By Gakuto Mikumo and Manyako. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jeremiah Bourque.
I’ve often talked with this series about how it feels slightly fake, how it’s written by a computer, and how it was written not as a story in and of itself but a story to become an anime. All these are still true. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad, and sometimes, when the computer writing it has a particularly good bunch of data to work with, it ends up with a really, really good book. Such a book is the 15th volume, which might as well be called Strike The Blood: The Movie. It’s the longest book in the series to date by far, and that seems appropriate given the subject matter: the secret cabal that runs the world (yeah, I know, I know…) has decided that too many dangerous things are going on on Itogami Island and, more importantly, too many dangerous people are there, including Kojou. So they’ve sent in a fleet of magic battleships and airships to destroy the island and everyone on it.
The author calls this book the “end of Part One”, and you can see why. There’s a lot of big, plot moving things going on here. Nagisa finally discovers the truth about her brother, though her reaction to all of this will have to wait for next time, as she’s also nearly killed due to the other soul inside her. Kojou finally manages to control his beast vassals and also get all of them, meaning he’s now come into his own as the Fourth Primogenitor. He also publicly declares that Itogami Island is his “territory”, putting it in a class of nations that cannot simply be wiped off the map because they’re inconvenient. And oh yes, Asagi and Vattler join forces to declare war on the people declaring war on them, a pairing so unlikely that everyone and their brother boggles at it.
Why is Asagi doing this? Well, we find out in a great fight scene between her and Yukina, which I wish had been longer. Yukina is fighting to protect Kojou, the Fourth Primogenitor who is using his great power to save others and will one day be the most powerful force in the world. Asagi is fighting to protect Kojou, the high school kid and her friend/crush, who she wants to continue to have SOME semblance of a normal life. As you might expect, they both have valid points but Yukina’s are more valid. You can’t walk back what Kojou is now (though we do get an amusing epilogue where he’s forced to do makeup homework because he missed a month of class negotiating peace treaties). As for Vattler, it will come as no surprise to regular readers to find out he was behind all this, but I was surprised at the eventual outcome of his fight with Kojou. Which is about the 13th major fight Kojou gets into in this book, which is filled with old cast members returning once more.
The series just ended in Japan at 22 volumes, so Part Two, whatever it is, is not going to be as long as Part One was. And for those waiting to see who wins the “harem” wars, La Folia points out what is likely going to be the obvious solution, though that may simply be because it benefits her most. In the meantime, Strike the Blood remains shallow fun, and this book is particularly fun.