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Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online Vol. #03 Light Novel Review

4 min read
This volume is packed with action, and it’s incredibly well handled.

The second Squad Jam heads towards an explosive finale!

Creative Staff
Story: Keiichi Sigsawa
Illustration: Kouhaku Kuroboshi
Translation: Stephen Paul

What They Say
“The real-world death of Pitohui.”
This was the sole motivator that pushed Llenn into entering the second Squad Jam. Accompanied by her best friend and ALO transplant, Fukaziroh, the two overcome wave after wave of enemy for the sake of achieving Llenn’s ultimate goal. “In order to save Pitohui’s life, I’ll kill her myself!” This is no easy feat, however. Pitohui has the strength of a demon with the mentality to match. On top of that, Llenn isn’t the only one hunting her! Will Llenn reach Pitohui in time? Or will one of the 79,408 bullets fired in the second Squad Jam beat P-Chan to the punch?!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Last time around we got a whole lot of setup, but with this volume, it’s all about the second Squad Jam itself! The first real challenge that Llenn and Fukaziroh run into this time comes about when they head into a large dome full of jungle-like terrain. The environment is the least of their worries, though, as the other teams in there all secretly team up to take out our pint-sized heroines! And I have to say, the onslaught that results is pretty darn great. But when Llenn comes out of it with severely exhausted resources, just how will she overcome that issue in the midst of this battle royale?

With that all out of the way, though, the time comes for the showdown with Pitohui’s team. However, to kick that all off we get a team up with SHINC, and man is their assault plan ever great. It just builds up wonderfully in a way that makes you wonder the whole time just what they’re planning, and when it kicks into full gear it makes for a truly fantastic action sequence. It would have been oh so easy for the book to have used these characters as nothing but disposable pawns to hype up how powerful Pitohui and her allies are, and yet instead they’re used just wonderfully here, and I really appreciate it. And fortunately, the action stays ramped up from then on out, and scenes such as the indoors shootout between PM4 and MMTM are all great.

Naturally, though, things ultimately come down to Pitohui and Llenn. I won’t spoil exactly how it plays out, but I will say it’s well done and keeps the tension seriously ramped up from start to finish. The one thing I do want to discuss a bit, though, is the wrap-up in the aftermath. To put it bluntly, all the pieces are more or less there: We already knew Pitohui’s basic background, and now we get M’s. There’s the in person meet-up and the big reveal of the real Pitohui and everything, too. But honestly… all the focus is so much on that, but the emotion is just barely there. Frankly, the scene feels even more interested in gags than the emotional payoff, and the whole “You essentially threatened to kill yourself!” matter is more or less glossed over, which just feels wrong. Maybe the author just decided it didn’t fit the best here and it will be touched on better in the future, but at least for now, I feel like it’s the one thing that sort of sours an otherwise great finale.

In Summary
So, from beginning to end, this volume is packed with action, and it’s incredibly well handled. Whether it’s the clashes with random teams or the big climactic showdown, everything seems to be written with care and makes for an enjoyable read. Even some of the less focal characters get some really cool scenes here, despite the fact that they could’ve easily been cast aside to focus in on Llenn. The only complaint I have is that the wrap-up feels like it drops the ball in one specific way, and that’s a shame. Still, it’s fortunately far from enough to drag down this otherwise excellent volume, so be sure to give it a read.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: N/A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: February 19th, 2019
MSRP: $14.00

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