Author: Dall-Young Lim
Manhwa-ga: Sung-Woo Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: October 2009
Synopsis: “Having systematically destroyed all the protective soul stones in Japan, Hiyou reveals his plot to gather alter egos together and unleash a massive wave of negative energy that could threaten the entire country. The last soul stone is in Okinawa — the stone once guarded by Makana and Kakuma’s family. With Kuro and Keita detained at the resort and Kakuma captured by Tribal Ends, Makana’s ready to step up and defend the pure place of his fallen relatives. But a lone Mototsumitama may not have the strength to oppose the evil at work…”
Keita and Kuro have infiltrated the hotel serving as Hiyou’s plotting base but when the enemy swoops in and captures Makana, Kakuma flies off in a rage to do whatever he can to save her. But with her abilities to unseal Japan’s final sacred stone now in the hands of the enemy, it may very well be the world that the group is out to save… or at least that’s what I believe is going on.
There are some great cinematic moments in this volume, especially when scenes take a sudden sharp change from one to the other. Tense conversation between one group will suddenly whip into a high-stake fight between others, and the abruptness of the change works wonders giving everything a sense of speed and urgency. Emotions are running high when Kakuma’s unexpected attack on Keita’s Grandfather quickly turns into a devasting plea for help. Meanwhile Keita and Kuro continue their confrontation with Hiyou who spells out his plan to unlease a massive quantity of negative energy across the country.
What unfortunately works against the book’s better moments is the obscurity of this sinister plot. Hiyou does lay it out, and there’s more than enough tension between the characters themselves to build up a sense of importance, but I still can’t seem to grasp the severeity of the situation. The jist is on land once sacred ground, the enemy has built a grand hotel and filled it with Alter Egos, collecting a large quanity of negative energy that will be unleased upon the world after a spiritual stone is broken. Despite knowing what, I still have yet to know enough about the who and whys to feel as much impact as I think is intended. It’s something I’ve had trouble with since early on in the series, a disappointing flaw since I find the art and characters compelling on their own but lost without solid footing in the plot.
Still, though their purpose may feel a little lost, the book offers up some powerful fight scenes, balancing the energy-based abilities that lead to sparkly lights and lightning-coursed stances, to the always refreshing boxing style of Kuro’s. Occassionally these sequences get a little convoluted with an abundance of speedlines and effects but it never ceases to impress me how I can feel every punch, kick and explosion as it makes contact with its target. As in previous books there are some pretty violent, gory moments so the squeamish may want to give it a second thought before diving in.
The final chapter in the book sheds some light on the back story of now deceased Excel and her partner, Steiner. It’s a pleasant surprise as the two maintained their enigmatic nature throughout the duration of their relevance. However, as compelling as it was reading about their debatedly morale-edgy relationship, which was beautifully crafted as romantic and disciplined, it was all the more potent when readers already know of the tragic end the two meet. The book takes further advantage of this by building up the short story’s final moments to lead up to those moments of the characters themselves.
Ending on this strong point, this seventh book of Black God still suffers from the same flaws that has plagued the series throughout but it also maintains that great sense of flair and style that makes every book worth reading anyway. While the intense fight scenes are never short of compelling, I still maintain hope that that plot can move past being just interesting and become truely engaging.