Story/Art: Shiwo Komeyama
Translation: Mari Morimoto
What They Say
Nao can’t hold out much longer against the fatal effects of his mixed-race curse. He needs divine power, but the only offer on the table is from Satsuki, who left Nao to die in the dust the last time they met. Nao is torn between his distrust of Satsuki, his desperation for survival, and his loyalty to Tsuzuki. When the next Crusade begins, which side will Nao really be fighting for?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As Nao dreads over his new chance at betraying his patron again, the planning for the next Crusade begins. And for once, it actually seems like the situation favors our heroes, as they’re able to set up an anti-fallen angel barrier in advance! We then take a glance at Kamuhaburi, where we’re introduced to Rido (and his doll Marianne), the sufficiently creepy fellow responsible for Tsukimiya’s brainwashing. The real shock, though, comes when we learn that Satsuki has already stolen the relics and effectively broken the Crusades. Which makes it weird that Kamuhaburi is still teaming with him since they’re supposed to be “overseeing the Crusades” and that seems like as bad of an offense as you could cause, but whatever.
Regardless, the “Crusade” starts, leaving our heroes in a nasty trap. And of course, Nao gets hit by his curse bad enough that he’ll die without Satsuki’s help, so he sucks it up and presses the button after some egging on from Momose. And in an entirely unsurprising turn of events, this causes the situation to degrade even further. Even so, our heroes get away, though not without noticeable hardships and damage to Tsuzuki. Following on, Kanade continues to prove herself a creepy, Rido shows more and more how messed up he is, and Nao is pushed further down the path of a double agent.
And to be honest, the following events actually caught me off guard in a very good way. You really are lead to believe that Nao is falling back into a crappy path, and though it’s understandable it’s still frustrating to see. He even goes so far as to take down his allies, but in the end it turns out to be one big gamble to get close to Satsuki, which is played very well and is great payoff for what came before. Can it possibly work out, or will the enemy boss simply prove too tough?
Though this volume is a bit of a drag in a lot of ways throughout, by the end it actually ends up being pretty enjoyable. For the most part the story centered being around Nao for the large part of the book really does feel like a been there done that retread, with more and more betrayal for the same old reasons. However, it ultimately does do a lot for his character and ends up more interesting that it first appears, making for a pleasant surprise. We also do finally get a little bit out of the whole brainwashing plot, which is nice to see as it was just sort of there so far. Which isn’t to say that it does anything interesting to Tsukimiya’s character, as it still pretty much eradicates her and effectively removes her from the story in any meaningful way, but instead that it’s fairly interesting to see just how messed up Rido is in his involvement with the whole thing. Add to this some nice moments surrounding Satsuki, who’s just sort of been hanging about for a while, and you get a decent enough volume for keeping fans occupied.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015