Haruka and Mamoru finish off the invisible enemy and its operator, the hit man Fang. Sierra is injured and is off the case for a while, leading to the introduction to the abrasive Juliet, who Haruka doesn’t get along with. Turus ups the ante by offering a bounty on Haruka and Mamoru that draws in killers from around the world. Mamoru becomes the bait for them while Haruka has an adventure of her own with some friends from school. Meanwhile, Wiseman, one of those attracted by the bounty makes his move, finding Mamoru’s weak spot, setting up a trap meant to take care of the blind swordsman for good.
Once again, there is a lot going on in these two volumes of Until Death Do Us Part, but not much happens. Mamoru and his sword still dominate the action, but there are a few shining moments here and there that keep me just interested enough to keep reading.
I started reading volume 3 and boredom set in pretty quickly. The first half of the volume wraps up the Fang story line while the second half is set for another big fight for Mamoru as he takes on all the small fry hunters want to get the bounty on his head. Along the way a new character is introduced, Juliet. She is like a mirror image of Sierra, immediately antagonizing Igawa, Haruka, and the reader. I really didn’t like her, and even when her reasons for being so antagonistic is explained, I still didn’t like her, or the way she could just flip a switch to suddenly become all smiles and sunshine. She is good at what she does, and but she rubs me the wrong way. I prefer Sierra’s “mothering” to Juliet’s “obnoxious big sistering.”
Haruka, who’s been a bystander for most of the series, finally gets to go on her own adventure. She sees one of her classmates being shot, and takes it upon herself to help her. Using her precognitive power and advise from Mamoru, she leads Kiwa and two other classmates through a construction site and keeps the killers at bay long enough for Wall agent Kilo and Mamoru to come to their rescue. I really enjoyed wanting the kids try to escape. These chapters had real suspense in them. It was also great seeing Haruka do something other than fret and cry. She used her abilities to find the best places for traps, and know how from Mamoru and Sierra to make them effective enough to keep everyone alive and unhurt. Kiwa, Kashiwado and Mako were interesting characters, especially Mako. He’s into petty crime until he and his buddies have a run-in with Mamoru. He decides he wants to be like Mamoru, and after meeting him, decides to go straight. The whole exchange was done well.
Gendo, the police officer that is always in trouble with his superiors and who has a thing against Mamoru gets in on some of the action as he takes on Mamoru at the big fight. A small taste of their history is given, as well as a few tidbits about Mamoru’s past are revealed. The connection between these two and Mamoru’s past, such as how he was blinded, and what crimes did he commit that he is trying to make up for are still some of the draws that keep me coming back. The taste these volumes give do tantalize me.
While all of the action is done well, and Mamoru is constantly being tested, the tension just isn’t there. Mamoru is the protagonist of the series, and you just know nothing is going to happen to him. He and allies are going to find a way out. The chapters with Haruka were less certain, as there are characters with her that could easily be picked off. It isn’t until Wiseman sets his plan in motion that you really begin to think that Mamoru is in trouble, until Haruka appears to use her magic. With a raging fever. I don’t buy the who “future husband” thing that’s supposed to be going on between Haruka and Mamoru. I prefer to believe the “Until Death Do Us Part” that is the title is meant that Mamoru will protect her with his life, not the marriage thing.
I was okay with these two volumes of Until Death Do Us Part. The Haruka chapters took me by surprise at how much I enjoyed them, and it’s what’s keeping them from getting a lower review. If I had reviewed volume 3 by itself, I wouldn’t have been so generous. These volumes are 2-in-1 omnibuses, so that means we’re essentially at volume 8, and the plot still seems sketchy at best. If the whole premise of this series is just to keep protecting Haruka and that’s it, all I can wonder is what’s the point? Maybe in the next volume I’ll find out. I do have hope with the some of what I saw in volume 4, so I’ll keep plowing ahead, and see where the series goes next.
Review copies provided by publisher.