This is easily one of the better volumes of the series. Why? Because it focuses almost exclusively on creator Gamon Sakurai’s greatest strength: His ability to create some kick-ass action scenes. So if you were expecting great things in that regard after Sato infiltrated the JSDF base in the previous volume then you’re going to love what’s on display here. Not only do we get shootouts between Sato and members of the JSDF, but there’s lots of strategy on display from both sides in most of these encounters. From the first chapter where the officer leading the charge tells his men to shoot through him in order to get the demi-human, to Sato’s own creative use of his abilities, these conflicts never wind up being a straight shootout between sides. The action is fast-paced, gripping, and inventive in ways that the main story is usually not. This is something I hope Sakurai is aware of for when he starts his next series after “Ajin.”
It’s not all Sato’s show, though. Izumi gets some scenes to show what she’s made of when she goes off on her own to rescue Tanaka. In a sense of both character and action as she manages to rouse Sato’s former comrade out of his self-pitying funk and shows us some quality sharpshooting and one of the best car chases I’ve seen in comics recently. Lunkheaded Ko even gets to show that he’s capable of helping out when he has to break into the headquarters of Sato’s gang and maybe even recruit a new member or two to his cause. Then there’s Kei who spends the volume using his powers to do what should be a pretty straightforward thing in the hardest way possible. He knew what his job was going to be, so would it have killed him to pack a grappling hook beforehand? It’s this kind of thing that has me lowering my expectations for the next volume when the series will likely remember that Kei is its main character and try to make me care more about his fate than Sato’s.