It certainly is sad that I cannot continue on with the big things I got before Barnes & Noble's images started being corrupted and now being unable to download ebooks from them, but there is nothing that can be done about that, though it is kind of sad that I cannot check the quality of manga releases from Barnes & Noble's digital catalog anymore.
However, that does not mean that I cannot do anymore reviews, since I recently got three books from Barnes & Noble, and one of them is a series finale.
Today, I will be reviewing that book, which is called Judge Volume 6 by Yoshiki Tonogai.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
After finding out that the two groups of contestants had to take part in a battle royale, things begin to unravel while everyone seems to be backstabbing each other.
However, the ones behind the game have yet to reveal themselves and they might just be one of the people still alive.
Even taking into account that it has been a while since I read the previous volume, I am not too sure about this volume.
As should be expected from the final volume, many of the questions left unanswered have been, though not all of the questions I had from previous volumes were answered.
I really liked how the connection between the players of the two groups was established, and even why they were all there. While it is not uncommon for many people to be connected because of one particular case, seeing as the culprits in Murder on the Orient Express were all connected to a particular case, I found it surprising that not everyone involved in the game was connected directly with the trial. This reminds me a bit of The ABC Murders, though there was only one intended target, instead of more than one intended target, like was the case in this volume.
I also liked how Hiroyuki at last showed his true colors for all to see, not just glimpses of it, like in the previous volumes. Things just never felt right to me when he was acting innocent and wanted everyone to vote for themselves. Here, however, my suspicions that I got from volume 4 about Hiroyuki wanting a battle royale since the beginning have kind of been confirmed, though I am still not certain how he planned to make it out alive with so many enemies around him had the original plan gone through.
The thing that I liked for two reasons the most though, even if there are some things that I do not like about it too much, was the twist presented at the end.
When the ones behind the game are revealed and the final four make their way out of the courthouse, Hiroyuki collapses and his childhood friend gives off a grin, as if everything had gone according to her plan.
The first thing that made me enjoy the twist so much was the fact that it was revealed that Hiroyuki actually made an assumption around the time that preparations for the game Judge was being made.
Around that time, Hiroyuki thought that he and his childhood friend wanted revenge against those who let a guilty man go free, but his friend's wrath extended out much further than that. This is why making assumptions is such a dangerous flaw that can lead to an early grave, with only overlooking the obvious being just as deadly. Unfortunately, we as humans cannot fix the fact that we make assumptions, only when we make them, which is why I strongly advocate waiting to get some more details about things.
The other reason that I liked the twist was that I never even saw it coming. Throughout the whole ordeal, Hikari and Hiroyuki seemed to be on the same side with the same goals, but it turned out to not be the case. This is pretty much how things tend to be in real life, no matter what one is dealing with, because we all think that we are safe with certain individuals, but out of the many statistics out there that make claims about who is more vulnerable than others, the most common thing present is the fact that the culprits are usually somebody that the victim thought that they could trust. I guess this is the reason that we should doubt people, especially those that we think that we can trust.
Outside of those things, I cannot really think of too much else that I liked.
The fact that most of the questions presented in the previous volume were answered, such as who set up the game everyone was playing, and that the twist showed why we must doubt people and that assumptions are not really something we should make made this a pretty decent finale.
Although I did like the volume, there are some issues.
First, some of the contents repeats itself.
While reading through this volume, I was fully interested in knowing what was going to happen next. However, after reaching the point where we finally see Hikari's face first the first time and Takizawa's father enters the room, we are transported all the way back to the moment where Takizawa and Hiroyuki talking about the masks with locks and what their next move would be all the through to the point where Hiroyuki removes Hikari's mask for the first time.
Honestly, what was the point of all that repetition? Yes, there are works where scenes are revisited, but they at least tend to expound more upon what happened around that timeframe, which in turn gives us more details to the story.
However, in this volume, there is nothing new presented when the scenes from before are played back. No work should ever do this and get away with it, but this one unfortunately has and is a major issue.
