By Okina Baba and Tsukasa Kiryu. Released in Japan as “Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka?” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jenny McKeon.
With this volume we have almost, but not quite, caught up with Shun’s “present” that we left off in the 6th volume. This book is the huge human/demon war that led to Shun becoming the Hero, with huge casualties on both sides. The book is essentially a war diary from various points of view, showing off the various battles going on around the world. We see the demons use revenge monkeys to completely destroy one fort; another demon army wiped out by Ronandt’s long-range magic; the cute childhood friend couple from Japan being a cute childhood friend adventurer couple here; Sophia saying “well, well, well, if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions”; Wrath basically winning easily; and the big final battle with Julius versus several demons, including Bloe and Agner, and White trying to cut the thread (so to speak) by bringing in a Queen Taratect to ruin everything. Which it does, but not quite in the way that she’d planned…
I talked about this last time as well, but I think the author has been trying their best to make sure that the reader cares about the human side and the demon side equally, and from what I’ve seen, that’s just not happening. In fact, honestly, the readers don’t want to see the demon side EITHER. The readers want spider. Lots of spider. Sorry to say, White is still a minor character in this book. She gets cute little sidebars explaining each battlefield in her usual hyperactive way, and we see her interactions with the demon lord, Bloe, and Sophia and the 10th unit. None of them really see White as we know her, though I think the demon lord is starting to figure it out. She’s also getting far more talkative and better at actually explaining her actions. Basically, White is maturing. This will be handy when they inevitably run into the giant pile of reincarnations we left off with ages ago, but can be frustrating right now.
The battles are well handled. As you might guess, this is mostly tragedy… with one exception. The story of Sophia’s adventures at school, complete with her version of the handsome jerk and the class president, are absolutely hilarious, especially given they all end up in the same military unit anyway. I hope we see more of them being absolute bitches at each other. And as I hinted above, everything about Kunihiko and Asaka’s relationship is adorable and heartwarming, and I don’t THINK they’re dead yet… (crosses fingers). But there’s lots of depressing stuff we knew was coming here, as all but one of the hero party gets wiped out, and it also takes out several major parts of the demon party as well. What’s more the demon lord and White didn’t even achieve their main objective – the one-kill anything sword is still around, and can now be used by the new hero against the demon lord. Annoying, that.
This is an excellent book, but the overall impression I get at the end is “can we PLEASE get back to the main storyline we started in Volume 1?”. Recommended for those who like war memoirs and cute lovesick girls getting crushed to death by giant spiders.