Jiro Azuma is descended from a long line of ninja, and he can also talk to animals. And his rough and tumble appearance belies his compassionate nature. He meets Rago, a mysterious, unique, and suspicious, stray black cat. Jiro's compassion for animals will get him into trouble, when his encounter with Rago rudely introduces him to the world of the mononoke and changes his life forever.
As Black Torch, Vol. 5 (Chapter 16 to 19) opens, the great mononoke, Amagi, meets with his allies. As his history is revealed, so are his true plans. He wants Rago's powers, which now reside inside Jiro, and he will do anything to get them.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Espionage, the government organization that combats mononoke, prepare to fend of Amagi's next assault. Jiro returns from the spirit world, specifically Avidya Forest, where he trained to fully awaken Rago's power within him and also to use them. Has Jiro mastered those powers enough to battle Amagi?
[This volume includes a bonus art, a character glossary, and an afterword by the author.]
THE LOWDOWN: As I've written before, I knew that I would enjoy the Black Torch manga. I am a fan of ninja movies and comics, and, in recent years, manga. I am also a fan of the various types of creatures of Japanese myth and folklore, like the “mononoke” (a group of different spirits said to possesses humans in order to make them do bad things).
Black Torch Graphic Novel Volume 5, however, is the final volume of this series. Creator Tsuyoshi Takaki suggests that these characters will return, and I hope so. This final volume ties up the stories and plot lines, but Black Torch seems as if it is ending much too soon. Well, Takaki gives us an exciting final battle, but Amagi is the kind of great villain that deserves better than his type normally gets in final chapters. Amagi makes Vol. 5 a memorable graphic novel in a fun graphic novel series.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of ninja and of supernatural Japanese creatures will want to read by the light of the Shonen Jump title, Black Torch.