Story: Yuu Miyazaki
Translation: Melissa Tanaka
What They Say
Ayato and Kirin return to the Amagiri household to face his father. There, Ayato requests that Magnum Opus Hilda awaken his sister Haruka…and at last, after her long slumber, she awakens. Following their emotional reunion, Haruka begins to tell her brother in her own words exactly what had happened to her in the past. Meanwhile, Haruka’s revival slowly stirs the Golden Bough Alliance to action…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
So this is a volume with a lot going on in it… which is honestly rather unfortunate as it all gets crammed into the course of just over 150 pages. But to dig right into it, our first big focus for the book is on Haruka’s awakening. It’s kind of nice to see her finally get brought back as a character in the present and all after all this time (though the emotional impact is fairly meh and feels sidelined for halfhearted “comedy” teasing of Ayato’s relationship status)… but to cut to the chase, it sort of feels awkward now that she’s here. And that’s mainly because, well… In the past, she can be cool and mysterious and strong. But in the present, you have the issue of not letting her overshadow Ayato and so she has to be significantly weakened. It just kind of makes the character feel like someone without a real role or place in things, though I suppose there’s at least an attempt to slot her in as a mentor for Ayato, which we at least see a little of later on in the book.
The truly frustrating bit, though, is that we actually get an extended flashback to the past shared between Madiath Mesa and Ayato’s mom in her former life as Akari Yachigusa. And honestly, it’s an interesting topic to touch upon… but it’s just not given enough to breathe at all. It really feels like it should have been an entire volume dedicated to their story in the past, but instead it’s like we’ve just been given the introduction to such a tale. Perhaps it will be revisited more and fleshed out in the future and revisited, but for now, it sure feels awful underbaked here.
And then, the majority of the rest of the volume goes to setting up the Lindvolus and the various characters who will be participating. It honestly feels a bit overboard how we go into everyone one after another here, but I will say the stage is at least solidly set this time around, with a variety of personal stakes and interests set to clash. If nothing else, it feels like the least sloppy setting up of one of these tournaments, so hopefully it will play out well, even if what we get here isn’t particularly exciting in and of itself. The one key element that needs discussing, though, is that Ayato unsurprisingly gets forced into the tournament too, despite saying he’d stand down for Julis. The real issue, though, is HOW that conclusion is reached… And it’s by making Haruka a damsel in distress. Again. Immediately after she was saved from that role. It’s just depressing seeing a character that’s supposed to be cool and exciting from what we’ve been told meet with such a lame, crappily done fate.
So, this is a volume with two main issues hindering its contents significantly. First and foremost, this is another book in the series trying to do way too much within its limited span of 150 or so pages. Either these volumes need to start cramming less plot points in, or the books need to become longer. Because as is, the plots covered here are positively suffocating from lack of room to breath, and it really hinders anything decent the series may have going for it. And the other is, quite frankly, the handling of Haruka here after all the hype for the character is rather poor and extremely frustrating. Perhaps that will improve in the future, but for now, it feels like her treatment was thoroughly fumbled. And so, that all adds up to yet another disappointment added to the long list granted to us by the series.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: N/A
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B-
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 21st, 2020