Big Order's frenzied pace, where Eiji and Sena take center stage, covers for Big Order's art and character flaws in volume 3.
Title: Big Order
Publisher: Kadokawa (JP), Yen Press (US)
Story/Art: Sakae Esuno
Serialized in: Shounen Ace
Translation: Caleb Cook
Original Release Date: September 19, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
When we last left off Sakae Esuno’s wild ride, Eiji discovered that no, his dad is definitely not dead. Gennai’s alive, and, well, he now has Sena in his hands as he continues his plan to bring forth The Second Great Destruction. With only the burning desire to save his sister, Eiji marches on, despite Hiiragi and Iyo’s efforts to stop him from falling into a trap.
But here’s a twist: Sena takes control of the situation! After realizing where she stands, she concludes that the only way to save her brother is to meet her dad, and she’s not gonna just try and save him — she’s gonna expose the true culprit of the First Great Destruction to billions of people. This idea however ends up coming with a price, and for Sena and Eiji, it ultimately changes the two of them forever. It also ultimately might just change the world…
Big Order volume 3 (omnibus 3, as it combines volumes 5 & 6 in Japan into a tidy 390 pages) is a masterclass in going at the fastest pace it can, getting to the point and not throwing around unnecessary words. I do wonder if that does affect the story at times. Could a more cognizant point be made about what Eiji, the Ten Hands, etc. are dealing with? Is it great to have everyone move from point A to point B instead of point A to point D?
It does try to add moments of downtime, to no avail of course. I don’t need to see Sena taking a bath or Iyo desperately trying to woo Eiji and distract him from saving Sena. Give me the part where the main character somehow manages to get sliced in half and still ram a pole through a dude’s stomach or a situation where the main character’s too stubborn to believe the words that are coming out of everybody’s mouth.
That actually comes to a head in this omnibus and ultimately concludes what Esuno has hinted at before: Eiji’s memories weren’t simply erased, they were rearranged. How that happened is actually extremely cool, but it’s also cruel as well. It’s a moment where it showcases Eiji’s good side but also the part where he told himself a lie. It did take a lot of work to get to this moment, but I think in the end, it works. The twist that also involved Sena was something else too, and how Eiji responded to that kinda makes me think of the stubborn relative that doesn’t know what no means but truly does want the best for everybody. That’s about as close as I’ll go without actually spoiling anything.
As compelling as the story is, the art remains a source of trouble. I’ve criticized that enough though, so instead I’ll critique how everyone outside of the Hoshimiya family was handled here. The Ten Hands should be fairly strong, yet they come across as incredibly weak in almost every scenario. From Mari and Benkei’s troubles to whatever the heck Iyo tried to do with Eiji, I ultimately started wondering if they served any purpose to the story. Maybe it’s a case where everything else was far more compelling and Esuno wanted to ride that. That probably is for the best, but outside of fulfilling the basics (fighting Gennai’s forces, trying to hold back Eiji, etc.), their role feels useless.
Rin, unfortunately, does not feel the same since she was introduced in volume 1. It’s not surprising that her personality would change as more of the story is revealed, but her involvement is nowhere near as entertaining compared to when she first burst into Big Order. And in this volume, she may had a few moments in the story, but they feel muted. At this rate, her role is no longer going to be important, and that’s disappointing.
Now the remaining question revolves around Daisy, who still is the ultimate mystery in Big Order. She has consistently said Eiji is remembering the First Great Destruction wrong, and she essentially shows up whenever she wants. Her role in this is still undefined as her motivations continue to be unclear. I can only guess she’s the one who serves as the Deus Ex Machina in this manga. For those who haven’t read or watched Future Diary, Deus (the character, not the plot device) created the survival game there — but at some point we gotta get into Daisy’s past too. Well, after how this volume ended, I definitely need to find out more, so I guess it will be soon…