Pirate King Seraph

Following The Rules! Dead Rock Chapter 2 BREAKDOWN

So every month around the 6th- Dead Rock.” Got it. Completely blindsided by this one, guys; I saw leaks coming out, but…….. the same day as “Black Clover,” “My Hero,” and “One Piece” leaks. And in the case of One Piece– Initial Translations. So I hopped on that. I didn’t think it would be this early in the month- I thought that was just for chapter 1! Now I know so I can prepare next month for chapter 3. But man; between this and the other 2(one of which might be getting the “Short Review” treatment for a while), I don’t know how many regularly scheduled posts are gonna come out. Picking this back up again on Sunday, August 6th, 2023, at 1:27 pm– an hour and 33 minutes before I have to go into work- I know. And by time this post comes out at this rate– you will, too. 

I’ve had a little more time to sit on this chapter compared to when I started, and I have a few more ideas for what exactly is going on. Both chapters have given us things to think about. And both of them- despite showing off how different this series is(particularly when it comes to Yakuto in relation to Haru, Natsu, and Shiki) from Mashima’s other works; it still manages to keep those little “Mashima-isms” when it comes to comedy and characterization. I’m……… I already love this series. Better than “Edens Zero?” I won’t say that with only 2 chapters, but I’ll say that it’s already scoring a bit higher than Rave Master for me. Fairy Tail remains at the bottom. Let’s get into the chapter. Dead Rock Chapter 2: “School Rules Article 3.” This should be good………

Overview

Picking up from the last chapter: Yakuto makes his mission statement know to his new classmates- killing their teacher and telling them that he aims to kill their School Principal. Chako(Yatagarasu) says that he’ll never be able to do it, and Reisen(Orochi) asks why he killed their homeroom teacher on the first day. Yakuto admits he plans on killing every teacher in the end, anyway; he just wanted to make sure everyone here knew he was dead serious. Hien(Fenrir) asks why he aims to kill God, to which Yakuto explains that their “God” is an imposter– based on the name he chose. “Normally, the Ruler of the Demon Realm would call himself ‘Demon King’ or something” he says, so he speculates that there’s a “Rightful Sovereign” that God took the place of. But he has no proof of that. Freyr falls deeper for him, but everyone else thinks he’s crazy. Though they don’t feel like snitching. But Reisen warns Yakuto he’ll be the one to kill him before God ever gets the chance…….

Hien is of a similar mindset, but will only kill Yakuto if he starts causing problems for him. As for Maxwell’s body; he looks to have “Golem” roots, so his body is hollow. After trying to make Chako the head, they figure he has a spare somewhere and start looking for it. It’s gonna be a corpse under Mikoto’s control. While they’re off looking for that, we jump over to H#ll’s Kitchen, where Reisen is eating. Some upper classmen come up to mock him for having to take the Entrance exam, and explain to him School Rule Article 3: “Kill Anyone You Don’t Like.” Which they try to– and end up dead at Reisen’s hands. Then out comes the Head Chef Ogre, who plans to  eat the 2 students Reisen just killed. Though when questioned, he also admits that he DOES put dead students in the food he serves. But these 2 he wants to eat himself.

He doesn’t care about them at all, but the idea of people getting eaten reminds him of a Really Bad Experience: He was protecting a Princess before coming to Dead Rock. And that Princess was stabbed through the heart with a familiar looking sword. The man who did the deed tells Reisen that she’s become “his meal,” and that whatever curse he just cast can only be broken by a Demon King. Thus why he’s here. He questions Ogre if Article 3 includes Teacher’s and Staff, to which Ogre Replies “If You Can.” Which he tries– and fails, getting hacked up by Ogre. He’s dead. And Yakuto isn’t happy about that. “I Don’t You For Killing My Classmate” he justifies, and……….. well, he shows off his Black Dragon Roots in front of the whole Cafeteria, catching the eye of a girl with ears……….

