The world is hurtling towards Armageddon, and the forces of heaven and earth are gathering--in Tokyo, of course--for a final battle that will determine whether humankind will survive. Will people be saved, according to the will of the Dragons of Heaven? Or will they be destroyed so that the planet can heal itself, according to the will of the Dragons of Earth? At the eye of the storm stands Kamui Shiro, a young man whose destiny it is to tilt the balance and determine the fate of the planet. Little does he know that, in spite of his attempts to protect them, his two childhood friends, Fuma and Kotori, will play a crucial role in this extremely violent drama. This volume takes place late in the story, so there is little expository material save a ""story thus far"" sidebar and brief description of major characters at the book's opening. Unfortunately, the onslaught of gory action, dream and hallucination sequences, and similar-looking characters make what introductory material there is almost useless. Still, one thing's certain: This is no lighthearted manga. The first image to greet readers is an exploding body--Kamui's aunt Tokiko has given her life to give birth to a sacred sword, helping him to fulfill his destiny. When Kotori walks in on the scene, the sight of the dead woman's head sends her into a trance. Kotori cradles the head in her arms and drifts into a netherworld where an ethereal young man tells her she is acquiring the power of prophetic dream. When she emerges, she reveals that Kamui's ""twin star"" will awaken soon. All-female manga team CLAMP spins this tiny bit of plot out into long, ponderous, excruciatingly detailed scenes, averaging four short lines of dialogue for every two-page spread. Newcomers to the series might enjoy the poetic, disturbing melodrama and dense, dark art. But with little to navigate by, the best the rest of us can do is start following Kamui's adventures from Volume 1.