Things have been looking rather dismal for our characters in this volume of Tokyo ESP. Since the last volume’s huge departure from the main characters we have experienced up until now, we were finally rewarded for our patience. Both old villains and heroes have finally returned and god does it feel good.
Having the older characters come back has been a solid thing for the story. To have an entirely new and unique enemy without any ties to the old plot line would seem too tiredly familiar (we already have several plots like Tengen Toppa Gurren Laagan we don’t need more). Having the two integrate has been fantastic. Not to mention, Rinka’s entrance was exactly what I was hoping for. Nothing screams welcome back like a bad ass kick-down-the-door entrance. What’s more, the two groups of characters can draw information and inspiration from each other. The other positive aspect of their return is that the story is returning to a more familiar state. Although, the only difference being that we now have two main protagonists.
The only issue with this volume is the first half. For those who cannot remember the subtle differences that define one character from another or are bad with names, this section might be rough. A lot goes on in this. Between the constant action and jumping around between characters, it is a lot to take in. I had to re-read this section twice just to be sure I absorbed everything that transpired.
That being said, the latter half of the manga really sets everything up for another interesting plot line. If things were not already confusing enough in the first half, the introduction of the CIA surely will make things more complicated. I, for one, and particularly excited to see how Rinka will infiltrate this new underground. Hopefully this new direction does not become tiresome as things have already been pretty crazy thus far.
If there is one thing that hasn’t faltered, it’s Tokyo ESP‘s violence. It doesn’t go full blown brutality, like titles such as Berserk, but it does have moments that really force you to cringe for your heroes (namely where Ren’s toes are being crushed). The violence may be constant, and a little over the top at times (as is Tokyo ESP‘s modus operandi), but it works incredibly well with the story. In a world with terrorists and social conflict it makes sense that this would be going on. It also shows that our heroines are having to go through a lot which attests to their character. This means that Tokyo ESP doesn’t sugarcoat the details, which is always appreciated in storytelling.
Tokyo ESP has everything one could possibly want in a volume; an exemplary and intriguing story, abrupt with gut punching action, and more references to pop culture that would shame even Family Guy. For those looking for an action packed sci-fi manga series, then look no further. Things are steadily picking up (as steadily as anything could be in this series), and it would be foolish not to find out what happens next.
Written by: Hajime Segawa
Publisher: Vertical Inc.
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Disclaimer: A copy of Tokyo ESP Volume 5 was provided to BentoByte by the publisher for the purpose of review.Tweet