3 out of 5
There are, as usual, some absolutely killer ideas in these new APOSIMZ chapters, and Nihei is just growing in leaps and bounds as a draftsman: his fine-line starts to get some weight, and he’s still managing his large-scale style, but without many of the jarring POV cuts that often add a learning curve to reading his work. Volume 5 is, front to back, one of the most readable Nihei tankobons to date.
However, after an incredible chapter that shows us the impact of the fallen Ume weather station on the underground humans, there seems to be – seems to be – a huge time jump that’s not clearly explained, and so some of the rewinding that fills in that gap undermines what’s otherwise some really super cool plot additions, mainly surrounding what King Kaijiwan (Keisha’s brother) has been up to in the meanwhile. This builds to some visceral, badass battles.
There’s also some intriguing potential in how the Emperor’s Regular Frames might be treated in the near future; a very Nihei-esque addition to the plotting that I’m definitely looking forward to seeing evolve in future tomes. However, its presentation comes via a very fan-servicey bit that had me asking: does she have to be naked?, and so I’m docking the rating for that.
Gripping reading, nonetheless.