By Ichiei Ishibumi and Miyama-Zero. Released in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Haydn Trowell.
I’ve talked before about how difficult I find it to review this series without just constantly saying the same things over and over again. There’s only so many times you can say “this is just combining shonen battle manga with ecchi harem manga” before the audience starts to nod off. And it’s the same with this book. Boy, those sure are some cool fights. They sure do bust out new special moves they got after training hard. And yeah, Issei really likes tits, news flash, film at 11. With this one I thought I’d have a bit more to work with, given the last volume ended with Issei being killed off. As I read it, I also realized that I could talk about how all the women were sidelined so that the male characters could get all the important fights. I could talk about that as well! Then the author, in the afterword, says “hey, did everyone notice the women were sidelined and the men got all the fights?”. So back to the first of those points, I guess.
As you might guess, the bulk of this volume is narrated by Kiba, given that Issei is dead. Kiba is devastated by this, of course, but he’s also the only one who is not romantically in love with Issei (possibly… more on that running gag later), so he’s the only one who can actually tell us what’s been happening and what’s going to happen next without having it just be silence or sobbing. Because the Gremory Family is shattered. Rias and Akeno won’t leave their rooms, Koneko, Ravel and Asia can’t stop crying. Fortunately, the rest of the family is off getting extra training/powerups after getting the crap beaten out of them, so they’re not there to be devastated by the news. That said, even from the end of last volume we suspected Issei would be back. After all, the dragon has not found a new person to give its power yet. And the Evil Pieces are still linked to Issei. Can he possibly return from the dead? In a way that doesn’t involve breasts?
Believe it or not, the answer to that last question is mostly yes, though there is a certain amount of “clap for Tinkerbell” involving chanting the Breast Dragon catchphrase involved. But yes, Issei comes back from the dead, and may arguably be more powerful by the end of the book. And he gets a date with Rias at the end as a reward. As for the rest of the heroines, I hope that they take a lesson from this and try to get a bit less dependent on Issei, but I’m not all that optimistic – they are young women in love, and it is a shonen series. The heroine who comes off best in this book is, of course Kiba – and yes, he is described in the afterword as a heroine. I’m not usually fond of the whole “make lots of jokes about men being attracted to Issei but have him no homo his way out of it” as a plot device, but for some reason with Kiba it just works. It helps that he has no concrete romantic interest in anyone female.
We’re told this is the end of an arc, and the next arc will be introducing magic users and also getting deeper into Gaspar’s nature. That said… there’s another short story volume next. Gotta be patient, I suppose.