Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom, Vol. 7
By Kazunari Kakei
Published by Viz Media
Read my review of volume six here.
As the dramatic battle that began in volume six continues, power-crazy villain Fall has the Dark Liege cornered, thanks to the revelation of a new and unexpected power. Meanwhile, Nora and Kazuma face their own foes along with other members of the Dark Liege’s army. Still reeling from the news of Nora’s intended fate as the current Cerberus (who is expected to one day pour all of his power into Kazuma–the next Dark Liege–sacrificing his own life in the process) they both fight fiercely and with more feeling than ever before, determined to see this battle through and find a way to bring balance to the demon and human worlds in their own way–one which does not conform to the tragic customs of the past.
Although several of its fight sequences come close to being too long, for the most part this volume manages to keep up the considerable tension and dramatic momentum set into motion in volume six which is, surprisingly, one of the series’ new strengths. Though it offers nothing significantly different from most standard shonen fare, Nora has finally found its groove, particularly in terms of characterization which has advanced substantially over the last two volumes. Nora, especially, has gained new depth since discovering the grim truth about his fate, learning to truly value not only his life but the lives of those who care for him. Though his refusal to let the current Dark Liege calmly accept her own defeat is pure shonen formula, his delivery (“Nobody could ever replace a pain in the ass like you!”) is so charmingly in-character, such judgements are easily dismissed.
Another pleasant bit of characterization that has begun to take shape over the last two volumes is the changing relationship between Nora and Kazuma. Its development has been slow and painful (if often humorous), evolving finally into an uneasy camaraderie that feels especially nuanced and fragile for this kind of story. As in any relationship with a significant power imbalance (Kazuma, after all, has the power to allow or forbid Nora’s use of his own magical abilities with no more than a word, effectively holding Nora’s life in his hands) mutual trust is incredibly difficult to achieve, but in response to the new revelations regarding their shared fate, the two have forged a bond between them, fashioned out of an unlikely combination of fury, indignation, and hope.
Though this series has a ways to go before it can hope to stand up to the best titles of its genre, Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom has finally landed on its feet, becoming a solid choice for fans of shonen manga.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
narwhaltortellini saysSeptember 22, 2009 at 11:38 pm
*sad face* I read a bit of the first volume of this ages ago and while I don’t really remember it I remember thinking ‘meh,’ and moving on. But your second to last paragraph makes me very curious….only I don’t know if I’m up to 5-6 volumes of meh to get there. Hmm…. :( (I hate how hearing about things that sound interesting half the time make me conflicted about the possibility of reading it rather than happy at the chance, hahaha.)