Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5

Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5

Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5
By Gamon Sakurai
Vertical Comics, 200 pp
Rating: Not Rated

Sato’s war against the Japanese government enters a new phase! Having gathered a group of like minded Demi-Human’s to his cause, Sato escalates his campaign against the mortal Japanese government in a spectacularly bloody fashion. Meanwhile, Kei’s attempt to remove himself from the brewing conflict fails and forces him and his friend, Kaito, to take drastic measures. Gamon Sakurai’s action/horror series Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol.5!

Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5 is a fascinating look at what works for this series and what doesn’t. The first third of the volume is given over to Sato and his increasingly daring strikes at the Japanese government and humanity in general. This is really the most compelling aspect of the series so far as Gamon Sakurai’s done a fantastic job at making both sides fairly untrustworthy and monstrous. The Japanese government is right to be worried about the Demi-Humans and what they’re capable of, but their methods of research and study have been shown to be absolutely horrific and inhuman, meanwhile the Demi-Humans have been shown to be rather ruthless and heartless in their attempts to create a society where they can live and essentially rule. Watching it play out feels like a bloody version of the X-Men without a clearcut good guy and other super powered beings.

Page from Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5

A page from the fantastic opening action sequence.

Gamon Sakurai continues to top himself when it comes to action scenes. Sato’s well planned shootout with an SAT (think SWAT) squad is a sight to behold. Not only is the run and gun action absolutely fantastic, but Gamon Sakurai includes some rather intense sniper action as well, showing just how effective a small number of Demi-Humans can be when they’re organized and working together. The result is the highlight of the volume and probably one of the better action sequences I’ve seen in a contemporary setting. The fact that he’s able to get across speed, intensity, and excitement without sacrificing any clarity is absolutely fantastic. I can only hope that American and Japanese artists are taking notes, because he’s really teaching a masters class here.

As fantastic as it is, the battle scene isn’t without problems, most of which are due to questionable in story logic. For example, the Japanese government chooses to not employ tranquilizer darts while combatting Sato, despite the fact that they work. Their reasoning is that it’s illegal and if they were used in public it would be a disaster. Instead they opt to tie Sato up and repeatedly shoot him in the head! Something that the Japanese public in the world of Ajin would apparently be ok with…? It’s such a startling bit of plot inspired stupidity that it took me right out of an otherwise fantastic action sequence.

Sato’s amazing battle with the Japanese government only takes up the first third of Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5, the rest of the volume is given over to Kei’s attempts at removing himself from the brewing conflict altogether. To this end he hides out in a remote rural village and tries to live like a normal teenager. Naturally things go sideways and he’s forced to flee. The idea of a protagonist who wants to spend his time in class, playing video games or watching TV instead of being killed repeatedly for a cause he doesn’t believe in makes sense, but watching it play out isn’t the most gripping material. Thankfully Gamon Sakurai reunites him with his old friend, Kaito. The duo’s banter and antics help give Kei’s story some much needed energy and it ends up with a buddy adventure feel. While this helps, Kei’s just not a terribly interesting or compelling figure and I often found myself hoping that the focus would shift back to Sato throughout much of it.

While Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5 is something of a mixed bag, for the first sixty six pages alone it’s worth checking out, as they deliver what is easily one of the best action scenes of the year. While Kei’s story isn’t the most engaging, it takes some turns which place it on track to collide with Sato’s plans in a rather bloody way, and given Gamon Sakurai’s amazing action scenes it’s bound to spectacular when it comes.

Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 5 is available now from Vertical Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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