Over in the School Dorm “Bone Rampage,” we see Class F in the Infirmary, where Reisen awakens- as Mikoto’s Zombie. Freyr informs him that Yakuto was the one that put him back together so Mikoto could do this. Thus warming them all up to him. But no he’s involved in Yakuto’s plan for the Long Haul. Everyone still tries to bow out, but Mikoto knows that Yakuto has Ulterior motives for trying to kill God. And to reach that goal, they need an “Obedient Teacher” to make sure they coast through school without a problem. ThusMaxwell’s Zombie. Dead Rock Chapter 2 END!! I don’t know how many people would take advantage of Article 3? It’s not like you have to- it just means you won’t get in trouble for it. I’d probably never go THAT far, but there’s a teacher or 2 I had that I’d really like to punch in the face once or twice. I’m sure we ALL do…………

REVIEW

Yakuto has been a stand out character since the end of last chapter. It’s only been 2, and thus far his “kinder” moments are in line with the other 3 of Mashima’s main characters, with that ending being the moment that set him apart from them. That and what he did to Gyugo. This chapter only furthers the differences in showing us that he’s not above a little manipulation. In my heart-of-hearts, I don’t think he has any “mal-intent” behind what he’s doing; I think that he’s being genuine when he says that he needs the help of strong allies to take down a False Ruler. But I also don’t think he’s telling them the whole truth- at least in regards to “speculations.” He knows something for sure. But he’s got no real evidence- at least not evidence he can just show to anyone- and just has to make up some sh!t that SOUNDS plausible. Whether he did a good job of that or not is up to whether you want to take him at face value, but the fact of the matter is that he’s hiding something from them. And that will likely create trust issues.

Like I said: He’s not above a little manipulation- saving Reisen just so that he would “owe him one.” And clearly, Mikoto is a bit in line with Yakuto’s thinking…………… somewhat. She’s probably not just gonna let Yakuto give her orders all the time, but……… I think she knows “who’s in charge” if you know what I mean. Reisens life is now in Yakuto’s hands– ready to be made into a regular ol’ stitched-up corpse at a moments notice. And that’s if Yakuto doesn’t just incinerate him with the fire breath he so definitely has. And he knows that. But he has his own story at play- a mission he can’t fail at no matter whatAnd I think Yakuto knows that, even if he doesn’t know what that goal is exactly. So they’re going to have to help each other out on this. And I do think that Yakuto is the type to help his allies attain their own goals. He knows what he’s asking of them; the task he’s setting out to accomplish is a Seemingly Impossible Goal– one he KNOWS that he will NEVER reach even if he had Armies backing him. 

Trying to Kill God is a goal that seems unobtainable even if he had the entire Demon Realm backing him, right? So whoever he’s trying to Entrap in his plan is going to be compensated Handsomely for their hard work. Because despite the fact that there’s blood on his hands already– probably more than you would expect from someone who’s supposed to be the Main Character we’re chanting to win- Yakuto is a Good Person. Despite being a Demon. 

This is Hiro Mashima we’re talking about; just because he’s “experimenting” with a new type of series- doesn’t mean his little “isms” are going to fade away completely. Yakuto may be the first of Mashima’s main’s to be in on the whole story, but he might also be the first that doesn’t realize how strong Friendship is. It’s why he’s trying to drag them into this plan, rather than telling them the truth and letting them decide on their own. Haru, Natsu, and Shiki understand that they’re friends have their own autonomy– Yakuto doesn’t. But he will LEARN that when THEY learn The Full Story. Based on the way he’s was talking at the start of the chapter- the wording and how he’s dancing around telling them everything he knows- I get the feeling that he knows what’s going on– because he’s part of it. 

Yakuto Might Be The Proper Heir Of The Demon Realm.

We’re told in the first chapter that “Dragon Roots” have gone extinct, and Yakuto is likely the only Dragon left. Perhaps the Dragons were the proper rulers of the Demon Realm, and usurping them lead to their extinction- so that no other Dragon would try and seek revenge on God and usurp his thrown. But one did, and passed their mission on to Yakuto. He might not have cared at first; “it had nothing to do with him” or something like that. But that family was killed by God- either directly or by the system he’s implemented. And it became personal. As for whether or not he’d actually take the reigns or discard the Monarchy altogether- toss up. He seems a little smarter and more mature than the other 3 so far; he may well know what to do once he’s taken back the throne. Of course he could also be planning to take the throne back so he can Take Revenge on the Demon Realm that hunted his kind to extinction. But that might be going a little “too dark/edgy” for Mashima. Let’s keep this under control.

