With the big reveal and actual character development, Volume 2 of Big Order is definitely a step above in many areas, except the art.
Title: Big Order
Publisher: Kadokawa (JP), Yen Press (US)
Story/Art: Sakae Esuno
Serialized in: Shounen Ace
Translation: Caleb Cook
Original Release Date: May 23, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
The best way to accurately describe Big Order is that it’s a manga where you, the sucker, play a game of high-stakes poker with people of varying poker faces and skills and choose to go all-in or nothing, believing nothing but greatness will emerge from the results.
Ok Big Order I’m all-in, so don’t make me look bad!
At the end of Big Order Volume 1, main protagonist Eiji Hoshiyama learns something has happened to his sister Sena. In this volume, we see that she is awake and looking well. But the doctors — looked over by the Daizaifu government — inform her that she will die within six months. To save her Eiji has to find the Order that can heal her ailments. He has to find her quickly or else someone will get to that Order first.
In addition, Eiji learns that the reason the Great Destruction took place was not all his fault? The main antagonist has appeared and threatens to bring forth a Second Great Destruction. How will Eiji and Dazaifu handle this threat? Better yet, does Eiji actually believe what is going on and which side he’s set to take?
Volume 1 had enough fun things happen to overlook its lack of storytelling or setting up any of the characters aside from Rin well at all. This volume still doesn’t actually do it, and unfortunately even makes Rin for the most part a secondary character, but the importance of some of the main characters are finally interesting!
Let’s start with Eiji. Obviously his sole motivation now is to save his sister, but absolutely nothing goes right for him in this volume. And yet, the story puts him in a situation where he may been set up and he has no one to trust. He never actually trusted Dazaifu and their leader, Hiiragi, since Eiji’s been more a figurehead than anything else, but a major reveal takes place — one of which is that someone important to him could have caused him to do the first Great Destruction.
Yet right off the bat Eiji doesn’t completely believe it. He’s convinced there’s holes with this story, and now in addition to his current troubles he has to worry about his past. It’s more of a sense that he isn’t completely gullible to everything he’s being told, despite contrary to the belief. In some cases you should believe what you hear, but in this case, with no one to completely trust, it would’ve been odd for him to play along. While chances are this will change in Volume 3, just this moment improved Eiji’s character way more than before.
Also more established is Hiiragi. Throughout this volume we see his Order and we also see his past — it also involved Eiji’s father, Gennai. Both were scientists looking to change humanity, but something happened that changed them. So the reasons why he created the Ten Hands, and asked Eiji to be his leader, make a bit more sense. Also his Order power involves judging things and sometimes manipulating time, so that’s neat.
That said, Hiiragi could still have another motive, which is why Big Order finally works — with the added doubt, I’m wondering what Eiji will or can do to get out of this mess. And it could all be a smokescreen, but it’s set up well enough that I can live with what it does.
A few other things I did like were again, a number of the situations Eiji winds up in are funny. Whether it’s negotiating with the Yazuka or it’s Rin and Eiji’s fight that but fails immediately because Eiji is clumsy — and Eiji’s official comment to Rin on that matter was good — it’s dumb fun, and it works. It’s drawn well too.
…Well, some of it. Unfortunately, this is still a problem for Big Order — the art is poor in areas, and faces are as well. The biggest offender is when Eiji gets his hand sliced off. You’ll see Iyo run in and…look happy? Uh, definitely not what you look like when you’re also saying, “Eiji-Samaaaa!” This looks like’ll be a continuing problem, and I hope it doesn’t impact any super important scenes.
Another (personal) problem is yeah, Rin is sadly on lockdown in this omnibus. She has her moments, but she not only falls out of Eiji’s Order control but then gets put under an enemy’s Order control, and mostly serves as the aloof double agent somehow. The only thing to come out of this volume is whether or not it’s really revealed who caused the Great Destruction will ultimately change her mind of killing Eiji–assuming she can break out of being controlled.
Big Order seems to have finally hit its stride, and that’s only a good thing as the series continues. Whether it can knock off any of its minor issues we’ll see if that happens. I hope it does.