As much as I want to blame Yoshiki Tonogai, however, I cannot because when I look the online scans of the chapters presented in this volume, though they are not in a language I understand, there are absolutely no repeats. Because of this fact, the ones that should be blamed are Yen Press.
Really, Yen Press? Do you think that content being repeated in your releases when the original does not is any sign that this was a quality release? I sure do not think so and I hope that whenever you finally release the 23rd volume of Pandora Hearts that I do not see anything like this again, because I was very annoyed with having to repeat the same content over again with absolutely no changes whatsoever and I am fairly certain that I am not the only one.
Another thing that kind of annoyed me was the fact that at least one chapter repeated and another was nowhere to be found.
In the volume's Table of Contents, I see that the volume is supposed to contain chapters 27-32. However, while I was reading this volume, I never saw a chapter 28, but much of its contents are presented as part of chapter 27. Instead, it jumps right to chapter 29 and then the problem I mentioned earlier occurs and I once again see a heading for chapter 29.
What is going on Yen Press? It is like you guys are not even checking to see if this was ready for publication, because some of the content from chapter 28 appear, but unlike the online scans I have found, the content is not marked as chapter 28. This makes the quality of this release go from terrible to one of the worst releases I have ever seen my life. Get your act together or I might not support any other titles from you once Pandora Hearts' final volume is finally released.
I also did not really like how it ended too much. Yes, I did say that there were things about it that I liked, but things do not really make sense.
When Hikari revealed what she did and why, I hated how she chastized Hiroyuki for making assumptions, but she also made assumptions as well. After all, when we saw what happened to Hiroyuki's brother around the beginning, it did not really seem like he knew that his brother was going to be run over by a drunk driver.
However, when Hikari heard that the meeting time changed, she immediately blamed her friend for that character's death. Now, this probably does happen in real life, but everything that happened, aside from the trial held to determine the drunk driver's guilt, was purely coincidental, otherwise Hiroyuki would have been a god and never would have needed or decided to include Hikari in his plans to seek revenge.
Then again, seeing how stupid criminals tend to be, I cannot be too mad about this, especially seeing that Yen Press has ruined the quality of volume much more than Yoshiki Tonogai has and will label this a minor annoyance.
The thing that I hated the most though was that there are some panels that do not even make an appearance at all.
For example, in chapter 27, sometime after Takizawa's father says that he killed somebody with a pig face showing up, the online scans seem to show a conversation taking place between Takizawa and his father about the game and its contestants and then decide to do something with hiroyuki, but Takizawa's father falls instead of Hiroyuki.
However, in Yen Press's release, the page that immediately follows Takizawa's father claiming to have taken a life features content from the tenth page of the 28th chapter, when Hiroyuki and Takizawa try to decide what to do next.
Really? How am I supposed to know what goes on in this story if one chapter is left incomplete and the events leading up to the next scene are all skipped? In fact, how did Takizawa's father end up on the ground, when he reveals that he wants to keep Hiroyuki from suspecting things?
This was all answered in the content that you skipped Yen Press! This is not even a decent story anymore because you guys are not even bothering to check your work before publishing it for people like me to buy, seeing how different this is from what I can find online from scans not English.
Honestly! Can Yen Press even release a decent manga volume like they could in the past? I am not too sure anymore.
All I can say is that I am glad that this series is over now, so that Yen Press cannot ruin this any further.
While there was at least one thing that Yoshiki Tonogai did that made the volume a little disappointing, the issues that Yen Press had complete control over from the very beginning, like the repeating chapters and scene and even not bothering to include scenes that were originally present, made this the worst manga volume that I have ever read.
Despite the fact that there were things to like and the usual expectations of final volumes were met, the fact that Yen Press released this volume without even making sure that everything was present and nothing was repeated without reason made this a waste of time. I only recommend this to fans of the series, as this is the last volume, but even then, I strongly encourage you all to avoid the edition released by Yen Press.
What are your thoughts on Judge Volume 6? Did you like this book or hate it? If you hated it, was it because of what Yen Press did, like I did, or was there something else? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.
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