Unnamed Memory, Vol. 4

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

As I predicted, the afterword of Vol. 3 was not, in fact, telling the truth. We are still following the story of Oscar and Tinasha. Indeed, the story may start to seem a bit familiar. Oscar and his aide are still traveling to try to find a way to end his curse, and they run into Tinasha, who says she will do it in a certain amount of time. The trouble is that this is the changed timeline. In the last book Oscar changed history, and so he is not quite the Oscar we know. Tinasha is also different, though at least we’ve seen her before – the young queen who Oscar saved put herself in stasis for 400 years so that she could meet him again. As such, the main amusement with this new volume is that it’s Tinasha who’s instantly lovestruck and talking marriage, and Oscar who is the reluctant one putting her off. That said, they’re still clearly made for each other. Unfortunately, a lot of the same issues that were problems before are back, and still problems.

One thing that I find hard when I write about this series is that it really is a pure fantasy, with virtually none of the standard “Japanese light novel;” schtick we’ve gotten so used to. A lot of my reviews write themselves because I can talk about the standard tropes and how well they work, or how this character is slightly less bland than the norm. With Unnamed Memory, though, the plot and writing is so well done and the book so immersive that I can’t use that crutch. What’s more, I don’t really want to spoil the plot twists (aside from the one that, well, happens right at the very start of the book) because they’re good twists. So what am I supposed to do? Talk about how Oscar is a really good fighter and that Tinasha is cute when she’s angry? You already know that.

I could talk about the deaths. There are an awful lot of assassination attempts in this book, mostly against Oscar but also against Tinasha, and all of them involve finding the culprit and their accomplices and killing them. While Oscar and Tinasha are trying to move the world they live in into a more modern and peaceful age, this is not that age, and there are quite a few characters who are captured, forced to talk, and them killed – or kill themselves before that can happen. Indeed, one of the few surprises I will talk about is one where a villain is, in fact, NOT killed off – mostly as he was clearly trying to do this in order to help his country and their somewhat meek ruler, rather than because of evil power grabs. If you’re going to assassinate someone, you’d better have a damn good reason for it, it can’t just be “they obstruct my path to all-encompassing glory!”.

So yes, sorry to be a broken record, but this is still excellent. My one major complaint is how long each book is. This is going to be six volumes total, and there’s no reason why it could not be twelve normal-sized books.

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