It has been a long time coming, Reiichi's first steps into manhood that is. Ever since Arena first entered his life, timid 'go-with-the-flow' Reiichi has been doing things against his better judgment. Usually dangerous things, like staying on the Special Train and fighting people. Even though Reiichi has slowly been getting tougher, it has always been with Arena covering his back. Well not now. Arena finds herself in a jam when her grandfather offers a huge sum of money to anyone that brings her to him. This turns everyone on the Special Train against her. Every student onboard tries to physically restrain her in order to gather the reward money. Normally Arena could take these chumps in her sleep, but the situation quickly changes when Kong infiltrates the Special Train. It has been a long time, but the investigator Arena's grandfather hired has finally tracked her down. This time Arena is unarmed and Kong easily captures her. The gig is up, until Reiichi shows up and challenges Kong. The fight does not go that well for Reiichi, but at least he stood up for his friend. This is a great scene as Reiichi claims he will always protect Arena, and this somehow convinces her grandfather to let her continue her travels.
Reiichi isn't finished there. When Arena's sword is stolen in a small town, Reiichi, P'Ko, and Arena all split up to find it. As the time deadline for the Special Train's departure nears, it looks like all is lost. In another surprise, Reiichi shows up bloodied and carrying Arena's sword. He is really beat up after taking on a whole gang to retrieve the sword. Both these situations are so uncharacteristic of Reiichi that even the warrior Winzbeel alien comments on Reiichi's changes.
Overall, this volume certainly did not pack the emotional whammy volume four did. Then again, that is a tough thing to follow. However, seeing Reiichi's character growth and admittance of how much he cares for Arena was still quite enjoyable. Another interesting aspect repeated multiple times in this volume is Arena's apparent softening. More often, she finds herself requiring Reiichi's help. In the long run this will make her a better person more able to empathize with people, but for now, it is still difficult for her to accept her inability to do everything on her own.