Former assassin Mamoru Hijikata and psychic tween Haruka Tooyama have returned to find themselves figures of suspicion among their former allies, having abandoned their post with the vigilante Element Network for one month. In spite of this, the mysterious leader of the Element Network is willing to give the former gangster a chance to prove his loyalty with a trial by fire.
Mamoru and Haruka are given two weeks to bring down the Kakuhoukai syndicate and the criminal mastermind known as Wiseman, and so embark upon a bold plan. Aided by a traitor to the syndicate and a mysterious ally, who is apparently part of the Element Network and charged with saving Haruka at any cost, the duo launch a direct assault on Wiseman’s secret base!
The syndicate has the advantage of numbers and weapons, even without Wiseman’s brilliant tactical mind and the deathtraps built into his lair. Haruka’s ability to see probable futures seconds in advance will balance the scales considerably, but will it be enough to win the day when Mamoru’s special sword is broken?
Fans of the Until Death Do Us Part series will find this volume to be as thrilling as the previous installments. Most of the book consists of one big action sequence as Mamoru and Haruka clear a path through the syndicate’s lair as Wiseman watches from a distance, admiring his foes even as he plots which resources to pit against them next.
This is all fairly standard stuff for spy thrillers and superhero stories—one can’t help but be reminded of James Bond—but the execution by Hiroshi Takashige makes even the most tired of tropes seem new again. Of particular note is a sequence in which Mamoru must fight a tank in close quarters. Another high point of this volume is the flashbacks intercut among the action scenes, in which we see how Mamoru and Haruka spent their missing month. We discover that the former assassin spent this time trying to teach his young charge how to be brave—by staring down frightened bears in the wild!
The artwork by DOUBLE-S is as astonishing as ever. I am continually amazed by the detail of DOUBLE-S’s linework and the simultaneous clarity of the finished artwork. Many detail-driven artists run the risk of cluttering up the page with excessive or overly inked lines. That has yet to be a danger in any volume of this series that I’ve read to date.
Like the first five volumes of Until Death Do Us Part, this book is rated OT for Older Teen. This is a good baseline rating for the series at large, though this volume has surprisingly less gory violence than the earlier books. I should note that does not mean that there isn’t any violence at all. Indeed, there are several arms severed and a fair amount of blood spilled at several points in the story as Mamoru fights his way to Wiseman, as well as a fair amount of cursing. None of this will be excessive or shocking to fans of the series, but this is definitely a book for high school students at the youngest.
Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 6
by Hiroshi Takashige
Art by DOUBLE-S
Yen Press, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)