Story: Gakuto Mikumo
Translation: Jeremiah Bourque
What They Say
Nagisa has collapsed! Kojou rushes to the hospital, but suddenly a mysterious girl appears, and she looks just like Avrora, the former Fourth Primogenitor. She backs Kojou into a corner–but is she the real Avrora? Through this encounter, Kojou regains his lost memories, what will he remember? Finally, Kojou’s past and the secrets of the Fourth Primogenitor are revealed!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume is split up into three separate stories this time around, tied loosely together with the theme of the former Fourth Primogenitor, Avrora. The first one up is set the farthest back, several years in fact, and is the only one that really feels like it’s worth anything at all. It involves the two siblings being invited by their father Gajou to his dig site. Eventually, though, this evolves into a terrorist attack that the family gets wrapped up in, and a first encounter with Avrora, albeit one that isn’t terribly deep, as she’s essentially in a Sleeping Beauty type situation. Still, it provides some nice tension, a fairly intimidating foe to be faced, and most importantly a lot of background for Kojou’s family. It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent bit of story that would be a good introduction to the volume… if the rest of the book actually went anywhere.
The biggest issue is what comes next, the story that’s set in the present. There’s some other stuff, mind you, like Vattler’s underlings getting some more play as part of the extended cast, of course, which is just kind of bland. But the whole idea of the chapter is making it seem like Avrora has somehow come back. It’s just a constant stream of people being all “but you CAN’T be her!” and then her proving that she DOES possess massive strength. And then… it’s just revealed that oh, it’s really the Third Primogenitor, Giada, using an ability to disguise herself. It’s just so poorly played that it’s pretty much a long “haha, gotcha, made you think something that wasn’t actually true obviously!” done in a way that it has absolutely no substance. Like, you don’t really get anything of what Giada’s like as a character from this, even. It’s just useless junk writing. I mean, I guess there’s some teasing as to whatever will come up in the future, but as it stands, it’s a pretty dire chapter.
And then finally, we end off with a chapter about Yaze and Kojou around when they met. But like, Kojou’s hardly in it, so we don’t even really flesh out their relationship. I guess we do get a bit more of Yaze’s backstory, but mostly this chapter is once again more empty teasing of things that will matter later. Oh, and a bit of a reveal about what the Fourth Primogenitor is, at least, so that’s something, I suppose.
While this volume has a reasonable enough mission statement, revealing information about the past by tying together several stories, the execution is rather heavily lacking. The first story at least starts us off okay, and feels like we do learn a bit about the characters involved in a framework that makes it feel like something’s actually going on. It would be a solid, though not amazing, start to this sort of story… but then what follows really drops the ball. The middle story is, frankly put, terribly done. The pacing is bad, and the whole thrust of the plot is just plain shallow. And it ends as soon as it begins, feeling like a halfbaked event at that. And then the final story isn’t much better, feeling more like a teasing of future events than an actual reveal of much of the past it’s supposed to be diving into. And maybe that’s the biggest issue here: for a book all about revealing the past, it does an exceptionally poor job of that. In fact, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that you probably just come out feeling like you know even less about Kojou’s past and who the former Fourth Primogenitor is going out of the volume than you did going in! It’s just a real shame, as something worthwhile surely could have been done with the basic concept… but what we got certainly isn’t that.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: N/A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 19th, 2017