Original Story: Gakuto Mikumo
Character Design: Manyako
Translation/Adaptation: Jeremiah Bourque
What They Say:
Asagi, Yukina, and Nagisa have been captured by the Black Death Emperor faction. Kojou and Sayaka go after them, breaking into the island they suspect of being the terrorists’ base. But an ancient terror awaits them – the Nalakuvera. A new beast vassal stirs within the Fourth Primogenitor, but will Kojou’s power be enough to save his friends?
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Yukina has been taken hostage by the Black Death Emperor faction, along with Nagisa and Asagi. They will be freed if the Cyber Empress can hack the rest of the command codes for what they want: the Nalakuvera. This ancient weapon of the gods is all they need to reclaim the Warlord’s Empire, and they will go to any lengths to claim victory. Even if she won’t help them, Gardos still has the first key and it is more than enough to show his buyers what this machine can do – even if he can’t control it. Therefore, either release the rest of the codes so that the beast man can navigate the menace or allow it to rampage across the land, randomly destroying anything in its path … her choice. Even if the Sword Shaman could help, without her lance Snowdrift Wolf, she won’t stand much of a chance against these terrorists.
As things go from bad to worse inside Vattler’s ship the Oceanus Grave, Kojou and Sayaka still cannot find a way on board to help their friends. However even as they make it across, they soon find that the Nalakuvera has begun creating a path of destruction across the sub-float. As they explore the ruins, the dual find the ever pompous First Primogenitor standing above it all, announcing that he will be happy to pacify these criminals; but in a fit of anger, his rival proudly boasts that he will be the one to stop it and needs no one’s assistance. In response, Vattler summons his beast vassals which send a blast of energy, severing the anchor to the mainland. But as if in a defensive gesture, the mechanical creature turns and faces the vampiric intruders, shuttling along on its spider-like legs. Kojou knows that he has to stop this monstrosity, but with only one servant under his command, how can he even hope to slow it down?
With another menace being released upon Itogami Island, we get a new battle and more chances for Kojou prove himself as the new Fourth Primogenitor. However, this is the major problem I have with this series: whenever there is a disaster that Yukina can’t stop or save with her Snowdrift Wolf lance, mangaka Gakuto Mikumo uses the same secret weapon – allow Kojou to partake of another young girl and make a new spirit medium. This ultimate solution of releasing a different beast vassal seems to be Mikumo-sensei’s answer to everything, but at the same time he is also building up Kojou’s reputation as a womanizer. While latter may be an opportunity to open up on the comedy of the book, this need to expand on the harem by sucking their blood is of course essential to any good vampire story. But why do it every time there is a crisis? I know that by doing so Yukina is showing Kojou that she trusts him even more, but then it seems in the next scene he spoils it all by doing something perverted. Is it really worth all of the trouble? Why can’t they figure out a way to solve the crisis without leaving major craters all over the place?
The artwork is as amazing as ever within this pivotal story, but the overuse of force to solve problems is driving this series into a rut. I would like to see Kojou and Yukina use their brains to solve these problems, but of course within this genre that never seems to be the solution. At least this volume expands on why Sayaka hates men so much, but even with that little consolation – Strike the Blood is becoming just another mediocre vampire series. I hope they find a way out in the next volume.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: C+
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 20th, 2016