by Naoki Urasawa; adapted by Akemi Wegmuller
published by Viz; $12.99 US
Events continue escalating. As in the previous book, we’re checking in with various characters from earlier in the story, some of whom we haven’t seen in a long while.
Take, for instance, one of the few women, Yukiji. She’s the one who raised Kenji’s niece Kanna after the horrific events of New Year’s Eve 1999. It’s been so long since we’ve seen her that I forgot about her presence and influence, so it was a pleasure to catch up with her. Her activities since the anti-Friend group going underground are well-suited to her personality, as she’s been teaching youngsters how to protect and take care of themselves.
Time is short, with everyone feeling that they need to finally take the battle to the Friend. He’s about to try destroying most of humanity again, this time with a plan involving creating a story of space aliens. First, though, they debate reuniting the young leader Kanna with her mother, creator of a vaccine for the plague released by the Friend. I really appreciated how much we learned about the women in this volume.
As we jump among the various characters, catching up with long-missing players, there are plenty of revelations (so no spoilers here), with more still to come. There are so many strong characters in this story, and so much heroism demonstrated in such different ways. Fundamentally, it boils down to determination. These everyday people have finally reached a point where they do what they feel they must… even to the point of outrageous self-sacrifice (and sometimes it’s not clear to this reader it was the only necessary path, but that’s what makes this a larger-than-life story to get lost in).