Now this is weird. The previous volume put the main plot on hold to focus entirely on a grown-up Yukiko Gosho as she tried to put the vampire-related trauma of her high school years behind her and live an ordinary life. It was an effective character study that ended in a way that promised a return to the core storyline. That’s exactly what we get in this volume and I’m surprised it wasn’t as satisfying a read as I was expecting.
It starts out promising enough with Gosho sneaking into the cult compound where she thinks Okazaki is being held in the dead of night. Things don’t go well for her and she’s caught, but the cult’s leader welcomes her into its fold because they have a history together. You see, the cult leader is Sakurane, the serial killer who cut her throat and left her for dead in a burning apartment. While Gosho knows she’s in trouble, she summons the courage to play along with Sakurane until she can find out if he really does have Okazaki, Yuuki, or both of them down in the basement of the cult compound. Meanwhile, probably-not-a-serial-killer Sudo has tracked Gosho down to the compound and is working on his own way to save her from the danger inside.
The problem with vol. 7 is that it moves too slowly. It’s not a slow burn, mangaka Shuzo Oshimi is just taking his sweet time with how the plot is advancing here. By the end of the volume things haven’t really advanced all that much and there hasn’t been the kind of interesting character work I’ve come to expect to compensate for that. Sadly, what we do get is some really nasty stuff happening to Gosho at the hands of Sakurane. Just about all of it happens off-panel, but the implications are more skin-crawling than anything else. We do find out who’s in the basement, so it’s not like the volume is completely lacking in significant developments. It’s just that vol. 7 leaves me feeling that Oshimi was drawing things out to an unnecessary extent before he gets to the really good stuff.