays behind, Demiko runs off to a different dimension thing where she meets Amon.

Silene, caught again, is about to be purified when the angels merge into one to reveal Satan. With Silene’s call, Amon arrives on site. “Satan” is actually an amalgamation of the demons, taking that form to trick Silene into accepting the merging and purification, but Amon saves her. She states that she called out for Satan, but Amon reveals that he was the only one who received her signal.

Amon starts breaking down the world around them, claiming that he wants to take back the world and make it free again. As he proclaims his goal, he transforms into the full Amon devil form.

Silene has an identity crisis, and is set straight by Amon, but she falters yet again when Satan returns with his army of demons to be with her and save the demon race. But just as she’s about to reunite with Satan, Amon rips one of her wings off. Silene, distraught, starts to battle Amon, only to have him stop her in mid-battle to show her that all of the demons and Satan were illusions created by her heart…because she can do that I guess. Silene’s injury was a fake as well. Silene asks Amon why he forsakes Satan so harshly and he says ‘I don’t know, I just don’t like the guy.’….Welp. That was some kind of motivational reveal.

Satan shows up….again.

fool me once futurama

Oh wait, this time he’s totes for real, and he’s gearing up for some tasty backstory. IE, the only interesting part of the volume. We learn that Amon is the first demon god, but his power rivaled God’s so God sealed him away in that sphere. In an effort to ensure that no being like Amon ever existed again, God created the demons a second time…

……Uh….Huh…..

Air tight plan, there G-man. Seal Amon away, fine, but revive demons….for the sake of never having another Amon appear again? Hey, you never want to see another demon god? Don’t make one! Problem solved. Demons can’t make themselves, but they can be created and God is one of few beings with such power. It makes zero sense to revive the demons for this purpose, especially since all demons have the ability to merge with one another making themselves immensely more powerful. Hell, the demons all melding together now and in Devilman keep causing the world to end. Also, this ability is what allowed the man to merge with Amon to begin with, allowing Amon to return to the world. Your plan has more holes in it than the Guinness world record holder for most body piercings.

But that’s not all.

We also learn who the odd man born to the silenes really is. God felt threatened when Satan went to earth so he ripped some of Satan’s power from him. However, it wasn’t destroyed. It was instead made into another living being; that which being the silene man. In essence, the man is Satan’s shadow. I don’t have as much of a problem with this, though I am confused beyond all reason as to why God didn’t destroy this power. Why turn it into a silene-like creature when Satan could realize what he is and find him in the future? God created Satan, he should be able to completely destroy at least some of his power.

Amon punches him in frustration, showing the power that the two of them have when they’re combined as they’re instantly transported into a negative void-like world for a bit. Satan states that he hates God’s world since it’s filled with peace and tranquility, so he wants to fill the world with pain and misery. He wants to experience the fullness of life with all of his power, so he calls Amon back to him. Amon won’t go quietly, though, and stabs him in the forehead with his tail, causing mass destruction around them.

When the dust settles, Amon asks if his true intention is to rule the world as king of the demons, but Satan implies that he’ll kill all demons due to them taking life for granted. Satan sheds his wings and says he forsakes God entirely and wishes to cling to the earth he fell to. This pisses Amon off and they start wrastlin’. Satan claims that the power Amon shows just proves that he’s no demon, but Amon says he doesn’t care because he is himself and that’s all that matters. At this revelation, we get this page.

 

 

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What the hell is this? I was under the impression that these two volumes were prequels, but they’re sequels? How? I thought Satan died. Did he get a reboot? Is this one of those ‘didn’t show it, so don’t blame us for what you believe from implications’ moments? Once God had Satan where he wanted him, he really let him go back to the way he was before and go doing the same crap all over again? Why? I don’t understand this at all; did I miss something between volumes one and two? Is that a memory or a vision? I might be more understanding if it’s a vision, but it really seems like it’s a memory.

Whispering Akira’s name, Satan falls. Amon leaves and Silene flies away with Satan, end volume.

Most of this volume was stuff that I cared little about or was just completely pointless. Hell, Demiko didn’t even do anything. She never even got a name. She’s just kinda there to fill in spectator dialogue. She might be Silen, the first bad guy that Devilman fought, but I assumed that she was…..Silene….wait, I’m even more confused now. Kaim, Silen’s lover/friend from Devilman, is also there. I didn’t mention him because he doesn’t matter outside of kinda mirroring the scene he shared with Silen in Devilman.

It takes until the final two chapters for anything interesting to happen and all of it is confusing as sin (pun not intended) or seemingly stupid. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe all of this will make more sense in the next volume, but I just left this feeling confused and unsatisfied, bordering on bored.

Rating: 5/10

Recommended Audience: I believe the groin area is getting less censored now. Nothing horribly graphic, but you can now see full outlines of genitals instead of shadows all the time. Other than that, same as the other volumes. 16+