ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘No Guns Life’ Volume 9

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No Guns Life Volume 9

Our favorite ex-solider Juzo Inui and Extended-engineer Mary are back in No Guns Life Volume 9 from mangaka Tasuku Karasuma and published in English by VIZ Media. Volume 9 collects chapters 51 through 56.

In the world of No Guns Life, Extension technology—tech that extends the upper limits of human physical function—has become widespread. Juzo is one such person who has been irreparably altered by this technology, specifically in the name of war. Now discharged, Juzo has no memory of his previous life, and he now eeks out a meager living as a Resolver, taking on cases involving the Extended.

No Guns Life Volume 9 continues immediately after the events of Volume 8. Juzo and Mary now find themselves deep in the Weapons Vault inside Wunder Bunder. To Juzo’s surprise, they encounter another GSU, Number Twelve, who Juzo once called brother. But this reunion isn’t a positive one; Juzo thought he killed Twelve all those years ago. Juzo must come face-to-face with this knowledge and find strength and forgiveness. Mary also has to come to terms with her own past and what her brother has become.

Now that Mary is so close to finding her brother, she is at the center of this volume, more than she has ever been in past volumes. But with her as the focal point, we see her step up to the plate. Being entirely human, while everyone around her is an Extended, Mary has been left on the sidelines again and again. Acting as Juzo’s excellent engineer, she finds herself in the limelight, and it’s wonderful to see. Mary is a great character, and her love for her brother and friends is a powerful thing.

Similarly, Juzo is forced to face his past. Juzo has been struggling to find forgiveness for himself throughout this story. And his journey has led him here. While No Guns Life has constantly shown readers that Juzo is more than a tool, the first portion of this volume seems to boil him down to just that. He needs to be fixed so that he can fight. But this stutter is made up for with Juzo coming to terms with the horrible things he has done in the past, especially against his fellow Extended, his brothers in the war. It’s heartfelt; not only Juzo forgiving himself but living for other people.

While this volume serves Mary and Juzo’s characters wonderfully, the plot stutters a couple of times. The plot has become more and more complex. And while I think, for the most part, this complexity has done the plot well, it can be hard to keep every event and character straight. However, what doesn’t work well for the plot is that one character in particular jerks it around significantly. While this character is arguably mentally unstable, it’s nevertheless hard to keep track of what this character is thinking, will do, or even get a grasp of their personality since they’re so hectic. While Karasuma seems to be attempting to use this character as comic relief in places, these moments fall flat and just feel awkward.

Karasuma’s artwork, as always, is gorgeous. Where their artwork truly shines is in the presence of the characters and the fight scenes. Each Extended is unique, and their designs are never stale. Every character is superbly emotive, including the Extended who lack many human features. Karasuma has an excellent way of engendering weight and speed in their artwork; readers can practically feel the force behind every punch and kick.

While the plot has a few bumps, No Guns Life Volume 9 does Mary and Juzo justice. The two find some resolution to their tumultuous pasts, especially Juzo, and the artwork, especially the fight scenes, is wonderful. The wait for Volume 10 will be agonizing.

No Guns Life Volume 9 is available from booksellers on March 16, 2021.

No Guns Life Volume 9
3.5

TL;DR

While the plot has a few bumps, No Guns Life Volume 9 does Mary and Juzo justice. The two find some resolution to their tumultuous pasts, especially Juzo, and the artwork, especially the fight scenes, is wonderful.