Area D 70-71

The flashback given at the start of chapter 70, depicting Goz meeting the Hamelin twins for the first time, while not unexpected, is unnecessary. There is no new information given here, and the plot comes to a halt for these pages. The Hamelin twins were hated because destruction their abilities caused, but Goz and the other animal-like prisoners protect them because their song-based abilities are all that keeps them from becoming berserk. This has all been previously established, so all this flashback does is provide a brief respite from the intense action of the past few chapters.

This cliche is becoming cliche even for this series

This cliche is becoming cliche even within this series

This flashback, as well as this chapter, features the return of a frequent recurring theme of this series, that of ultra-masculine or otherwise powerful men protecting young girls from harm, as is seen in the relationship between Goz and the Hamelin twins. There is nothing wrong with this relationship on its own, but it has already been used in three separate relationships in what is still a relatively young series. When used so often, this ceases to be a clichéd narrative tool and becomes an emotionally manipulative device designed to trick the audience into becoming invested in otherwise under-written characters.

A development that will hopefully force Jin to a more proactive role

A development that will hopefully force Jin to a more proactive role

As the battle between Goz and the protagonist Jin comes to a close, the coherence of this overall arc comes into question. The villainous Ubermensch Union has captured and threatened Jin’s friends in order to force him to kill the three bosses of Area D, so battles between Jin and these leaders are to be expected. However, the way in which these battles have been presented is strange; these bosses, including Goz, seem almost eager for Jin to kill them, with no attempted negotiation whatsoever. For his own part, Jin’s character suffers as he has become an almost entirely reactive protagonist. Rather than attempting to attack the Ubermensch Union, or even seeking out the bosses of Area D, he simply wanders from place to place until the plot comes to him. Barring any immediate plot twists, such as a secret deal with the Area D bosses, this has not been positive arc for Jin. The end of chapter 71 gives some hope for him, however, as he attempts to barter an alliance with the prison guards against the Ubermensch Union.

The art of this series remains fantastic

The art of this series remains fantastic

Despite the narrative flaws, the primary strength of this series has been, and continues to be, the art. The visuals of Area D are nothing short of phenomenal, and are only currently rivaled by Obata’s All You Need Is Kill and Murata’s One-Punch Man. The battles are visceral and exciting, facial expressions are incredibly emotive and believable, and the shading is used to excellent effect. The one point of concern may be the faces of the Hamelin twins, who at times seem to resemble bug-eyed aliens more than actual children. This is a minor complaint, however; Area D remains worth reading based on art quality alone.

Unfortunately, as of this point, the art is the only noteworthy aspect of this series. The story is rife with clichés and tropes that have been used many times before, Jin is a shallow, generic protagonist, and although the story’s pacing is good, the story itself collapses under any amount of scrutiny. Plot events are entertaining enough, but they lack any notable originality.

Final Flash: Transitional chapters that are well drawn but flawed in their narrative; hopefully the arc is approaching its next climax. Above average chapters, overall.

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