By Mizuki Mizushiro and Namanie. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nicole Wilder.
Given the nature of a series like this, which not only revels in its cliches but tries to top them, a volume devoted to a school athletics festival was almost as likely as one devoted to a culture festival (that should be Vol. 6). And for all I said Phycome would never be great in my last review, it comes damn close here, as the descriptions of the bloody, murderous giant melee battles in this book are so much fun I found myself grinning much of the time. Each scene tries to act as either a topper for the previous one or a showcase for the main character’s foibles. The volume is not perfect (the epilogue and ‘continuing chapter’ feel very tacked on and slightly OOC), but for those who want Psycome in its purest form, this is the one to buy.
Maina is on the cover, and gets probably about the most spotlight she’s ever going to here, as she proves once more to be a force of absolute accidental destruction. That said, she’s also grown slightly as a character, and it’s her determination that impresses here, as even the rest of the class admits. Her run during the relay race was a pump your fist moment. As for the others, Ayaka’s yandere sister side is in full force for those who like that (I do not), and there’s a third year DJ/murderer who seems to serve the role of Lee Jordan here, offering commentary and snark over the microphone. Eiri doesn’t have as much to do after getting the spotlight last time, but I will admit that Shamaya chasing her around the field with a giant vibrator may be peak Psycome. Unless it’s Kurumiya forcing herself to talk adorably in a goth loli outfit because she will do anything to win. One of those two.
The real development here, though, is with Renko. Her mother’s arrival forces her to choose between her loyalty to her and her love for Kyousuke, and it’s not as easy a decision as it sounds, given that Renko was literally bred to be an assassin. The battle with the two of them vs. her brother Renji is the action highlight of the volume, even though (as has happened before) Kyousuke’s super endurance seems utterly ludicrous. (We get more hints that his parents “trained” him, and they may show up next time.) And Kyousuke finally is able to resolve his feelings (Eiri is conveniently unconscious when this occurs, and don’t think I didn’t notice that), though the revelation about Renko and Renji’s true nature may put a kibosh on that one.
We’ve only got one more volume left, and I suspect it will be busy wrapping up all the loose ends that have collected. Therefore this may have been the last time we’ll see balls-to-the-wall comedic anarchy from Psycome, which has frequently tried to be over the top gonzo insane but has never quite hit it. It hits it several times here, and that’s why this was the most enjoyable volume to date.