Blood Blade Volume 2: Almighty



If you were to ever think to call a manga “kick ass” there’s really no better recipient than Blood Blade volume 2. The camp levels are simply through the roof, and Oma Sei’s incredible artistic sense catapults that feeling into the stratosphere. You might have thought that the first volume was near deadly serious, aside from a few trivial points, but this second volume takes all of that in stride and makes you look like a fool for thinking it would be all that serious. Death and destruction reign supreme here, only rivalled by the off-color humor and artistic talent. It’s a melting pot of creativity that feels like a blessing to have as an English original series, and a bulwark for the existence of series that are just plain fun.

Either way, a story does still exist in this second volume, but I’m sure that most will realize it as a mere foil for everything that follows it. It exposes Vlad more to their past, the horrors of war that they’ve experienced, and mirrors those notions across several characters in the story to show the growth of Vlad through their reincarnation. Alongside that though, we’re exposed to quite a large amount of new information. Monsterdom is not the only alternative form of existence within the world, as demons and gods alike begin to rear their heads- all, interestingly enough, in the form of very pretty and young looking characters that lurk beneath skulls or writhing masses of tentacles. It’s an experience so detached from reality, and so disinterested in being taken deadly serious that it comes full circle within the cycle, remaining interesting and creative all the same.

I’m sure many will also hasten to lump together the treatment of the story with its characters as well, but Blood Blade volume 2 actually does well of extricating them from the absurdity of the narrative. A truth remains in the action of all that is spurred onward by war and destruction. The story speaks to that end as well, but the characters are much louder about it in comparison, using it squarely as motivation for their actions- both against and for the act of war and violence. I think it strikes a rather good balance within this second volume. Where the “villainy” of the previous volume was very clearly malicious (to nearing the point of comedy), its continuation finds much more serious vindication and purpose in their actions. A young boy disgraced by his past fighting to make amends for the future, or a father burned by the flame of humanity aiming to snuff it out, both are decisions that find reasonable (enough) beginnings for each of the pair. I’m sure it could be handled better or approached with more nuance and depth… but that would also be working against the point of Blood Blade as a series so far. You can only tip the scales so much in a certain direction before things start to fall out of sync. After all, instilling a deeper motive within a young boy reborn as a demon styled as an eldritch god would begin to toy with the delicate balance of the series.c

But really, at the end of the day, there’s not that much of a balance to begin with, is there? I mean, Oma Sei has very clearly gone all in on the concept, and is pulling out all the stops like a Kung-Fu still frame presented with such grandeur that it’s nearly impossible to laugh at. It really just makes you go, “damn, that’s cool”, and there’s no greater praise you could give for the moment aside from that. The essence of camp is just so purely presented within Blood Blade volume 2 that you really can’t find anything innately humorous about its presentation. Sure, one moment Vlad might be frolicking around on the beach for the first time in their life, and then the next ripping a group of soldiers to shreds, but all you can really marvel in is how fun and natural the flow of the moment is.

Now, though the action and its relatively insane nature is absolutely the most eye-catching draw of the series, I think that the more subtle and creative work comes from Sei’s mingling of realism within the volume. I’m certain there’s a few panels from volume 1 that are photographs, but Blood Blade volume 2 presents undeniable proof of their existence. The first instance is definitely the picture from beneath a tree, but the more obvious one is the inclusion of La Manneporte, a coastal feature of the French Coast. For one, it (could) allow readers to geographically place the location of Vlad and their little troupe, but more so it really is just the best example of proof that Sei has mixed real media into Blood Blade. And let me be the first to say, this isn’t exactly “easy” to do. The integration takes a real conscious effort in regards to how you approach lighting and shading within the manga, and even the art style needs to be able to really “work” with it- if you’re going for something that’s meant to blend together, of course. To that end, Oma Sei’s certainly put a lot of legwork into ensuring their art is able to match the fidelity, quality, and style of real images in order for them to blend as well as they do here.

And with all that in mind, Blood Blade volume 2 comes to an end. I don’t think I’d say that I misjudged Blood Blade based off the first volume, but I’m pretty comfortable with saying that I certainly underestimated Oma Sei as a mangaka. This second volume has put in a great deal of effort towards really selling Sei’s vision of a ridiculously melodramatic, blood-soaked action fest of a manga. It produces meaningful depth and breadth, and Sei still finds novel ways to visually impress readers. I’m not entirely certain of whether or not it would survive a traditional release in Japan, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about that with its release. Instead, us English readers are able to fully enjoy Oma Sei and Blood Blade to their fullest, as we now settle in to the wait for volume 3 (unless you like reading it for free on Kodansha’s website!).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.