Teppei Genda has long held a grudge against Mamoru Hijikata. Both were trained by the same sword master and both are relentless in their pursuit of evil, though Genda serves the law as a detective in the Tokyo Police department, while Mamoru deals out personal justice as part of the vigilante Element Network. Detective Genda believes, but cannot prove, that Mamoru was responsible for the murder of their sensei, and he longs to find some other reason to put Mamoru behind bars. When their mutual pursuit of an escaped child killer leads to a confrontation, the only certainty is that it will be the fight of their lives.

What is less certain, however, is what game Mamoru is playing in the long run. Already, he has formed an alliance with his former enemies among the Trumps and the criminal mastermind called Wiseman. Now, he is slowly sneaking resources out of the Element Network as part of some secret plan to secure the safety of psychic teenager Haruka Touyama once and for all.

When white-hat hacker Igawa goes rogue along with Mamoru, the Element Network is quick to respond. Forming a team made up of Mamoru’s former allies, they plan to stop Mamoru by reaching his target first and arranging a non-violent takeover of the rogue nation of Galboa. Why? Because Mamoru’s target is no less than Zashid Turus, father of his old enemy Edge Turus and absolute tyrant of Galboa!

The pacing of Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 11 is somewhat odd. The blurb on the back of the book talks about the rivalry between Detective Genda and Mamoru, and both swordsmen are depicted on the cover as young men in their kendo armor. Yet the vast majority of this book is concerned with setting up Mamoru’s departure from the Element Network and their response once Mamoru’s ultimate goal becomes obvious.

Abrupt as the sudden resolution of the Detective Genda subplot may be, Hiroshi Takashige still brings it to a satisfying conclusion, and one cannot help but draw comparisons between Genda and the equally relentless Inspector Javert from Les Miserables. As such, we see that Takashige’s greatest gift as a writer lies in developing rich personalities. Half the fun of this volume lies in interactions between the various characters, as when Mamoru offers to spar with the same members of the Trumps who were trying to kill him just a few volumes earlier, or Wiseman’s philosophical discussions with the equally intellectual Zelm.

Even at this late stage in the series, DOUBLE-S’s artwork continues to astound. I still can’t believe that this was their first professionally published work, so skillful is their ability to fit the maximum amount of detail into the smallest of panels without obscuring the action of the various battle sequences.

As with the previous volumes in this series, Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 11 is rated OT for audiences 16 and older. Strangely, there’s not nearly as much in the way of bloodshed or violence this time around; I suspect, however, this may be the calm before the storm as the story approaches its finale.

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 11
by Hiroshi Takashige
Art by DOUBLE-S
ISBN: 9780316340236
Yen Press, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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