Story/Art: Shiwo Komeyama
Translation: Mari Morimoto
What They Say
Alliances have shifted and settled once more, with new lines drawn between the three factions vying for godhood. Arcana’s intention to join the race independently and win divine power for demonkind could cause a huge shift in the order of things if they are able to gain control of the remaining Crusade relics, since they’ve already made copies of Tsuzuki’s and Satsuki’s divine relics. Now that Tsuzuki is allied with Kamuhaburi, the overseers of the Crusades, his first order of business is to help them thwart the false contenders–and secure his own path to victory!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The volume kicks off pretty slow, with plenty of elaborating, goofing around, and catching things up in general. The first chapter isn’t a complete waste, though, as it turns out that Tsukimiya’s programming isn’t entirely gone. Next up comes a surprisingly amusing chapter in which Hinata decides to just kidnap Makino to get some information out of him. It’s got a nice mix of humor and the plotting that the series prides itself on, and honestly feels like a bit of fresh air that’s fairly well done.
Next up we get a flashback to Tsuzuki’s past, with a focus on when he first met Hanamura. It’s funny in that it’s only so-so for the most part, but it’s actually interesting due to the things it doesn’t place its focus on, such as a younger Tsuzuki and Satsuki living together as friendly brothers. This theme continues on with a fairly unexciting chapter on Momose and Satsuki’s past, which has a bit of interesting background to it as it allows a glimpse into the fallen angel’s descent into madness. Finally, we wrap up these flashbacks with a look at Satsuki’s fall and the selection of the brothers as candidates, which is fairly interesting but nothing mindblowing.
As the volume wraps up, we get a look at a past crusade, and in a twist that feels incredibly out of nowhere, it turns out that Hinata is actually the secret reincarnation of one of the candidates, with the hidden goal of destroying the system for selecting god. There’s some solid and interesting character development and ideas here, but it also feels just a tad rough and forced for something like this to suddenly appear so late in the game. To be honest, it feels much more like a plot that was decided on and forced to fit the character fairly far into the series, rather than the clever reveal of something that had been planned all along. Oh, and it turns out that Tsukimiya is the reincarnation of the girl he cared about in his past life, but nobody but the reader gets to know that and she doesn’t have any memories of then, so it feels especially pointless and something solely there for an inevitable “twist” reveal to yank at Hinata’s emotions and force tragedy down the line.
This volume is a very odd and mixed bag of an entry into the series. For the one clear positive, there’s a rather amusing chapter early on that’s quite well executed and a pleasure to read, so that’s nice. After that, though, we get a cavalcade of flashbacks of varying quality. For the most part they feel a little flat, as they’re decent but nothing particularly engaging. They do have some somewhat interesting threads running in the background throughout, though, so they certainly aren’t a total wash. And then finally, the book ends on one hell of a cliffhanger twist. To some degree this is intriguing as it adds some pretty crazy wrinkles to the series and the characters. On the other hand, though, it feels VERY rough and shoehorned in, rather than something that was actually carefully planned out. Ultimately it’s the future volumes that will show if this twist will be for better or worse, so hopefully it’ll be played well as the series continues on. For now, though, this volume is at least serviceable, but it certainly isn’t anything that I’d call exceptional.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 22nd, 2016