What feels like the endgame for this series kicks off in this volume as Sato makes his move. What move is that you ask? Why negotiations with the Ministry of Welfare -- the same organization that has been kidnapping and torturing demi-humans to see how they can benefit society. What’s that you say? Negotiating with the enemy doesn’t sound like something that Sato would do? Then congratulate yourself -- you’re smarter than just about everyone else in this volume. The dumb doesn’t end there as Kei and company realize that Sato’s real objective is to raise some hell at a Self-Defense Force base festival that will have lots of military hardware on display and two-hundred thousand people in attendance including the prime minister. Something like this has plenty of armed military types handling security, which means that it’s going to be difficult for the most wanted man in Japan to sneak inside. Unless he just walks right in like he’s meant to be there.
“Ajin” has always been kind of dumb, yet the level of it on display here is kind of special. From Tanaka’s belief that Sato would actually want to negotiate with the government, to the Ministry’s failure to realize that Tanaka coming alone meant the worst, to the military’s handling of Sato’s “infiltration” of the base, just about everyone drops the ball in one form or another here. What’s worse is that most of the key players in this volume are dumb in a way that makes it impossible to sympathize with them. Sato’s betrayal of Tanaka feels like it was meant to come off as moment of high drama, but all it did was leave me thinking “You REALLY should’ve seen this coming.” The action is solid as always, with Sato’s assassination attempt on the Prime Minister easily being the volume’s high point, since the lack of talking during that scene helped keep the dumb at bay. Vol. 11 ends with Kei and company going their separate ways to take care of their own business in a way that further cements “Ajin’s” push towards its endgame. A really dumb one at this point, to be sure, but it’s what I’ve come to expect from the series at this point.