I am really trying to remain with this series until the end. I own each and every original volume and Last Order volume. I would really hate to abandon it after pouring $220+ on it. The original series there's no question about; it's great! This is not the case for Last Order.
This particular volume has Alita in it. While that is a definite plus, it's extremely sad to have to say that about the main character in a series. The volume has a definite "middle", but no beginning and a weak ending! It starts off with Toji (of course) getting plucked out of the abyss of space to continue fighting in the sorry ZOT tournament.
The we see Sechs, ruminating and pondering about how Zekka is "supersonic while standing still". The overly simplistic answer Sechs temporarily comes up with is just stupid and pulled out of thin air, but I won't spoil it.
Then we get whisked away to the Space Angels apparent locker room(?) in an almost totally random way to see Zazie laying on a table with a mysterious Panzer Kunst attack rattling round in her brain, waiting to go off like a time bomb.
Sechs suspects Alita, sine it is a tough attack to pull off on someone, and calls her out of a ceiling vent to come and face him. Alita would never crawl around on her belly in a ceiling vent! It has nothing at ALL to do with her character development, the story, and it really wasn't funny. If it had been Sechs, the funny guy in there, it would have made sense. But for Kishiro to put the lead character crawling around in heating vents for no explained reason (other than her stupid cat tail) is just . . . sad.
Then, instead of focusing on Alita, we get to see over HALF THE VOLUME being composed of Zazie's warrior flashback, and we get a crumb-tasting of Alita's foes on Mars wrapped up in one little sentence coded into the attack on Zazie.
Mbadi and Alita do NOT have a show down, in the LEAST! Alita is just dreaming while Mbadi is discovering more about the Fata Morgana and it's counterpart, Excaliber, that was destroyed by Political turmoil before Mbadi was in power. And, of course, the FM is the "illogical, creative" female part of the key, and Excaliber is the "logical" male counterpart. Original, right? No. Alita is apparently able to hack in an "ingenious" way in her dreams. Whatever.
We get to see, in the final part of the volume, the Scrapyard and long-lost characters from the past. But don't get your hopes up. It's actually quite lame, and so many people were wanting to original characters to make a return! But all we get is a mere scrap of story, no real dialogue from any of the characters except Kaos, Kyomi and Vecter, and recycled artwork of Alita in her Rollerball days.
I have had just about enough of this series! I remember When I first bought LO vol. 1. It was so boring I couldn't get myself to read it for a month. I remember vol. 6 of LO; I bought it because the cover was neat, but the fascination stopped there, it was just boring once again.
And the same goes for this volume. There's no climax at all, and no real point of interest to keep one reading. The whole volume and series is just plain boring, flat, emotionless.
LO is all about ideologies and philosophies (like the first series), but with no real, relatable, emotional impact to make anyone care (which is what made the first series remarkable). Like with vol. 10, people were so hungry for actual story development in the series as a whole that it was a real, RELATIVE star in the series. But how is any person supposed to relate to (spoilers) "OMG! My brain is a chip and I have no organic parts in me, BUT I'M STILL HUMAN!!!" My point in bringing this up is that the biggest story development "punch" in the series is culturally and socially irrelevant, so it's really hard to care at all. And the fact that Kishiro keeps forcing lame characters down his audiences throats (Toji, Vilma the Vampire, every new personality from 13, the Stellar Nursery Society) make this series painful and irritating to read. And the fact that, say, vol. 12, which is Alita's "triumphant return", is almost taken up halfway by "Karate Wars" is so terrible!
The story is bland, and so is the art. It's technically precise, but there is no passion or creativity, and hardly even that many backgrounds! And the fact that Alita's proportions are changing with every volume and almost every page doesn't help. Her bust now looks like a double-D, and any cuteness she once had is destroyed by broad shoulders and hips that don't fit her personality or her height! And the fact that all the unique-looking style Kishiro once had is now in a vacuum of typical anime-ish crud doesn't help either.
And Viz Media did a bad, boring job with the translations once again. The dialogue is completely flat, almost all of the cussing and "spice" is taken out, and they even left a speech bubble blank in a double page scene where Sechs is challenging Alita. It's at the bottom of the page layout, Sechs' mechanic says it, but it's still just left blank. How pathetic on the english-language publisher's part.
The Last Order series isn't worth reading. I gave it such a long time to get interesting, but it's hardly worth even collecting anymore. And if anyone is considering starting the series, DON'T!!! At $50+ per out of print, used volume (which comprise of over half the series now), just don't do it.