Title:Dead Mount Death Play Vol. 9 Author: Ryohgo Narita (Story), Shinta Fujimoto (Art) Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 256 Genre: Supernatural, Action Publication Date: July 18, 2023
Volume nine of Dead Mount Death Play gives us a lot of answers but still raises a lot of questions. First off, we open up with a battle in progress from out of nowhere but before we can question just how we arrived there, the manga takes us back to three days ago and shows us how. Civil and the gang are still in possession of the real Polka and Takumi and Corpse God wish to get him back. So, they are working on a plan; however, Civil himself shows up at their base! He suspects that Corpse God is from “the other side of the sky” such as he. Once he pieces things together and figures out his true identity, that’s when the battle truly begins.
Meanwhile, Phantom Solitaire is playing the role of the observer; however, we will find out later on that he plays another very crucial role in the battle between Corpse God and Civil. Also, I should mention we find out both Civil’s true identity as well as Corpse God’s real name but I’ll leave those two for you to discover on your own.
While all of this is happening, Iwanome is launching an investigation on his own… but… it’s not on Phantom Solitaire. Instead, he’s targeting the Fire-Breathing Bug and during his investigation, he finds some information that reveals the Fire-Breathing Bug’s true identity and motive! However, because of the nature of the Bug, he can’t exactly arrest him for arson. Instead, he’s going through a back-door charge of aiding and abetting a criminal… Phantom Solitaire. Bringing in the Bug doesn’t seem like a plausible solution, even on that secondary charge so Tsubaki makes a very interesting offer!
After this, we resume our battle between Polka and Civil. We also have a battle between Lulu and Misaki over the real Polka as well as Xiao and Soara in which Lemmings, of all people, decides to intervene in. Needless to say, all-out war is happening right now and Corpse God has free reign to go all out and use his full power. The volume ends when Corpse God kind of figures out who Civil truly is!
Wow… there is a LOT… and I do mean a LOT of character development in here but it’s going to be hard to talk about without spoiling a lot of things.
First off… Corpse God. In addition to his real name, an unfortunate nickname he has earned, and how Civil guessed it all, he kind of goes through a momentary lapse of judgment. After vowing to protect the city and/or world and bring it to a state of peace, he decides that he wants to sacrifice himself to end Civil thinking that if he were to disappear, then peace will return. Thankfully, Takumi verbally smacks some sense into him but while this might have been a lapse in judgment, I think it goes much deeper than that.
With the appearance of Civil and bringing up the Byandy Empire, it triggered a lot of deep memories and regrets that Corpse God had from his time on the other side. This led him to believe that he could accomplish his goal and atone for what he did by sacrificing himself. We’ve seen this played out a few times in other series so it’s really nothing new here but to have his mind swayed so quickly like that shows the weight of the responsibility and guilt he felt in the other world and truly accents why he wants to live a peaceful life now. It was a lot deeper than just a cheap moment to add some random drama!
Civil is referred to as a prodigy here and it truly shows. He explains how it was Corpse God, during their fortune-telling session, that taught him how to harness his magic in this world. He quickly got the hang of it to the point where even Corpse God misread him and thought he was nothing more than an amateur. When Civil unleashes his full power, that’s when Corpse God figures it out and realizes just who Civil might really be. Civil’s wish is to go back to the other world… which makes me wonder why he’s going through all of this trouble with Corpse God. Maybe he figures Corpse God can open the gate but… his other option is to remain in this world but change it to a new set of values because he simply feels Earth just isn’t chaotic enough. (He really should get a Twitter account if that’s the case). Still, an interesting character but he still raises more questions than he gives answers… even with the revelation of his true identity.
As for Polka…. And I mean the real Polka that’s in the stuffed shark… we actually got the truth revealed about who he is… and while I won’t say it here, I will nudge you and say that the real Polka, too, isn’t who you think he is. Well, he kind of is but you’ll have to look at his family. Once you do, you’ll understand a lot of things about the first volume of this series!
Next, we also learned the true identity of the Fire-Breathing Bug! It was a mystery this entire time and we kept guessing if everyone was the Fire-Breathing Bug or if they were just admirers, helpers, slaves, etc. Well, the answer is kind of all of the above… but if that makes you wonder how that’s possible, read the volume and you’ll come to understand. Tsubaki really did a hell of a job cracking the case; however, it wasn’t his doing, as Tsubaki would admit. It took a lot of research over a long period of time but all of it was there in the open. It just took Tsubaki a bit of time to find it. Now that it’s known, and we know the true secret behind the Bug, Tsubaki’s offer is…. Really daring, to say the least. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Lastly, we learned from Sayo that you truly can learn anything you want about the world just by watching shark movies. Maybe we should all invest some time whenever Shark Week rolls around, don’t you think?
You get a true identity, and you get a true identity! EVERYONE GETS A TRUE IDENTITY!
But, seriously… so many true identities dropped in one volume! Corpse God, The Real Polka, Civil, Fire-Breathing Bug, Polka’s [REDACTED], and possibly even The Grocer. Even with that information dump, there are still a lot of unanswered questions but we are getting a clearer picture of where things are headed with the series.
Before, I predicted that all of these different groups from Clarissa, to the Shinomiya Family, to the police, to the Bastard Children of Sabaramond, to the Bug, to Solitaire, etc would all converge and fight for control of the city and/or the world and… in this volume, for the most part, that’s kind of happening but not in the way I thought it would. It’s just between Civil and Polka with one wanting to reshape the world (or, alternatively just go home to the other world), and one wanting to preserve it and bring peace. It’s a classic tale of good vs evil but all of the other groups are fighting either to support one side or the other or simply being a bystander. Then, there are the police who are just doing their own thing but might find a way to join the fray.
This is a classic Ryohgo Narita move. Have all of these independently moving pieces and then bring them all together and have them intertwine with one another. We saw it in Baccano. We saw it in Durarara, and now we are seeing it in Dead Mount Death Play but something feels different this time around. It’s not as fully intertwined as before which tells me we’re just getting a taste. True hell hasn’t broken loose yet despite it literally doing that in this battle. This is only Round 1… at least, I would suspect it to only be Round 1. Although with everything being revealed, it kind of feels like we’re nearing the end, doesn’t it?
If a single volume can dump this much information on us, you would have to think it could wrap up by Volume 12… but something tells me that Narita has more up his sleeve. There’s a lot of story left to be told and more weaving to be done. All I know is that this has been, by far, the most interesting volume to date. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
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