No Guns Life Volume 2
Story & Art by Tasuku Karasuma
Translated by Joe Yamazaki
English Adaptation by Stan!
Touch-Up & Lettering by Evan Waldinger
Design by Shawn Carrico
Edited by Mike Montesa
No Guns Life Volume 2 returns us to the exciting cyberpunk series, as Juzo takes on even bigger challenges. Following the events of the previous volume, Juzo and his friends have had to lay low to avoid being captured by Beruhren. With options limited, Juzo decides to cooperate with the Extended Management Squad (EMS) in exchange for Mary and Tetsuro’s protection. Now, Juzo is tasked with capturing the first non-compliant Extended and serial killer Hayden Gondry.
While the story had previously focused on Beruhren’s dominance, this volume showcases the other facets of No Guns Life’s world. Primarily, we learn about the government’s problematic relationship with Beruhen, being forced to rely on the company’s technology despite their untrustworthiness. It helps establish the world’s unstable balance of power and provides further context to society’s desolate state.
This volume also dives further into Juzo’s interpersonal relationships with introduction of Oliva. Despite working for the EMS, Oliva seems to be on friendly terms with our protagonist, trusting him with confidential information and missions. Juzo was previously presented as an isolated individual, so it’s refreshing to see that he has additional allies. That said, there is still opposition to Juzo’s presence even within Oliva’s faction of the EMS. Among them is Kronen, who expresses a strong distaste for the Extended and wishes to uphold the law at all costs. His ideology causes him to be in constant conflict with Juzo, disliking his meddling in EMS affairs. Seeing these two opposing minds cooperate to find Gondry ends up being very entertaining, and it helps further round out the series’ cast.
While the addition of new characters is very pleasing, it unfortunately comes at the cost of Mary and Tetsuro getting little focus. They will certainly play a role in future storylines, but it’s disappointing to see them sidelined for the majority of the volume. Despite this flaw, the volume promises some interesting developments for the future, ending off with the appearance of an Extended that is nearly identical to Juzo.
While No Guns Life has less action in this installment, Karasuma’s artwork remains as stellar as ever. The bleak world and intricate mechanical designs of the previous volume are still in top-form, giving this cyberpunk story the visual flair to truly stand out. Additional praise also needs to be given to Gondry’s design. Karasuma opts to give the antagonist a horror-like appearance, pairing the character’s grotesque anatomy structure with dark shading. It makes Gondry feel even more formidable of an opponent for Juzo, while adding an extra layer to the series’ solid visual design.
No Guns Life’s second volume delivers a strong continuation that further expands the series’ cast and world. While it doesn’t capitalize fully on its predecessor’s strengths, the story finds substance by showcasing the new possibilities within the narrative. Juzo’s adventure is long from over and it will be interesting to see where the series heads next.