Outbreak Company, Vol. 16

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

I accidentally typed “Outbreak Company, Vol. 167” while putting in the title of the review, and while that’s a typo, it also feels too real. The series is not really doing anything wrong at this point – indeed, I am grateful that Shinichi talks about boobs less in this book than in any of the previous ones – but it still feels like something that has gone on for far too long. I suspect the author knows that as well – he says he’s going to try to end the series with the 17th volume, though we already know he had to make it 18. He’s also doing his best to wrap up as much as he can – the war between Eldant and Bahairam, the rapidly melting down nuclear reactor form the last volume, and of course the question of who Shinichi will end up with – if he can end up with ANYONE, given this is his own far future. But most importantly for the future of the series, Japan is pulling out of Eldant once and for all, and probably taking everyone with them.

Petralka’s on the cover, but don’t expect much from her – much as she would like to go help with the meltdown, she’s the ruler and can’t leave. As for said meltdown, it’s complicated by several things. Bahairam is sending in troops to kill everyone, even though their own forces don’t seem to be particularly united. Only a human has the access to shut down the reactor, and it needs to be a human who’s been in the powered suit we’ve seen for the last few volumes, which leaves out Minori. Oh yes, and Myusel is not only taken hostage by the bag guys, but after escaping that falls into the Earth’s crust. She’s reaching Doctor Who companion levels. Fortunately, Shinichi and Minori are given a secret weapon to resolve most of this: the power to live out their wildest otaku fantasies.

I won’t spoil what they actually do, as it’s probably the comedy highlight of the book. I will note that Shinichi is not having the best of days. Leaving aside the whole ‘nuclear reactor melting down’ thing, and the fact that he is once again the only person with no powers in the middle of a war zone, there’s the fact that I think he’s subconsciously made up his mind about who the girl he loves is. I’m not sure if the book will end with them together – certainly there’s a couple of things that happen here that suggest it would be difficult – but yeah, it’s not going to be anyone other than Myusel at this point. (Speaking of which, the discussion Shinichi has with her about death flags may be the other comedy highlight.) Things are temporarily resolved here, but I suspect things may get very sticky – and political – in the next book.

With only two volumes to go after this, you may as well keep reading. It’s actually a decent volume in the series. But I’m more weary than anything else.

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