My review of Outlanders continues with the series 4th installment.
Title: Outlanders Vol. 4
Written and Illustrated by Johji Manabe
Translated by Dana Lewis and Toren Smith
Lettering and Touch-Up by Wayne Truman
Originally Serialized by Hakushensha’s ComiComi Magazine.
Currently out-of-print, but originally published in the US by Dark Horse Comics.
Following the conclusion of volume 3, Tetsuya and Kahm now find themselves on the on the run from the forces of the Santovasku Empire. Kahm’s childhood friend, Battia is also on the run for letting Kahm escape, and has holed up with her old flame, the commander of the Imperial Colonial Army, currently besieging Earth. Tetsuya faces the difficult task of persuading the Colonial Army’s commander, Geobaldi, to turn against the might of the Empire. Meanwhile, the last surviving officer of the Japanese army schemes to restore Jilehr’s memories of her time as Aki.
We get back to actual plot development in this story, now that we’ve established the back story of the Santovasku empire and the Yomi tribe. This is both in terms of the fight for Earth, as well as the relationship between Tetsuya and Kahm. Oh, and we get the introduction of a potential future Deus Ex Machina – which is actually nice, because it means that when they use it later it there’s precedent for it.
We still have some of the whiplash problems with this volume, and the apocalyptic tone for the series is back as well With most of North America north of the Rio Grande being wiped out by the aliens. Additionally, they kill off a character in this volume who I really think shouldn’t have been killed off yet.
There is a lot of graphic violence in this volume (again, no gore), as well as another topless shot of Battia. Additionally, Tetsuya and Kahm consummate their marriage, mostly off camera. Still, characters have sex.
Originality: My sentiment about this being a sort of epic version of the first episode of Urusei Yatsura still stands, and the series actually gets more epic with this volume and Kahm & Tetsuya’s relationship gets into places that most harem comedies never go, particularly if they’re televised. 5 out of 6.
Artwork: The artwork for this volume is still excellent, and since this volume spends a lot of time on ship interiors, it also spends a lot of time showing off how the bio-mechanical exteriors of the ships would be reflected on the inside of the ship. 6 out of 6.
Story: The series story takes several substantial steps forward, and is showing inclination of going even further forward in the next volume. 4 out of 6.
Characterization: Everyone continues to act in character, and Tetsuya also shows some substantial character development of his own. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response: I really like some of the character development we get in this volume, particularly around Tetsuya, who gets a couple Crowning Moments of Awesome in this volume. 4 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6.
Overall: I’m really impressed with this volume, as the series continues to kick things up. 5 out of 6.
In Total, Outlanders Volume 4 gets 35 out of 42.