The Element Network has discovered the high-school where Jesus—an assassin as famous for his kill count as he is for his strange moral code—is employed as a teacher in his secret identity. Surprisingly, the Element Network was not the first group to discover this secret. Soon a who’s who of the world’s deadliest killers have also infiltrated the school, seemingly waiting for a chance to claim the bounty on Jesus’s head.
Ironically, this state of affairs was all according to Jesus’s plan. Knowing that anyone good enough to kill him in a one-on-one fight would be enough of a professional to want to avoid harming innocents, Jesus made his location known to the underworld. This action has indirectly turned his school into the most heavily-guarded campus in the world, with half a dozen agents on site, ready to do anything to help Jesus keep his students safe from an open assault, if only for the sake of their reputations as smooth operators.
Unfortunately, the enrollment of teen psychic Haruka Touyama in the school, as part of Element Network’s latest mission, gets the attention of other parties. This includes the minions of crime boss Edge Turus and super-cop Detective Genda—both of whom seek Haruka and her protector, blind samurai Mamoru Hijikata, for their own ends. When an elite team from the rogue nation of Galboa—The Trumps—lay siege to the school, seeking to capture Haruka, an unlikely alliance is formed between assassins, mercenaries, vigilantes, and protectors alike.
Exciting, non-stop action sequences are the defining characteristic of seinen manga (manga aimed at older teens and young men, for those who don’t know), and the previous volumes of Until Death Do Us Part have not wanted in that department. That having been said, this eighth volume may be the most thrilling yet!
The reason for this is because of how smartly writer Hiroshi Takashige plots the story in general and the fight scenes in specific. The various subplots involving guest stars Jesus, Sajin Kouro, and Yami no Aegis all interlock perfectly. There is a brilliant interplay far deeper and more intellectual here than in the battles found in most action manga, as The Trumps switch opponents and lure out one hero in order to set them up for a fall at the hands of another Trump. Mamoru, for instance, is the only one capable of fighting The Trump who is made invisible by a special stealth suit, yet he’s utterly helpless against The Trumps’s sniper.
DOUBLE-S’s artwork is as fine as ever. All of the characters have distinctive designs, so there is little difficulty in telling any of the characters apart. This is vitally important given that there are over 15 new characters introduced in this book, including the seven members of The Trumps and just as many friendly (for a given value of friendly) assassins who work with Jesus and Mamoru in order to kill them another day.
While this book is not as bloody as previous volumes, Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 8 is rightly rated as OT for audiences 16 and up. There’s still enough higher-level curse words and bloodshed here to make this series largely unsuitable for most teen audiences. I personally suggest most public librarians keep it in their adult collections just to be safe.
Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 8
by Hiroshi Takashige
Art by DOUBLE-S
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)