By Mizuki Mizushiro and Namanie. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nicole Wilder.
The final volume of Psycome features something that previous volumes had been trying rather hard to avoid. For a series that starred a school full of teenage murderers, and innumerable theoretical murder attempts, there were very few actual murders among the cast members. That changes here, and while it’s not much of a spoiler to say that the main cast we’ve grown most familiar with are pretty safe, several of the antagonists we met in the athletic festival book meet a rather grisly end. It’s a good reminder of the basic premise of the series, something that Kyousuke and Ayaka need to accept: they are not here for the same reason as everyone else. They are not murderers. Nor is Eiri, our failed assassin, though she comes pretty close here. The rest of the students are, even Maina, whose murders may be accidental but they definitely exist. Kyousuke and Ayaka don’t belong here. And so we get the premise of this final volume, where they’re offered a battle in order to leave the school – get to the other end of the grounds while trying not to get killed.
We do finally meet Kyousuke and Ayaka’s parents in this volume. Honestly, they’re sort of exactly what I was expecting. I was more uncomfortable with the fact that they’re basically an older Kyousuke and Ayaka, only as husband and wife – Ayaka and Kyousuke’s brother/sister complexes have not been my favorite source of humor in this series, thank you very much. (Fortunately, by the end of the book, Ayaka at least seems to be moving on a bit.) Most of Kyousuke’s main “harem” is there to help him escape, even ones who seemingly are on the side of the school, like Shamaya, who is as foul-mouthed as ever. Maina’s big moment may seem a bit out of character, frankly, but it was nicely dramatic, though I wanted to see the fight itself. And then there’s Renko, who Kyousuke admits that he loves, and she loves him – but she wants to kill him, and he doesn’t love her enough that he’ll let her do this.
In the end, though, the winning girl is unsurprising, given Renko’s origins and basic personality. Eiri is a type, but it’s a good example of the type, and she’s grown up a bit in this series too – despite all of the yawning and tch-ing she does in this book, possibly a new record for her, she’s now able to admit her feelings, get her man, and also start a career as a supermodel almost without effort. Good for her. (I am less fond of the implied love between Kurumiya and Mohawk, which manages to combine about four different types of love affairs that make me uncomfortable. That said, it’s always been played for broad comedy, so even its “dramatic” ending made me laugh a bit.)
Sadly for fans who are always desperate for sex in their light novels, the book ends just before Kyousuke and Eiri consummate their love, though it’s implied. There’s also an implied observer of their covert love affair at the end, who the author admits might be Renko if readers want. Insert threesome fanfic here, I guess. There’s also a volume of short stories mentioned by the author that’s also coming out, though I suspect that may be in Japan only.
Psycome was always a surprise light novel license because it lacked other tie-ins – there’s no manga adaptation that I know of, and it never got an anime. Give the sheer amount of brutal, mostly comedic but sometimes serious violence scattered throughout the book, I can’t be surprised it stayed as a book series. But I’m pleased Yen picked it up. It grew on me book by book and I really came to enjoy the cast and their situation. The plot of this book echoes my point of view – it’s time to end it, but… it’s been really fun, hasn’t it?