October 4, 2015
Q Hayashida – Viz – 2013 – 20+ volumes
Every volume of this series is sublime. The story is getting more complicated without explaining much, but at the same time, the weirdness of this series has always attracted me, so I can’t complain.
This volume starts off with some pure nightmare fuel when a “shadow” descends into Ritsu, and Ritsu begins to sprout fingers through his palms, another mouth inside his, a second pair of eyes, et cetera. The resulting mess calls itself “Curse” and messes up the remainder of the Cross Eyes gang.
Elsewhere, Aso wakes up in the forest with what he believes is the human body of Caiman (sans lizard head). The “shadow” is implied to be linked to Caiman, though the shadow is clearly a destructive force and doesn’t seem to possess his will or personality. Neither does his new human-headed form, who would like to be called Aikawa. Except he has dreams about being Caiman, and killing Nikaido, et cetera. His face is partially obscured in the dream, but is clearly the same at the end. But he might just be faking that Aikawa is his name, and that he doesn’t remember anything?
There’s a showdown with En. It’s not clear if the “shadow”/Ritsu has merged with Caiman/Aikawa’s body, or if En’s opponent is actually Caiman/Aikawa. But the character fighting En is pretty badass and ruthless, and seems a lot like Caiman. En is worried because it was only an accident that he won in their last duel. En should worry. This fight doesn’t last long.
Another plot thread is that Fujita is trying to bring Ebisu back to life with Judas’s Ear. En reveals that Judas’s Ear can’t be compelled to use his magic, so there’s several comical scenes of Fujita dragging around Ebisu’s dead, mangled body and trying to get Judas’s Ear to revive her. Which is how this series rolls.
And there’s a Cross-Eyes subplot where Dokuja breaks in and kills everyone in a gang that deals in healing smoke so he can bring the smoke back to the injured Cross-Eyes.
The extra evil is more about devils playing pranks. This will never get old.
I don’t have a whole lot else to say, other than that this is still one of the most unusual, unique manga series out there. The art is fantastic, and the story is so far-out and strange that it’s hard to put it down. In fact, it’s better to read volumes back to back precisely because the stories are so weird, and have so much going on. Volume 16 comes out on Monday, and I think I’m going to be caught up by then. (edit: I am comically far behind on posting reviews).