Strike the Blood, Vol. 12

By Gakuto Mikumo and Manyako. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jeremiah Bourque.

At the end of my review of the 11th book in this series, I had a lot of questions that I wanted to see answered in Vol. 12, and unfortunately, and somewhat frustratingly, none of them are. Natsuki isn’t even mentioned, and since it takes place entirely off the island we’ve no idea what things will be like the next time she sees Kojou. Yukina does run into two other members of the Lion King Agency, but they seem to get along just fine, and there seems to be no real consequences as of yet to her breaking off from doing what the Agency says last time. In fact, Kojou and Yukina almost end up being guest stars in their own series, as while they do eventually show up and figure in the climax (and yes, the “this is my/our fight” running gag is present and correct), much of the book seems designed to introduce us to those two other Lion King Agency members, one of whom gets stacked on the harem pile. As you’d expect.

In case you’re curious, Yukina is the heroine on the cover of this volume of Strike the Blood. It’s always interesting to see who’ll be featured next. Meanwhile, she and Kojou do finally get off the island, mostly due to Vattler, who is here to save the day and even donates his harem of young princesses – who also seem to be a crack combat squad A-Team style – to help with this latest crisis. And it is a crisis, because kidnapping Nagisa to try to kill off what’s inside her proves to be a big mistake, and now there’s lots of things to deal with. For one, there’s a dragon named Glenda, who can also turn into a young teen girl (and gets to be Koujo’s snack of the week so that he can get a new beast vassal). And there’s also the JSDF, who seem to spend half of all Japanese light novels being useless until our heroes arrive, and the other half being evil. It’s a little of both here.

As always, the book reads fast and the fight scenes are good. Thre’s always one bit of annoying fanservice that I twitch at, and this time around it’s Asagi spending the entire volume in a school swimsuit-like plugsuit for no real reason other than to be humiliated and gawked at. That said, as always Asagi doesn’t do much but her scenes count – I liked her relationship with the descendant of the Second Primogenitor, Iblisviel, and her complete lack of fear or loathing at his existence – not to mention her airport ramen recommendations, which may be the funniest scene in the entire series to date. That said, at the end of the book I have even MORE questions (we also find Asagi may not be the ONLY Priestess of Cain) and even fewer answers. If I’m going to sit here and read about Yukina getting jealous at every single thing Kojou does, I need to have some sort of plot payoff. Maybe I’ll get that next time when we get back to the island. Till then, enjoy some fights and heavily dropped hints.

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