The title character only makes a brief one-page appearance in this volume as the focus shifts onto the now-fugitive Hiro. He’s currently hiding out with Shion, the girl who confessed to him and was brutally shot down in the previous volume, and it’s not nearly as awkward as I was fearing from the previous volume. Shion, and her grandmother, seem perfectly willing to accept that Hiro has run away from home and needs a place to stay for the immediate future. We know better, however, and find out in short order that the drama surrounding the boy’s outing as a serial killer has a dire effect on the person closest to him. This sends Hiro off on another rampage as he takes out those who he believes to be at fault here before finally confessing to Shion about his situation and the fact that he’s no longer human.
It’s through this girl that Hiro tries taking another path towards redemption. To the boy’s credit, at least this time he realizes that redemption requires the person who is seeking it to put in some actual work. To the credit of mangaka Hiroya Oku, he recognizes that Hiro’s efforts aren’t going to be enough to cancel out his actions. We also get more insight into why the boy started killing random people after he got his new body and receive further confirmation that he was likely pretty messed up even before he lost his (biological) humanity.
As a result, it becomes easier to understand why Hiro does what he does. The problem is that he remains completely unsympathetic as a character. What happens to him is tragic, but it’s no excuse for him to go out and murder all those people. In fact, the whole “internet murder” sequence, while cleverly executed, does feel like a bit of wish fulfillment on Oku’s part when it comes to taking out internet trolls. While Hiro does make an effort to try and balance the scales for his actions towards the end of the volume, he does so without actually taking responsibility for them. We see on the final page that his failure to do this is only going to cause further consequences for himself, as well as Shion and her grandmother.
While none of what goes on in this volume really addresses my complaint about the simplistic black/white morality in “Inuyashiki,” there may be a way out for Oku if he wants to take it. All he has to do is take on the fact that as a result of his abilities, Hiro is above conventional morality. The boy is powerful enough to do what he wants and people should feel lucky that he’s even bothering to pay lip service to the social compact. This was one of the central ideas of Alan Moore’s run on “Miracleman,” seen best when the title character shut down Margaret Thatcher’s objections to the plan he and his comrades had to remake society into a better place with a single word. In the case of “Inuyashiki” will people be forced to accept the occasional murder spree from a living weapon if that’s what it takes to keep him from waging war on the entire world? I know that sounds extreme, but that’s the direction this story is headed with the escalation of forces against Hiro.
I could be reading too much into this. After all, Inuyashiki himself is still around and it’s inevitable that he and Hiro will have to take each other on at some point. All of what I described above may just be Oku’s way of making the boy into a more sophisticated boogeyman in this conflict. Hiro isn’t just an unsympathetic killing machine, he represents the death of society as we know it! Only the kind, decent, and selfless old man Inuyashiki can save us now! If that’s the case then this series will be the ultimate case of wish-fulfillment pandering to adults who want nothing more than for those kids to get off their damn lawn. Which would likely be terrible. I can only hope that I’m wrong about this, or that Oku will get to the Inuyashiki vs. Hiro battle royale so we can at least get some decent action out of all this.