Story/Art: Carlo Zen/Chika Tojo
Translation/Adaptation: Richard Tobin
What They Say
The 203rd Battlion’s manned V-1 rocket assault, a mission that will determine the fate of the Empire, has thrown the Francois Republic’s headquarters into chaos. Yet is even this unprecedented, unforeseeable strike only meant to open the curtain on Zettour’s devilishly brilliant strategy?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Volume 17 is all over the place–literally. In the thick of battle, amid quibbling politicians, and out at sea aboard a submarine. However, everything works, and Tojo-sensei’s artwork, in addition to brilliantly communicating the complex plot, is top-notch, whether conveying the grandeur of the Commonwealth Parliament or the silliness of a more comic moment.
It begins with a very brief recap of the events of Operation Open Sesame thus far. Even though the mangaka could have done a standard summary, she goes the extra mile of framing it as a documentary created by the Commonwealth decades in the future. In addition to refreshing readers on the current state of events, the documentary’s “reenactment” is so off-target it’s hilarious.
Then it’s back to Tanya’s decapitation assignment. The anime spent barely any time on the Republican HQ attack, and the details in the light novel were fairly sparse. Thus, I was surprised that Tojo-sensei dedicated as many pages as she did on the surprise strike and especially the elimination of the Commonwealth’s spy nest. Her fleshed-out version of events are an absolute delight, especially the conclusion to Chapter 48.
Chapter 49 then shifts to the Commonwealth Parliament. Compared to the action and intrigue of Chapter 48, quibbling between politicians is much drier stuff. However, aside from a couple confusing exchanges, the chapter does a good job conveying the Commonwealth’s military capabilities and their view of the Empire, which will be necessary background information once they get dragged into the war.
Balancing out the high-level discussions of peace talks, foreign debt, and the implications of sending Commonwealth soldiers to foreign soil are scenes of the 203rd in the submarine sent to pick them up. Tanya’s is a coed unit, so Tojo-sensei uses the cramped quarters as fodder for comic relief. While Visha’s shirt conveniently becoming unbuttoned is a bit of a stretch, I’m glad the portrayal of her body odor is realistic.
Extras include a world map, battle log thus far, character introductions (in ridiculously small font), profile for the 203rd Battalion, country profiles, and glossaries for each chapter. While the glossary pages are inserted between the correct chapters, they’re labeled with the wrong chapter numbers.
To fans of the anime and light novels who wonder if the manga is worth looking at, I say Volume 17 definitely is. Tojo-sensei does an excellent job expanding on the original work’s strike on the Republican Army’s HQ. In addition to heralding the end of the Republic, this installment deftly lays the groundwork for the entry of the Commonwealth into the war. Political discussions aren’t as gripping as enemy spies on the run, but Tojo-sensei balances out those debates with comedy on the 203rd‘s submarine ride home.
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 23rd, 2022