Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World, Vol. 4

By Kei Sazane and Ao Nekonabe. Released in Japan as “Kimi to Boku no Saigo no Senjou, Aruiwa Sekai ga Hajimaru Seisen” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jan Cash.

I’ve come to realize that Our Last Crusade falls into the same bucket that I put Strike the Blood and the complete works of Ichiro Sakaki, which is to say a series that does not stand out as all that good but succeeds by dint of being smoothly written and not really doing much that’s bad. It feels written in hopes of an anime, which is good news given that there’s one airing as I type this. Sadly, I was not able to get very far into it, mostly as I can tolerate characters like Mismis when they are words on a page, but find it almost impossible when they are tripping and falling onto their boobs in glorious color. This particular book picks up right where the last one left off, but manages to avoid sending our heroes into deathtrap number four and sends them on a vacation instead. Of course, where Iska goes, Alice is soon to follow… though not alone this time.

As hinted by the last cliffhanger, this volume features Sisbell, the youngest of the three sisters who are vying for the throne. Due to the nature of her powers, and the general scumminess of humanity, she has come to distrust everyone around her, especially her two sisters, Elletear and Alice. the only one she feels she can trust is the man who rescued her from the Empire one year previously – Iska. As for Iska and company, they’re sent on a forced vacation after the higher-ups realized how ,long they’d been in enforced combat. Which is very good news for them, as this gives them time to figure out what to do about Mismis’s Astral Crest. The group, after a long shopping scene that reminds me why this series tends to grate on me, heads to an independent desert nation that consists mostly of resort hotels. Sisbell is also there, and propositions Iska: will he join her? Unfortunately, the villain of the second book – and his mask – have also shown up.

Given the entire series deliberately runs on coincidences constantly bringing Iska and Alice together, I am not all that annoyed at events conspiring at the last moment to save Mismis form execution, and anyone and everyone showing up at the same desert city. And I was glad that we briefly got to see Mismis do a thing, even if it was unconsciously and we’re not really sure what she did. Sisbell is sympathetic, and I expect to see more of her as the books go on, though I’m almost positive she will serve as hostage fodder in some way. The ending fight with what amounts to a giant robot with lasers is a lot of fun and will likely look cool if the anime gets to this book. As for the romance between Iska and Alice, they’re separated most of the book again, so it’s mostly just constantly thinking about each other.

The cliffhanger, which is again excellent, implies that events are going to be headed towards the Alice side of the two nations for a while. Till then, enjoy a book that can best be described as “serviceable”, but at least also lacks the bad habits of many other light novels. It’s okay.

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