My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a very hard volume to review without ruining it so it’ll be short. First off I was lost and even though I review issue #22 it seems I only read half or only remembered half, either way I’m disturbed. #22 ended with Kanda MIA and presumed dead. Lavi is missing and presumed who the hell knows. Allen is missing and presumed Noah. Howard Link has been killed, theoretically by Allen.
#23 opens with an odd chapter about Allen and Cross’s first meeting when Allen was a very damaged child. It then goes back to the main story three months after Allen disappeared. Lenali is busy crying that she chose the Order over helping Allen (which she did and isn’t in any hurry to go find him but at least they hint she’s trying to protect her brother by not making too many waves). Johnny is trying to quit the science department of the Order to go find Allen which is forbidden (heck even quitting is practically forbidden). Johnny has some pretty neat ideas on how to find Allen. No one seems to care about finding poor Lavi.
As for the rest, let’s just say we see some characters return and others not and we catch up on Allen’s internal battle. Will he become a Noah (and his ‘family’ is waiting to cut off his innocence arm when he does)? Will he stay an exorcist?
Sometimes this story line gets incoherent but it was good this time. Some of the fight scenes were less coherent with so much going on you have no idea what really happened. And I’m not the only reviewer saying this, but the art has changed drastically. If Hoshino is really still doing the art, then there was a conscious decision to go over to the Shojo girlie-man art style. Seriously, there are times Allen looks so much like a woman I’m nearly laughing. He didn’t start out the series like this. I actually wondered from time to time if the Noah is changing his sex, that’s how girly the art is now.
It does feel like we're winding down to the final confrontation but since I haven't been following the fandom that hard any more I have no idea.
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