I should hate this series now. After all, this volume finally breaks the one thing I really liked about the early volumes. That would be the “Magneto-esque” morality behind Sato’s actions. Clearly a skilled killer, his actions against the government were somewhat justified in light of the ruthless experimentation and testing being performed on other demi-humans like him by the powers that be. Even when he crashed a plane into a building full of people, you could still make the argument for ambiguity as the Master of Magnetism has done stuff just as bad in his various campaigns against humans over the years.
However, after we learn more about Sato’s childhood and history in the military, any illusions about his motivations here are stripped away. The man is nothing more than a thrill seeker who only started this campaign for the challenge it presented. Now that the government appears to be caving in the face of his attack, he’s bored by it all. With this, Sato has become a villain and not an antagonist in this series. Any hints of the moral ambiguity in this conflict that would’ve at least elevated “Ajin” to the level of “X-Men” are firmly quashed. This is just an action series where the good guys are pitted against the bad guys for survival and all the marbles.
Even if that’s the case, there’s no denying that it’s a story that mangaka Gamon Sakurai feels comfortable telling. The action scenes have always been the most entertaining parts of this series and that continues to be the case here. Even if one of them is an awful dream-sequence fake-out, we’re set up for an intense floor-by-floor fight between Kei and Sato’s groups with lots of intense gunplay and bloody hand-to-hand fighting with the demi-human’s IBMs at the end of the volume. I can at least get behind that. In fact, I’d probably be more excited about things here if Sakurai had started this series off as a straightforward action series with good guys and bad guys, and no shades of gray. Now I just look back at the earlier volumes and see their “hot mess” aspects stand out all the more along with lots of wasted potential.