By Ichiro Sakaki and Yuugen. Released in Japan by Kodansha Light Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Kevin Steinbach.
Last time, I said that I was tired of ending each volume of Outbreak Company wondering when it would come to an end. I guess they heard me, because this is definitely the start of the endgame. For one thing, leaving aside his horny dream fantasies (which seem to be written to give the artist an excuse to draw the girls naked in an otherwise relatively serious story), Shinichi seems to be taking a bit more seriously the fact that he has three different girls in love with him. Unsurprisingly, most of his thoughts on this involve Myusel, the obvious front runner. If they do become a couple, can they go back to Japan? She is half-elf and not a citizen, after all, and while the Japanese government is happy to help Shinichi while he works for them, he suspects that this help would dry up if not turn against him. That said, given they overheat merely holding hands at the moment, baby making is still something only in dreams for now.
The main plot involves Elvia’s kingdom of Bahairam suddenly turning into a disaster area, with constant earthquakes and buildings turning into pillars of fire. The reason seems to be whatever is in the “Dragon’s Den”, a secret facility, but those who know of it aren’t talking. Even worse, Myusel’s mother is delivering supplies to the Kingdom and ends up getting trapped in the devastation. She asks Clara and Amatena to immediately go and get Shinichi, who is the one person who might be able to fix this. How? We’re not sure, and neither is he. But now the rest of the cast (sans Petralka, who is unable to get away from the basic need to rule her kingdom) head out to find out what the heck is causing this and if there is any way of stopping it. And things get even more confusing when they meet an android replica of Theresa Bigelow, a North American army officer.
There have been hints of the big reveal planted throughout the series, and they’re especially blatant here, as the first chapter opens with Shinichi showing his class a copyright-altered Planet of the Apes to demonstrate to them the idea of those “kinds of endings”. It does make things a lot more interesting, and is handled very well. There’s also some cool action scenes, though again the author’s habit of throwing in constant nudity whenever he can is a bit irritating, especially when our heroes are being surrounded by “the nekkids”, as Minori calls them. Speakoing of which, this volume changes viewpoints quite a bit, and it’s nice to hear from people other than Shinichi’s POV, though I admit it’s not always that easy to see who’s narrating at first. And, fantasizing aside, Shinichi and Myusel are very cute here. Again, I still think if this ends with a choice at all it will be Myusel.
So a very good book in general, and should lead nicely to the next one to end the arc. The series ends with 18, though there’s a short story volume after that that I’m unsure will be licensed. If you’ve been reading this series all along, there’s no reason to stop now. Also,l I’m fairly certain you cannot gain a handle on military strategy just by reading Legend of Galactic Heroes, Petralka.