Outbreak Company, Vol. 10

By Ichiro Sakaki and Yuugen. Released in Japan by Kodansha. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Kevin Steinbach.

The general thought behind my giving almost all light novels full reviews (as opposed to manga, where most series find their way into Bookshelf Briefs as they go on) is that the length of the book is such that I can always find something to talk about for 500+ words. Admittedly, there are times when that theory is tested, and this is one of those times. It doesn’t help that this is the second shortest light novel in my digital library, and easily the shortest in the series to date. But the other problem is that it’s mostly the 2nd half to a book where most of the plot and character beats were in Part 1. There are more cool action sequences, there’s a touching farewell to Shinichi’s family, and there’s a certain sense that we will not be returning to Japan anytime soon in this series. And there are a few more hints in the romantic resolution, if any, that this series will have. So let’s see what we can discuss.

The author straight-up admits that Shizuki was written as the series did not have a classic “tsundere” type. Petralka comes closest, but she’s too much of a softie. It’s a reminder that these series really do tend to be written around tropes and cliches, especially if you’re an author that’s been around as long as Sakaki has. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the series, we’re not allowed to develop that beyond “my brother is not as much of a loser as I thought” and see the love and affection that led to her renouncing him in the first place. Myusel praising him to the skies likely helped. Speaking of Myusel, she’s still front-runner in the “will the romance be resolved?” sweepstakes. Shinichi’s dad asks if there are harems in Eldant, and unfortunately for Shinichi, the answer is “no”, so something is going to have to be done – though of course “resolve nothing” is always an option, and one that’s more popular these days with authors, if not with fans. Still, Myusel really loves Shinichi.

As for the international intrigue part of the book, I will admit that the beginning of the book, with Minori being threatened by multiple copies of Putin (sorry, Pu**n) and the ultimate torture of having a pairing she loves reverse the ‘seme/uke’ positions was very funny, and welcome in a book that otherwise is mercifully light on fanservice. In reality, of course, Minori is merely tied up in a room somewhere, and rescuing her is the easiest part of things. Unfortunately, our heroes all then proceed to become absolute fools, as blithely getting onto a bus to return to Eldant and not realizing that there would be even more attempts to capture them was so shortsighted it counts as a flaw in the book. Fortunately, the day is actually saved by the JSDF – and how often can you type that in an anime/manga review?

The author seems to be up in the air about what to do next, but it will definitely be back in Eldant. Till then, this book is slight but enjoyable.

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