And so, all good things must come to an end. That’s the case with this concluding volume which wraps up its tale of alien entities, evolution and friendship in much the same way that “The Incredible Hercules” did with “Chaos War.” That is to say that it raises the stakes while building on what has come before. Though the series’ scale threatens to overwhelm it at times (well, that and its focus on battles against gooey biomatter overtaking the city), moments like the opening chapter’s flashback to Maki’s initially unsuccessful efforts to welcome Hikaru help to keep it grounded. Yes, Hikaru’s plea to Chika in the climax almost comes off as predictably, irritatingly sentimental, but the struggles of everyone involved in order to get to this point ultimately make it feel earned.
As a bonus, this volume contains another short by mangaka Nobuaki Tadano titled “Hikiomori Headphone Girl.” Though the main character serves as a prototype for Hikaru in the way she shuts herself off from society through her headphones, it’s not connected with the main story. Now I did like the way that the male character tries to break down her barriers and the general back-and-forth the two establish; but, it also features some “magical realism” elements that just didn’t work for me and caused the resolution to come off as predictably, irritatingly sentimental. Still, it’s an interesting look at Hikaru’s origins and these four volumes represent a charmingly small-scale and intimate sci-fi story that’s recommended to fans of the genre and even those who wouldn’t normally give it a shot.