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Aoharu X Machinegun Vol. #16 Manga Review

3 min read
Unfortunately, though we’re approaching the climax of the story, this book ultimately stumbles a bit along the way.

A bit of a stumble for the series

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Naoe
Translation: Leighann Harvey

What They Say
With Midori and Matsuoka badly injured, both Star White and Toy Gun Gun have to compete in the semifinals without their leaders. Next team up that Toy Gun Gun will face off against is Agartha, the legendary “strongest team” Midori and Matsuzaka were once a part of. And team leader Shingen Gareki, with his unparalleled knowledge of survival games, is determined to stop Hotaru and the members of Toy Gun Gun in their tracks!!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
In this volume, it’s finally time for the semifinals! And thanks to injuries, both Star White and Toy Gun Gun are actually down their leaders! Naturally, that means we get two matches this time around, and so we’ll focus on Star White’s match first, as they get less of the attention this time around. Honestly there’s not a whole lot to say, as their opponents just plain aren’t fleshed out and are pretty much solely there as cannon fodder. I suppose we do at least get a little amusement from seeing how crazy Haruka is, and it also at least isn’t drawn out, so it’s fine.

Our heroes in Toy Gun Gun, however, are up against the legendary Agartha, the team that Midori and Matsuoka once belonged to! And honestly… I think the general structure the series uses works against it here. You see, as always we get a bit of backstory on the opponents… but the problem is that none of it changes that Shingen’s a huge dick. And so, when you get the tale of how his teammates were pathetic dudes who are desperately clinging to him, it’s more like, “this doesn’t seem like a healthy relationship” than anything else. Not all characters need softening (if this can even properly be called that), and quite frankly, I feel like this chunk of the plot would just plain feel a lot more fun if Shingen was just plain left as a pure villain to be overcome, rather than whatever it is we got here.

That said, the match itself isn’t half bad, and I do like the way it plays out ultimately. But will everything be able to come together again fully next time around as we head into the finals?

In Summary
Unfortunately, though we’re approaching the climax of the story, this book ultimately stumbles a bit along the way. The key issue is that as always we’re given some backstory… but it just doesn’t play well this time around. Though Shingen could have easily been a fun character here from what we’ve seen, what we’re given feels muddled and awkward, and frankly just doesn’t work. At the very least there is a bit of solid survival gaming to make up for it a bit, but nothing exceptional enough to drag this volume past just being okay in the end. Still, hopefully things will turn out better next time around as we head into the endgame.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 28th, 2020
MSRP: $12.99