By Satoshi Wagahara and 029. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Kevin Gifford.
(I discuss the climax of the book more than usual here, so spoiler warning.)
A lot of the last volume in this series focused on Chiho and her concerns for the future, and that doesn’t change here. Chiho is in many ways the glue that holds everyone’s relationships together, which is sort of nice, but not when it leads to her being everyone’s social secretary. She’s starting to get the feeling that all teens get at that age – that everyone around her is more grown up than she is. Maou is still calling her “Chi” like a kid, and of course is still ignoring her confession(s). Suzuno and Emi are adults with real world concerns, and they’re all out to save the world. And worst of all, she’s the only one in the group not tied to Enta Isla. When all this is over and that world is saved, will everyone just return there and leave her behind? It’s got her in a quandary… until a conversation with Suzuno (who, like Maou, has decided to run away from her problems) convinces her that it’s time to simply blow everything to tiny little bits.
There are, of course, other issues. Suzuno is stunned to find that she’s been promoted to Archbishop, which is actually pretty terrible news for their little conspiracy. It doesn’t help that the rituals that she has to do in preparation for her investiture all seem rather shallow and self-serving. Can you really have a crisis of faith when you’re becoming one of the leaders of that same faith? That and she’s also decided to confess her love to Maou… who reacts the same way he’s done with Chiho – avoid, avoid, avoid. Emi and Alas Ramus spent most of the novel away in Enta Isla helping with demon castle prep, meaning this is yet another Emi-lite book. Her fans, already grumpy from last volume’s ship sinking from Rika, might be even grumpier. Oh yes, and in Alas Ramus’ absence Acieth suddenly starts needing to eat a LOT more than usual… or else she starts firing lasers from her mouth.
This leads to the climax, as Chiho gathers everyone at McRonald’s. Maou, who’s been completely out of the loop on this, guesses it’s to feed Acieth… but how will they keep her nature secret from the McRonald’s crew? Or Kisaki, who’s also been invited? Or Chiho’s mom, who’s *also* there? I was wondering this myself, and the author does a great job of keeping everyone on tenterhooks. Then we find that Chiho’s plan is simply to rip the bandage off – Acieth’s growing hunger causes her to fire a laser AT Kisaki, which Emi and Maou must stop using their powers. Now the cat’s very, very out of the bag. On the bright side, they can feed her properly now. But there’s also the reaction from all the other normal humans to the Enta Isla story (which involves a visit TO Enta Isla as well) and also the reaction of everyone to Maou being such a wuss. Given that the demon castle/invasion timeline has been sped up vastly thanks to Suzuno’s promotion, this is probably not the ideal time, but it’s as if Chiho looked at the author and yelled “OK, endgame now!!”.
And indeed we only have two volumes to go. Thankfully for Emilia fans, the next volume’s blurb promises she’ll get more focus. That said, Chiho’s clearly in charge here, as not only Japan but also Enta Isla sees her as the only trustworthy person. Can she save the day? And even harder, can she get Maou to man up?