Volume 2 of To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts certainly left the reader with quite the cliffhanger; Cain Madhouse had unleashed a horde of incarnates on the nobles of Northern Patria in the city of Whitechurch, Nancy was shot by Cain at that same gathering, and Hank revealed his true incarnate form after seeing Nancy shot by Cain. It was truly a night to remember in Whitechurch. So I was elated when I was able to finally pick up To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 and see just where this crazy night would take us. Except it didn’t quite do that.
To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 picks up a full year after the events we saw in Whitechurch, not on the night itself. Right out of the gate, I was a little disappointed to see such an intense scene had been passed over. I can’t say why this is the case but I’d like to imagine it was done for storytelling reasons we might see down the line over assuming it was just a lazy transition for the story. Perhaps it will end up being for the better in the end but it was still a disappointment for me when I first picked up the book.
However, to the credit of the series, that’s biggest complaint with the entire volume. In fact, it’s my biggest complaint with the entire series thus far. No series is without low points. So I’m going to approach it with optimism and hope that we’ve just gotten an inevitable lull out of the way now. With that big ole complaint out the way now, let’s move on to the meat of the volume.
The beginning of To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 features a fashionably stylish Cain Madhouse showing off a new haircut and outfit while mentioning something about establishing a new country. To say that once more seriously; Cain starts a rebellion against the government of Northern Patria with the aim to create a new country called New Patria that will see humans and incarnates living in unity.
When you see it from the perspective of everyone living in unity and understanding, it makes Cain actually seem like a decent person until you remember how much of monster he’s acted like so far. It’s likely that something else is going on here but we’ll just have to wait and see before we can truly say.
To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 is very much focused on Nancy with Liza and the newly introduced Claude Withers, leader of the Incarnate Extermination unit Coup de Grace, working full-time as deuteragonists in Hank’s absence. Though I could see the argument that this was the case already as I could argue for Hank being more a second protagonist over a deuteragonist. I’m sure you get what I mean by this though.
It seems that Nancy and Liza grew significantly closer in the timeskip. This I appreciated. I didn’t mind the confrontational attitude Liza had towards Nancy to this point but I don’t know how far that could have gone without making the character feel like a nuisance. Instead, Liza has kept her quirks while becoming a strong, supporting character. Nancy finally has someone who can lend a shoulder to her, something that she really needed in this heavy story.
Claude seems fairly straightforward so far: young man from powerful military family jaded by his sibling betraying their family honor as an incarnate. If that brother had killed his family as well, I’d go ahead and just give him the honorary “Sasuke” title for the series. Claude does show a sound mind and gift for tactics, so I’m sure the depth of his character will be flushed out in time. (It’s his first volume, let’s be fair and give the lad some time.)
Now for everyone’s favorite piece per volume; which Incarnates were hunted down this time? To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 was especially heavy on the emotions when it came to the Incarnates.
First, we saw Nancy’s father return without a trace of his former self as the rampaging Nidhogg. The Nidhogg arc was a testament to Nancy’s strength. The poor girl had to deal with the fact that her father had risen from his grave and murdered the innocent, get lambasted by the ever grateful members of her home town, and finally took matters into her own hands by putting down her beastly father once and for all. And you thought your life was hard.
The Siren arc was less personal for our heroine but followed an Incarnate whose story felt more solemn than the others to me. A poor girl who was able to make a place for herself in society by becoming a songstress only to have it ripped away from her by the war. Driven to become an Incarnate to find a new place for herself. Her return from the war wasn’t violent like many of the other Incarnates, it seemed to be a sad and solitary one.
Until she heard the people of her community complaining about the new impending war, which did cause her to snap and put the entire community into a perpetual sleep. Still though, her method of violence was far different than what we’ve seen so far. Her death in Nancy’s arms as she sang her favorite song one last time was definitely one of the saddest in the series to date.
To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 once again leaves me itching for more of the series. The contrast of the action and storytelling this series ships makes it easily one of my favorite series to read right now. With Nancy and the others moving towards Hank after hearing rumors of his whereabouts, I await the next volume with bated breath.
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Translation: Jason Moses
Production: Grace Lu, Anthony Quintessenza
Release Date: November 22, 2016
MSRP: $10.95 USD
Disclaimer: A copy of To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Volume 3 was provided to BentoByte by the publisher for the purpose of reviewTweet