AJIN: Demi-Human vol. 15 – Gamon Sakurai

4 out of 5

A mixed bag, as this is almost 100% action, but good christ, such bloody good action.

Volume 15 is a wonderfully decompressed – because we get to soak up every delightful, beat-by-beat panel – capture of Kei’s anti-Sato plans. Does it go as expected? I mean, spoiler, but of course not. The thing about Sakurai’s decompression, though, is that it doesn’t fell splash-page indulgent: little machinations and character back-and-forths keep going on, and things are only stretched out long enough to make them as tense as possible, which is for sure the case here. And inevitably there are surprises in store.

The slight demarcations here: I think we’ve checked in with most every important player to at least get a sense of their motivations, and now it’s Kai’s turn… and I hope we get more. If Gamon hadn’t kept showing glimpses of Kai recently, I could’ve sworn him off as a forgotten relic of that first volume, when this was co-scripted, and now here he is, given his flashback dues. Except I’m still not sure I quite get it. Due to, I think, how Japanese is often translated, there’s a tendency for thoughts / sentences to seem like they trail off without conclusion, and that’s what it felt like was happening here in the text: partial representations of Kai’s expressions. It does seem like he’s going to get more involved from hereon out, so maybe that incompleteness is purposeful, and more will get filled in. Alternately: I’m just dense.

Also, Sakurai’s really bringing Kei up to the line of Death Note “outwit your opponent” ten-steps-ahead thought processes. It’s fun, but I kinda hope we don’t cross over that line, and keeps things just a tad more grounded.