The No. 6 manga is a sci-fi thriller based on a novel series by Atsuko Asano, and features artwork by Hinoki Kino. The first volume did a great job establishing the series’ world and main characters, but the second volume, while still good, was hindered by introducing too many characters too quickly. Does the third volume bring the quality level back up to that of the series’ debut?
Fortunately, No. 6 Vol. 3 doesn’t bite off more than it can chew. It takes its time without feeling too slow, and features a lot of great character development. Rat in particular receives a lot of focus, and the reader gets insight into his past and emotions through seeing the differences between how he acts around Shion as opposed to Dogkeeper. Rat is largely unlikable here–but not in a way that makes the volume a chore to read. Rat is unlikable but well-written, and we get some hints at what happened in his past to make him the way he is. Dogkeeper also gets some great character development; in Vol. 2 she seemed like a forgettable side character but in Vol. 3 she’s a core part of the drama.
This volume doesn’t just impress plot-wise, but visually as well. Kino’s work continues to be stunning. The texture work and shading throughout are just phenomenal; one can feel the sun beaming down when it’s illustrated on the page. The characters’ emotions are also conveyed very well, and the architecture is impressively detailed. The dogs are super cute, too.
There’s not a whole lot to complain about here. Art-wise, the only real con is that there are a few very short sequences that are a bit unclear. Plot-wise, the volume’s first chapter is less intriguing than the rest of the volume. Safu continues to be the series’ least interesting character, and whenever the focus stays on her for too long the narrative suffers for it. Thankfully, the volume quickly shifts its attention back to Shion, Rat, and Dogkeeper.
Overall, No. 6 Vol. 3 is a great read. The artwork is fantastic with very few flaws, and the pacing is well-done. Rat and Dogkeeper receive a lot of significant development, and the characters’ interactions with one another are a delight to read. The beginning is less enjoyable and there are some clarity issues here and there, but otherwise this volume doesn’t disappoint. No. 6 has regained the great quality level of its debut.