Friday, June 24, 2016

Ajin, vol. 5 review

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Ajin, vol. 5 (Good Afternoon, 2014), by Gamon Sakurai. Grade: B+.
Kei has left a TV, food and water in the truck for Kou, who grimly watches the news reports on the attack on the Grant building. Kei just kills time with his "adopted" grandparents. After the explosion, Satoh's supporters flying in a drone carrying a duffel bag. In the bag are a pump shotgun and a brace of speed loaders. The police have fire hoses turned on to spray the building with water to disrupt Satoh's link to his ghost, and Tosaki orders in Japan's Special Assault Team (SAT) to take Satoh down by shooting him and just not stopping to let him recover. Initially this plan seems to be working, except that two of Satoh's new recruits, Gen and Takahashi, are on the roof of a building and they start sniping the SAT members. A couple other SAT snipers try taking out Takahashi (he has the rifle; Gen is acting as spotter for him), but Tanaka and his ghost track them down and eliminate them as threats (one sniper uses a flare to trigger the building's sprinklers, which confuses the ghost, but Tanaka shoots the guy in the back). (We also get confirmation that people can see the ghosts if they are under great stress.) (And, it seems that Takahashi is a cokehead.)

(SAT is here.)

Eventually, Satoh's ghost starts acting like a bulletproof vest, protecting its partner long enough for him to stand up and start fighting back. Satoh is ruthless, using his death-defying powers as a weapon as he shoots himself through the chest to splatter someone behind him with gore to blind him long enough to take him out. When the smoke clears, all 50 SAT members are down, and Satoh simply walks past the remaining cops, telling them "good jobs, guys." A TV news helicopter has been covering the battle, but the drone clips the tail rotor and it smashes into a nearby skyscraper. The scene changes to the hospital, where Eriko is walking the halls. She overhears two nurses talking about the battle, and saying that they're worried about the sister of that horrible Ajin, Kei Nagai.

One of the TV stations runs an interview with the author of a book on Ajin. The guy has been studying Ajin for years, and claims that all Ajin are evil simply because they don't die. Normal humans die, and therefore they bond together and show love to each other. Ajin don't have this bond, and therefore have no hearts. So, that's why they should be feared. In the countryside, Kei is helping the old woman pick weeds from the garden, and he sees two of the older village men staring at him. He assumes that they've recognized him from the news coverage. The men get together with a couple of other villagers to discuss what to do. Kei joins them in their meeting house and continues to claim that he's the old couple's grandson from Tokyo. He brings out a bottle of sake to share with them, but is shot in the back by a paranoid villager named Kita. Kei recovers, proving Kita right, but the boy runs behind one of the other men and uses him as a shield long enough to get out the door. Kei gets to the house to grab a change of clothes and some gear, and is closely followed by the lynch mob. They threaten the old woman, while the old man intercepts Kei crawling out the back window, and offers to drive him to safety. The guy knew that Kei wasn't his grandson, but accepted him anyway. He says he'll take the boy to a good orphanage or something, and Kei panics and grabs the steering wheel to plow the truck into a tree. The guy is saved by his airbag.

(Tanaka and his ghost eliminate two of the SAT snipers.)

After seeing the attack on the Grant building on the portable TV, Kou tries climbing out of the semi trailer, but when he finally gets up to the doors, he finds he can't open them from inside. Then Kei shows up and says he'll help fight Satoh. As the two go through the woods to avoid the villagers, Kei gets a call on the cellphone the old couple had given them. Kita has kidnapped the old woman and has been beating her to get information on Kei's whereabouts. Kita throws the phone on the ground, with the signal still connected, and Kei can hear what's going on at that end. Kita had been getting money from Grant Pharma, but with the attack that's been cut off. He wants to sell Kei for the reward. The boy, pauses, grimaces at the inconvenience, then tells Kou that he'll be right back - he's forgotten something. At the cabin, Kita is railing at the woman when he hears a noise outside. He goes to investigate, there's a gunshot, and the old woman assumes that whatever has happened, Kita deserved it. A few minutes later, Kei returns to Kou, saying that he needed to change clothes. He opens up the carry bag to pull out some styrofoam floats and some rope. The two boys tie themselves together, hold on to the floats, and then jump off a cliff into a raging river below.

(Kita tries calling Kei on the phone. Kei heads back to the cabin.)

Some time later, Kei and Kou are walking and they get tired. Kou goes into a bar, befriends a few salarymen and gets them drunk enough to need to take taxis home. He pockets the keys to one guy's car, promising to drive it to the guy's house, then attempts to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Kei grabs him around the throat and Kou asks if he's trying to kill him. They take a rest break at a diner, and Kou actually calls Kei by name, which is a beginner's mistake. The woman working the register is watching the TV and thinks that she recognizes Kei, but the two boys disappear before she can call the police. Kou drives to the abandoned construction site where he'd first met Satoh, in the hopes of rescuing the firefighter from the drum he'd been sealed in, but all the drums have been removed from the building. He and Kei argue over how to fight Satoh, and Kei keeps saying that it's pretty hopeless right now. They need to find other Ajin that can help them. Then, Kei gets a call on his own cellphone from Tosaki. Kei starts laughing, that this may be their best choice.

(Showdown over the coma victim.)

Satoh goes on again to announce a hit list. There are 11 people that have bounties on their heads for any Ajin that wants to claim them. They're all part of the Grant Pharma ruling bloc, with Tosaki second on the list. The first hit is on Ishimaru, from Nisei Corporation. The second is Sakurai. The remaining ruling bloc members panic, and their lead researcher, Kishi, runs away to hide in a remote cabin with his wife. Soon after, the police report that Kishi and his wife have both been killed. (Ishimaru was apparently found by Satoh's ghost, but there's no information on who got to the others.) At this time, Kei and Kou are heading to Tosaki's suspected location, but find themselves stuck at a police checkpoint.

Soon, Tosaki gets a phone call telling him to turn on the TV. The lead story is a police chase after a car suspected to contain Kei Nagai. Tosaki realizes that the road they're on leads to the hospital his fiance is in. He orders a handful of his thugs to join him and they race to the hospital, too. There, Tosaki finds Kei standing at the head of his fiance's bed. The boy says that he can't control his ghost - if anyone attacks him, it may materialize and hurt everyone in the room by accident. Tosaki goes into a rage at this threat to his beloved, and refuses to trust the Ajin on any count. Then, Kou falls through the false ceiling tiles and almost triggers a blood bath. Kei panics and tells everyone to stop, that all they want is to join forces to beat Satoh. Later, Tosaki's group comes out of the hospital and they tell the cops that this was a case of mistaken identity. The suspect wasn't Kei. Inside Tosaki's car, Kei sees the time and date on the dashboard system and he realizes that the school summer break is finally over (it's Sept. 3rd now.)

Summary: Lots of action, and proof that Kei isn't as cold and heartless as everyone else keeps claiming. The artwork is getting better, too. Recommended.

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