Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama’s boss, Reigen, may be an unscrupulous exorcist with no real psychic powers to speak of, but he’s got one real redeeming feature. Which would be the fact that he does good by his sole employee and tries to instill in him a sense of morality about how he uses his powers. Not using them against other people being rule number one here. So Mob has tried to live his life as normally as possible and joined his school’s Body Improvement Club to gain strength rather than rely on his powers. His commitment to that ideal is put to the test when he’s lured into a revenge plot that sees the BIC tricked into taking on the thugs at Black Vinegar Highschool. The real problem here is that the thugs’ leader, Teru, actually has the same kind of powers as Mob, and he’s used them to become the most popular and powerful person at his school. So how’s he going to react after encountering someone who rejects his entire worldview about how these psychic powers are to be used?
If you answered, “In a way that leads to some ‘Akira’-esque carnage at a high school” then you’re most of the way there. ONE’s art is still an acquired taste, but I feel that he displays some real stylistic savvy underneath his base amateur-looking style. The real meat of this volume isn’t in the action, however. It’s in the meeting of the minds between Mob and Teru. Both are fully committed to how they view their powers are to be used so their war of words should be along the lines of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. It isn’t because Teru’s psych proves to be a lot more fragile than his initial appearance let on -- more so after he winds up with his “disgraced samurai” look. His mental disintegration only serves to amp up the drama of the narrative until the cliffhanger finish when things take a turn for the “???” and really leave me wanting to know what’s going to happen next.
(I’d be angry about how the bonus stories included after the final story chapter initially make it look like we’re not getting a cliffhanger here. Fortunately the two Reigen-centric stories at the end are quite good and show how the character’s quick thinking is just as useful as his employee’s powers.)