5 out of 5
When a comic that’s easily praiseable for its intense, bloody action can spend almost an entire tankobon on plotting and character moments and still be gripping… Well, you’re probably reading AJIN.
We flash back a bit to look at some of the Dr. Ogura-involved research concerning Demi-humans, giving us some views of how different the various demis can be, in terms of personality; (Demis – they’re just like us!) we check in with Nagai’s mother, which casts a whole new and fascinating light on his family; we check in with Sato’s team, adding further to what we know of Sato’s past and seeing an interesting shift in Tanaka; and we see how the remaining team under Tosaki reinvests in their task.
These are story points that I imagine other manga writers would love to take pages and pages to explore, but Sakurai keeps it down to five slim chapters, less than 200 pages, and all without making it feel rushed, or losing any sense of the depth and humanity this cast has grown to have. I’ve also come to really appreciate how he handles mentions to past events – it’s a common manga trick, of showing mini captures of the panels to which are being referred, but the precise dialogue he uses (or at least how it’s translated…) and the panels he chooses are always exactly the hints and refreshers I need to feel in tune with the story, even if / when I don’t 100% remember the original scene.
This series spoils me.