Man, I just like Yakuto as a main character so far; I don’t if it’s the fact that the nature of this series allows him to not “cop out” and go through with stuff like this, or if I just like this type of Protagonist- one who’s in on the story and is taking the “active” approach in writing it himself. And then there’s the Dragon “Builds” he makes on some Generator Rex sh!t; it’s like a further evolution of “Dragon Force” from Fairy Tail or Overdrive in Edens Zero. And he says that there won’t be a “Main Heroine” this time around, and neither Mikoto nor Freyr have been given anymore spotlight than the other- but I like Mikoto’s character more than Freyr. Don’t get me wrong: Love the Battle Fiends- Luck Voltia; Kenpachi Zaraki; Vanica Zogratis; all of them have some “Charm” to em. And Freyr’s not exception to that. Plus she’s a Fire user, so we’re gonna get some cool imagery from her when it comes time for her to show off her inner “Dommy Mommy” on some Unohana type sh!t from Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War. Plus I’mma Pervert and it looks like she’s gonna be the “Fan Service” character for this series, based on the shots she got in chapter 1. Her clothes might not be fire proof, or maybe they “restrict her combat ability.” Either way, really.

But then you have Mikoto– a really “Beauty” type; the type you’d probably see sitting on a Throne and judging everyone with this “Intense-Yet-Calming” look in her eyes. Probably more mature than what her age would suggest(they’re Demons, so they’re likely aging slower than Humans), but with some “childish tendencies-” be it in the way she controls her puppets or what she does behind close doors. Downright seductive when she’s talking to you. But makes sure that you know that she can kill you at a moments notice. Something like what Acnoella told Ziggy during Kaede War, with the “Gentle Nature” of Witch. Equally as deadly, too. Like I said: She may be willing to help Yakuto in his goal- but he will not control her. But she also probably gets the feel that Yakuto is stronger than her, and her threats to him would be merely a bluf- which they would both know. Honestly speaking: Yakuto will only be the “Leader” of Class F by virtue of his strength. Dead Rock Academy is located in the 666th layer of the Underworld. And we know the deeper you go in the Underworld- the stronger the Demon’s you encounter. 

We don’t know what layer Yakuto is from, or how deep the Demon Realm goes. But I think Yakuto might wash everyone here even fi they jumped him. And now that they’ve seen him take out a Teacher and the Head Chef- an opponent Reisen couldn’t defeat- they might know that now. He clearly NEEDS them for this mission, so they know he won’t kill them out of nowhere. But even that is not a guarantee to them. If they prove useless, then them knowing what Yakuto’s plan is might prove more of a hinderance to him than anything. And nothing is going to stop him from executing this plan. So……… if they can’t “Cut the mustard,” then……….. Yeah. “I don’t like you interfering with my goal” or some other rationel. 

Another thing that this series has going for it is the fact that it’s focusing on Bad Guys. I talked about it in my Boruto Chapter 80 review about how focusing on the Villains presents an inherent “Freedom” to how a story is written. A “traditional” protagonist is the…….. “Good Guy-” they can’t be written in any way that would make them inherently “unlikable” or in anyway that makes you root against them; we’re going to be focusing on them for about 90% of the story; having them on screen and having a role in ever other character’s story means they can’t be written in any fashion that makes us not want them on screen at any given moment. Or else no one would pick up the series. One way around this is writing character’s like Saitama- someone who’s “bland” and void of enough character that they can fit anywhere the narrative needs them to be- characters that can spell out the lesson you’re supposed to take from any given storyline so the audience can understand. But then you have the “Moral Jesus” types like Izuku, Johnathan Joestar, Tanjiro, Yuji, and even Asta to some extent; character’s who- no matter the situation- will NEVER break from the path of “Righteousness” and never be put in a situation where they have to make a “Morally Ambiguous” choice that changes their character; “There’s Always Another Way.” 

