Helck Volume 8: Save The Humans



I always struggle to come up with a comfortable way to transition between volumes that end on very obvious cliff-hangers and/or separations. Helck Volume 8 is a prime example of that, and is why I bothered writing that first sentence, as now I’m able to get into the thick of it. We pick up quite literally where the last page of volume 7 leaves off, and are granted the full brunt of Vermikin’s promise to Helck.

I think, ultimately, it’s a testament to Nanao’s expert expectations subversion with this story. There’s a lot that you take at surface value and struggle to really “relate” to a story in proper, but the longer this series goes on, the deeper its story reaches. I think one of the most commendable aspects of that is its circular storytelling without being either pointlessly opaque and “pre-destined”, or so thinly veiled that they’re yelling it in your face.

Each twist and every turn feels familiar and mirrors something in the past, but those deep-seated emotions aren’t dredged up at the drop of the hat. Because of that, it can take 8 volumes to get to the point where something clicks. Take, for example, the parallels of Vermillio and Azudra. Both aggressive attack-types in their early days that had their jets cooled by a human hero. Of course, with the contents of volume 8, that means you can extrapolate the idea that ultimately Helck is destined to die so that the fate of the world can be saved…. but that’d only happen if Nanao was an okay writer.

Let’s take a deeper look. For one, we know that “time travel” in some capacity is possible, thanks to Vermillio’s (much) older self appearing to give her a kick in the pants. Similarly, there’s the “New World” beings continuously referenced by the demons. Though Vermillio may be treading in the footsteps of Azudra, rather than being prey to that circular life, Vermillio and Helck are meant to break it. That much becomes clear with this volume, the path that Vermillio heads down is the mirror image of Azudra’s- meaning that rather than the hero wanting peace, it’s the demon.

And there’s just a world of those little details and pieces of information that form this massive web a-la charlotte, spelling out “HOPE”. Strictly speaking within the generic framework of manga, Nanao’s really done something impressive here. They’re able to balance the two extremes of cliched manga, and in the gap between the two, inject value that surpasses expectations.

Now, I know this is a short review, but that’s really about all there is to discern from the volume. It’s all buildup for the final battle with humans and Cless vs demons and Helck. Because of that though, it gives readers a lot of time to collect their thoughts, to put the pieces together and come to the conclusion that Nanao is inevitably taking this series to. The indomitable human (and sometimes demon) spirit is impossible to crush. Against all odds, against everything the enemy has, Helck and Vermillio will create a happy ending for all. And I think that’s an impossibly hard thing to pull off in an earnest fashion, but damn if Nanao isn’t so close to doing so.

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