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AR∀GO 41

[scanlation by Trinity BAKumA]

Even if Arago is right to claim to be in trouble, the fact that his regeneration has kept him alive through this barrage is hugely impressive.

Arago’s insistence on staying out of the line of fire despite his Brionac powers is a comforting sentiment. This series would suffer immensely if Brionac evolved to the point where Arago could eschew clever tactics and trickery in favor of brute force. Some series work well with conventional shonen stereotypes, but AR∀GO would not be one of them.

The scene played out over only a half a page, but Arago refusing to fire Brionac in a manner that would kill a human has the potential to be a series-defining moment. Arago has always intended to protect humans, but this fact was never highlighted as intensely as this moment. Another more directly threatening moment could force Arago to reassert his refusal to use Brionac on humans, which would inevitably draw comparisons to pacifist protagonists such as Vash the Stampede and Kenshin, not that such comparisons necessarily would be unwelcome.

In stark contrast to the earlier reassurance provided by the explicit limitation of the regeneration ability of Brionac, the ability to fire beams is disappointing. The strength of this series lies in its exploration and adaptation of various myths and legends. This alternative feel has been complemented by the low-key Brionac power, which has somewhat resembled a Stand from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, in that it’s been shown as a limited power used in situational and insightful ways, rather than as a linearly-upgraded, Dragon Ball-style power. If Brionac continues to evolve down such a path, I can’t help but worry that Brionac would be overpowered for the subtleties of the legends AR∀GO explores, which could lead to Arai seeking balance by changing the overall feel of the series to a more traditional shonen style. Hopefully this is an isolated incident, but I admit to being wary.

Please, leave the shonen beams to the professionals

The next day, Cloteaux is noticeably absent from the investigation proceedings, and Coco is unreachable. After the disappointment of Brionac-beams, this is a pivotal moment. If Coco has been kidnapped for the purposes of a straightforward “damsel in distress” plot line, this series will have made major strides in an unwanted direction. On the other hand, if Arai defies expectations and uses Coco’s disappearance as an opportunity to establish her as a self-sufficient character, or at least varies a kidnapping scenario by having Coco actually suffer in some capacity at the hands of Cloteaux, then AR∀GO will still retain its unique feel compared to its shonen contemporaries.

Final Flash: Still an enjoyable chapter, but one that presents far too many unpleasant possibilities for the future.

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