“Villains” Don’t Give A F*ck.

There’s no “specific” way to write a villainous character; they can be “Tragic,” “Anti-Heroic,” Anti-Villainous,” “Pure Evil,” “Chaotic Neutral,” “Childish-” They have more range because we don’t have to “root” for them. We’re not hoping they achieve their goals like we do the Heroes, so they don’t have to take on any one specific trait. They’re The Freest, Most Diverse Characters of any story being told. They’re not gonna act like they’re in the “Right” for what they’re doing just because they want fans; they’re actual people who have a goal they’re trying to accomplish. And at the end of the day: Anyone working that hard towards a goal- putting themselves on the “outside” of whatever world they’re apart of just because they have their own Ambition- Can you actually hate someone like that? It’s no different then someone trying to get into College just to prove to everyone who said they Couldn’t “CAN.” 

Yakuto and the rest of Class F don’t need to “behave” in any specific way; they don’t have to save or spare everyone who gives them some kind of sob story. And they don’t have to ignore every starving child that crosses their path or kill everyone who stands against them. They don’t have to be anything. It’s likely going to be clearer the deeper we get into the story that God is Worse than them; Chako outright tells us in this chapter that God is “The Evilest Man In All The Realms.” THIS IS THE “BAD GUY;” they’re just “Guys” who aren’t quite as bad trying to take him down for a personal reason. They’re………. The Straw Hat Pirates. But they’re in a setting that can actually hinder them from doing any ol’ thing- much like Class 1A. 

This chapter establishes that- even in an Academy where you can kill whoever looks at you the wrong way- There are still Rules that need to be abided by. Less you be kicked out or killed in detention. And at the end of the day: Anyone who goes to this Academy is here because they have a a Goal in mind- one they’re willing to risk their lives for just to be here. Particularly Class F, as we see with Reisen and Yakuto. And those rules exist to force a Highly competitive environment unto the kids that attend. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few Eggs;” everyone is out for themselves. So if Yakuto’s goal starts interfering with everyone elses- they’re out. What happens after that– toss up. Yakuto may not go around murdering as he sees fit, but he’s also not gonna let an Active Problem like someone outside his team knowing his plan go out to speak freely. Toss up.

Conclusion

There’s so much more that I want to talk about– like the Mink Girl introduced here and how she might have “Kitsune” roots or something. But clearly we’d be here all day. I just……………. I’m LOVING THIS so far, man!! Notice how most of what I talked about pertained to Yakuto and how he’s acting- he’s so different from the Main Character’s that I’ve been seeing, and so different from the other 3 Mashima Main Heroes that………… It’s downright Refreshing. My brother and I…………. never agree on subjects like this; whether or not a main character should be allowed to kill. Yakuto is that happy medium we never find; the type that’ll kill whoever he has to without going overboard. And the potential for a story like that- one where the Main Cast is a bunch of Bad Guys– a group free to do what they want- It reminds me of what I love about “One Piece.” Heroes Act in the Best Interest Of The Greater Good- Luffy and Yakuto Do What They Want, and they’re only your enemy if you’re against that. Shiki seemed like a similar case on Sun Jewel, but…………. He was never put in the same situation again, nor were the consequences felt at any point. It went nowehre. 

I just…………. This series is GOOD. I’m willing to admit that- although I like Edens Zero more- Rave Master is Mashima’s most “Consistent” series. And he went into that one Fully Planned. This is going to be a “Shorter” series, so- Planned. Mashima keeps THIS up- I might have a New Favorite series from him. This is just………. Phenomenal after only 2 chapters, man. Can’t wait for the next chapter– can’t wait for the English release of the Volume! Boy, I hope this series sells like mad when the volume comes out. Hopefully more people get into the series with time. ‘Cause this series deserves……….. a DEMON SLAYER level anime. Please Oh God Up In Heaven let this be a success. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. Later…..

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