Unnamed Memory, Vol. 3

By Kuji Furumiya and chibi. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Sarah Tangney.

After a first volume where I had trouble with the characters, and a second volume where I had trouble with the way the story was laid out, here I didn’t have trouble with either, and as a result we get our strongest volume to date, a truly compelling read. Indeed, if it weren’t for the last fifth of the book, you might think that this was also the final volume. It certainly has a wedding on the cover art, but this is a light novel, not a shoujo manga, and I believe we still have three more books to go after this. The question is whether those books will star Oscar and Tinasha, who seems to get a fate that’s going to be hard to overcome at the ending. Before that, though, there’s everything you want in an Unnamed Memory book, and for once that includes requited love and some real sweetness – along with a bunch of sudden death battles, of course. I mean, Oscar and Tinasha can’t escape their own pasts. Or can they?

Tinasha has truly settled into life at the castle now, to the point that she’s truly startled when some little kids try storming her castle (she’s able to dissuade them). That said, villains we’ve seen before and villains who we do not yet know continue to try to make life terrible for her, and after yet another nearly fatal attempt on Oscar’s life, she is willing to give up and admit that OK, she may have feelings for this big lug and sure, they can get married I GUESS. This is actually a bigger deal than you might expect, as spiritual magic works by the age-old rules of “no virginity no strong magic” – fortunately Tinasha is strong enough that she still has strong magic, it’s just not LUDICROUSLY strong anymore. Bad timing on that front, too, as she has to fight another Witch, this one with a grudge.

The back half of the book is taken up to a great extent by one big battle, and it’s very well written, showing off how things go back and forth and also giving us a bit of the backstory of the Witch Who Cannot Be summoned, the one trying to take out Oscar and Tinasha. She’s the classic “I want to manipulate people because I get bored” sort, but her backstory is surprising and also touching. Then there’s that final story, where Oscar picks up an orb that he shouldn’t and is sent back into the past, to Tinasha’s old kingdom, before she becomes a witch. While there’s a bit of the classic time travel dilemma here, and in fact it drives the ending, the main reason this is cute is getting to see Oscar and teenage Tinasha interact, and seeing her falling for him hard despite the fact that this changes history. It’s adorable and bittersweet.

So, not to give away the ending, but now what? The afterward suggests we’ll be looking at some other people in the history of Oscar’s family, but I can’t really believe the author would choose to end things here, so I’m raising an eyebrow at that. That said, no matter what future volumes do, you should read this one.

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