REVIEW: ‘No Guns Life,’ Volume 8

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No Guns Life Volume 8

Our favorite ex-solider Juzo Inui and Harmony-user Tetsuro are back in No Guns Life Volume 8 from mangaka Tasuku Karasuma and published in English by VIZ Media. Volume 8 collects chapters 45 through 50 along with a special, additional chapter at the end of the book. In the world of No Guns Life, Extension technology—tech that extends the upper limits of human physical function—has become widespread. Juzo and Tetsuro are just two people whose lives have been irreparably altered by this technology, and one of the megacorporations specializing in creating Extended, Berühren, is on their tail. In Volume 7, Berühren sent Io, another Harmony user and possibly Tetsuro’s brother, after the pair. Juzo takes the brunt of the brutal attack, and although both he and Tetsuro are alive, Juzo is badly damaged.

Now, in No Guns Life Volume 8, Juzo needs to get back into fighting shape quickly. His only hope is locked away inside a maximum-security prison created to house Overextended, Wunder Bender. Victor is being held captive and is the only person who knows how to repair Juzo. Although Olivia can pull some strings to get Juzo and Mary access to the facility, they soon find that they’re not the only ones on the hunt for Victor.

It’s a rare day we see Juzo brought so low. Although he’s involved in plenty of action (where would No Guns Life be without some Extended-on-Extended violence?), he’s not at his peak and is forced to accept a helping hand, something that would have never happened if he was the same Juzo we began the series with. Throughout this series, we’ve slowly seen Juzo begin to lean more and more on other people. Though by far still independent and a little brusque, Juzo has certainly gone through his own measure of personal growth, and it’s quite evident in this volume.

Juzo has also been an absolute powerhouse throughout this series. To see him struggle brings a whole new semblance of risk to this volume. Tetsuro was not only bested in the last volume but is also very little help in this one. Not Guns Life Volume 8 really lays out the stakes and produces a different tone than past volumes. But with these two relatively incapacitated, Mary has a chance to step up to the plate, and it will be interesting to see how she handles herself in the next volume.

As always, the world of No Guns Life is painted in shades of gray, and it’s this grayness that leads to the uncertainty of the plot and is the very reason why every volume keeps readers on their toes. Between the realistic but unexpected change of heart in some characters to the exciting and surprising revelations about past events, Volume 8 rarely fails to enthrall. The cyberpunk themes similarly captivate readers, leaning on subjects of muddied capitalism, powerful corporations, physical alteration of human bodies, and the objectification of people.

The past begins to open up even more with the use of flashbacks and a heavy load of dialogue. The flashbacks are intelligently placed to keep an even pace throughout the volume. With Mary’s memories about Victor to Juzo’s war-torn past, this volume sheds more light on the questions that have plagued this series since the first volume. Although not all these questions are provided answers, readers will still be satisfied with what answers they do get.

Although more dialogue-heavy than past volumes, No Guns Life Volume 8 has its fair share of action. Some of the choreography is a little hard to follow at times because the Extended are drawn very detailedly, but the art doesn’t fail to astound. The characters are always expressive. Even Juzo, the least human-looking character out of our main trio, is superbly emotive and Karasuma’s use of chibi faces in Juzo’s flustered moments never fails to be adorable.

Although the special chapter is only a small section of the volume, it still should be mentioned. This chapter focuses on a job Juzo takes from his landlord, long before he ever meets Tetsuro. Although it’s generally a fun, lighthearted chapter, it does have a joke in it that falls flat. Juzo’s landlord, Christina, is coded as a transwoman. Her transgender status has been the butt of a couple of jokes over the series and is the butt of a similar joke in this chapter. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trans jokes (I’m trans myself) when they’re witty and good-natured, but these jokes are easy and unimaginative and therefore feel odd, and a bit forced. It’s by far a small blip of disappointment in a sea of entertainment, but it still warrants a call out.

No Guns Life Volume 8 is a treat. With Juzo impaired, the volume takes on a different tone while digging deep into cyberpunk themes and shining a light on more of Juzo, Tetsuro, and Mary’s pasts. Although lighter in action than previous volumes, the art never fails to captivate.

No Guns Life Volume 8 is available now from booksellers.

No Guns Life Volume 8
4.5

TL;DR

No Guns Life Volume 8 is a treat. With Juzo impaired, the volume takes on a different tone while digging deep into cyberpunk themes and shining a light on more of Juzo, Tetsuro, and Mary’s pasts. Although lighter in action than previous volumes, the art never fails to captivate.