REVIEW: Lockdown Zone Level X – Chapter 13 (2022)

A manga by Oishi Romy and Meshe

It’s been a while since I was able to read a chapter of Lockdown Zone Level X, but the good news is that a couple chapters just dropped on Amazon Kindle! We’re going to be looking at them this weekend, so buckle yourselves in. Sadly, just like with chapter four, chapter fourteen is nowhere to be found on Amazon for some inexplicable reason. I had to resort to using Kobo to read it, which is not ideal, but the storefront and ease of use are basically the same as the Kindle Store. When we last left the story, Ryuhei and Ryoka had been dealing with X aka “Sai” attacks for a while now on their own, but there was an inkling that they were, perhaps, not alone in this “game” they seem to find themselves inside. Enter Nao and Akira. Nao and Akira are two former classmates that are also stuck in the very same demented apartment complex, also dealing with The Town Musicians of Bremen. If you recall, this version of ‘X” consists of a gigantic cat, dog, and rooster based on a fairy tale of the same name. It appears that the dog may have been put down, leaving the cat and chicken, and boy does the chicken have a taste for blood! Going into this volume we are left to wonder if these new characters are trustworthy or if they have an ulterior motive to seek assistance with our main characters.

“For the longest time Shuhei and Ryoka have been pretty much alone in their now abandoned apartment building. But after countless attempts to escape, they not only run into a new version of Sai but two familiar faces!”

Apparently the four characters were previously pretty tight friends in middle school, so much so that one can assume Nao may have a crush on Shuhei and Akira may have one on Ryoka. We see a flashback at one point where we find out Akira has a history of being somewhat of a jerk to his friends, once nearly getting into a full-blown fight with Shuhei over his treatment of Nao. He managed to make her cry by saying that “she’s dull”, to which Shuhei takes huge exception. Pretty soon it’s up to Ryoka to put both boys in their places and keep the peace. Since we can assume the four drifted apart at some point, considering Ryoka and Shuhei seemed like they had reunited after a long absence at the beginning, it will be interesting to see if and how they address the past. Shuhei remarks that Nao has changed a lot, going from a submissive quiet girl with thick glasses to an attractive young woman. I personally hope these four can get along, and perhaps even build their party. If everything devolves into a love rectangle with angsty whining I will be somewhat disappointed.

Overall, this chapter does not have a lot on the action side of things, but definitely makes up for that in terms of story development. Readers get to meet new characters, and think about what may be going on in the world. There is a lot of speculation that the cellphone app that allows everyone to purchase weapons seems to give giving them hints, specifically in regards to how to defeat “The Musicians”, so it will be intriguing to find out if the person giving said hints is on their side or an “agent of chaos”. The only thing the four really have to go on is a vague message they received of “Cat likes Dog, Dog likes Chicken, and Chicken likes Cat”, whether this somehow holds to key to success is yet to be seen.

So far, a lot of the previous chapters of Lockdown Zone Level X have been slow burns. Aside from overt action scenes, this is perhaps the first chapter to be fairly well-rounded in terms of character development and moving the story forward. We don’t yet see any repeats or wasted time having to re-explain the situation to characters that have forgotten, so we shall see if this trend continues. I really hope this story begins to take a page out of the Gantz playbook and create a super-team to take on the various “X” attacks, because the claustrophobic horror stuff was interesting at first, but I can’t wait to see crazy action scenes. Another solid chapter from Oishi Romy and Meshe in what is easily one of the most underrated comics I’ve read all year.

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